Former Marine Cameron ‘Cam’ Warren didn’t expect to be walking onto a community college campus at the age of thirty-nine. Yet it’s exactly what she needs to help her come to terms with the tragic death of her partner and fellow Marine, Sharon. Five years have passed, but she is no further in dealing with her grief. She hopes that returning to drums will allow her to live fully again, as well as connect with her emotions in ways that her autism has always prevented. Luckily someone from the past is exactly the person Cam needs to do just that.
Jazz pianist and teacher, Laura Clark, has had enough of city life in New York. She decides to take a faculty position at a small community college in Ft. Collins, Colorado. However, what she couldn’t predict was that her star student would walk back into her life, twenty years and a thousand miles away from where they met.
While the women share a history, Cam is no longer a kid. As they spend more time together talking about music and enjoying the beauty of Colorado, their chemistry grows and soon a romance is inevitable. But Cam still mourns the loss of Sharon. And she fears this new love with Laura will be too much for her to handle. Will Cam be able to choose happiness? Or will the familiar beat of fear end up sacrificing Cam’s second chance at a once-in-a-lifetime love?
Meyer’s characters are subtle in their depictions, yet they deliver a powerful impact. It is pure genius.
Cam Warren is witty, charming, and has great emotional depth. The only blemish on her is that she has difficulty conveying her emotions in ways people can understand due to her autism. For Cam, it takes meditation to process the more difficult emotions so she can express them outwardly. She’s meticulous and must organize these feelings in her mind so she can verbalize them to others. When she reconnects with being a musician, it’s another step in her journey. She understands that music is as much about feeling as it is technique. In addition, she reconnects with the woman that taught her how to love it and how to utilize it to say what’s in her heart.
Laura is so different from the teacher Cam knew in high school. She is a woman who has lived. She has seen and experienced the world in all its beauty and heartache. And music has been there for her every step of the way. Laura’s influence in Cam’s life is just as significant as it was 20 years ago. She understands that Cam is different, and she resolves to be patient as Cam learns to understand the emotional rhythm of her heart.
Their love of music will bring them together. But it will be the connection of the heart that provides them with the strength and love they need to make it through life together.
The Writing Style
For a first time writer, Meyer has a really good grasp of writing characters that deal with certain neurological issues to function in the world. While she tells the story in third person, it’s entirely from Cam’s point of view. It was a smart decision because it gives us a deeper sense of how Cam addresses her autism every day. And it’s extra satisfying when you see Cam’s actions have such a positive response from the people around her, including Laura.
I really liked how Meyer was able to make everything relatable through music. She really made it intricate to Cam and Laura’s relationship. She even went beyond the scope and made a playlist that can be accessed on YouTube! The music is more than just a plot point. It’s a character in the story.
The overall actions and their descriptions were pretty concise. While this doesn’t bother me, I do wish Meyer had taken the opportunity to develop the scene involving the jazz trio. It would’ve been nice to see the performance in greater detail and get a clearer picture of Cam’s mental progression from being satisfied with having a friendship with Laura and moving forward into romantic relationship.
Meyer’s debut novel was such a delight to read. She’s able to effectively illustrate that people with autism can live like the rest of us with just a little bit of understanding, patience, and of course, love. If you’re looking for a loveable tale with amazing music and two delightful leading ladies, then definitely pick up this book today.
Excerpt from Dal Segno by Jax Meyer
“Cam?” Bright brown eyes stared up at her.
Cam’s stomach flipped as she gaped at the woman in front of her. She was older, with fine lines around her eyes, but still had the same shoulder-length brown hair and eyes that could bore into you with an unexpected intensity.
“I guess no introduction is needed.” Dr. Miller laughed as she took a step back. Ms. Clark recovered more quickly. “Cam was one of my best students many years ago when I taught high school in Wisconsin. How long has it been, 20 years?”
“Give or take a few. Seems like forever ago. But I’ll never forget the teacher who simultaneously kept me sane through music and then drove me insane with 7am jazz ensemble rehearsals. I was an asshole in the mornings!” Cam smiled. The memory was bittersweet. She wasn’t proud of how harsh she was, but she knew why she’d behaved that way then and made peace with it.
“I wouldn’t say asshole so much as passionate and grumpy. Though, we did present the original Captain Dark award to you so…” The professor’s teasing smile was irresistible and Cam grinned even as the heat warmed her cheeks.
“You kept it going after I graduated?” It surprised Cam but she kind of loved the idea.
Dr. Miller raised her eyebrows toward Cam. “Captain Dark Award?”
Ms. Clark filled in the gaps. “It was a tradition to hand out funny awards to seniors at the final concert. Given Cam’s mild obsession with Star Wars, and her less than pleasant demeanor, the Captain Dark award was born. And yes, we continued it for a few years. It turns out there’s no shortage of grumpy teenagers at 7am.”
A groan escaped as she covered her face with her hands. “As I said, asshole. Though I hope I’ve matured enough since then and that Captain Dark can stay in retirement on a beach far away from here.” The women’s laughter made her realize no one was judging her. In fact, today she had been charming more often than awkward.
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Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9781720053392
- Publisher: Indie author
Jax Meyer Online
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