Review: Peace in the Valley by Ruth Logan Herne

In spite of their differences, Trey Walker Stafford knows he owes his life to cowboy and legendary rancher Sam Stafford–the uncle who rescued him after his parents’ death. Trey had left the Double S Ranch to pursue music against Sam’s wishes, but returns to central Washington when he learns he’s the best match for a procedure that could save Sam’s life. Although Trey’s found country music fame and success, he’s also endured the tragic loss of his wife. He croons about love, but struggles with a yawning emptiness he can’t explain.

Overwhelmed by a growing list of challenges, but mistrustful of Stafford men, single mother Lucy Carlton reluctantly accepts Trey’s help to revive her crumbling farm when Sam instructs him to repay the overdue debt to her family.

As the two grow closer, Trey slowly begins to open his heart to this beautiful woman and strives to let go of the grief he’s held for years. Lucy has a complicated history of her own. Can Trey accept her as she is, learn to forgive the past, and find the elusive peace he’s sought for so long?

 

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Nashville: A City of Story

Music City USA. NashVegas. The Athens of the South.

Nashville has a few nicknames rolling around, but to me, the most important one is this: HOME.

Nashville at night

I’ve lived in the Nashville area for eighteen years and as I’ve worked on this blog post, one intended to share just a few highlights and attractions of this wonderful city, it’s occurred to me that this city is a lot like a good story.

Get pulled in with the excitement of walking the same road as some country music stars, stand in awe of the storied Grand Ol’ Opry and Ryman Auditorium where musicians dream of performing, and settle back into the easy rhythm that is life in the south. With a diverse cast of characters ranging from the famous faces of country and Christian musicians as well as some you may have seen on the big screen (Nicole Kidman, Johnny Depp, and Ashley Judd all have residences in Nashville) to those trying to break into the spotlight and the others who simply keep the city running.

In fact, I have a little challenge for you while you’re in town. Try and find three people who were born and raise in Nashville. It’s harder than you’d think. This city is full of transplants, people who’ve moved here to find the draw of big city amenities with a small town feel. We watch and wait with anticipation to see where this city will take us next.

It’s these things and many, many more that make this city special and unique. And while I’m here to introduce you to the city and offer a few suggestions of places to visit within walking distance of the hotel, it kind of feels like I’m sharing a chapter in the middle of a book, those parts that are hardest to write while you’re still unsure of where the story is leading you.

So here’s just a little taste…

nashville skyline

The tallest building on the left with the blue glass and the two towers is The AT&T Building, affectionately known around the area as The Batman Building (come on, you see it, right?). This building is a great point of reference anywhere downtown. It’s located between Third and Fourth Avenues behind the Ryman.

Our hotel is located about three Nashville blocks (approximately five city blocks) south on 5th Ave S. By the way, this town is hilly so if you plan to do some sightseeing, pack a comfortable pair of shoes!

Let’s start from inside the Omni.

guitar

What does one do in Music City USA? Visit the Country Music Hall of Fame, of course. This Nashville landmark is connected to the hotel. General admission tickets are $25.00.

Also located in the hotel lobby is the Hatch Print Show. Perhaps a group of authors can appreciate this historic letterpress shop that’s been in operation since 1879. Stop in and watch as the posters roll off the press.

The big building on the next street north is one of my favorites. The Bridgestone Arena (Broadway and 5th) is the home of the Nashville Predators.

Continue past the arena and you’ll hit the heart of downtown. Broadway. Take a right on this street for a variety of Honky Tonks, restaurants, and souvenir shops. Please don’t buy your Nashville souvenirs from the airport or the hotel gift shops. Not only will it help the city’s economy to shop from outside those areas, it will stretch your dollars further.

Just a few highlights along Broadway include:

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Tootsie’s: This purple and white building is a honky tonk staple
The Big Bang: A dueling piano bar. Stop in and request a song
Ernest Tubb Record Shop
Jack’s Bar-B-Que
Margaritaville
Tin Roof Broadway
Boot Country (just in case you can’t leave Nashville without a pair of your own Cowboy boots)
Hard Rock Cafe

Broadway ends at the Cumberland River and Riverfront Park. Across the river, you’ll find the Nissan Stadium, home of our NFL football team.

shutterstock_65237896If you’re not ready for the hustle and bustle of Broadway, continue up 5th Avenue and check out the historic Ryman Auditorium. This church-turned-music venue is a Nashville Landmark. But if you want a tour inside, you’ll need to get there before the building closes at 4:00 PM.

Make your way back to the hotel along Second Avenue where you’ll find BB King’s and The Wildhorse Saloon (always good for dancing).

If country music isn’t your forte (and even though I’m a Nashvillian, I’m not a fan of this genre myself), there’s something a little more classy offered at The Schermerhorn Symphony Hall.

When you’re finished with your downtown tour, take a right on Demonbreun (pronounced Dee-mun-bree-un, not demon brewin’) to return to the hotel.

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I hope you enjoy some southern hospitality (and survive the summer humidity) while you’re here. Honestly, my inclination when it comes to Nashville is to go on and on, but I narrowed it down for the sake of time (who can spend an hour online when they’re working on their own stories, right?).

This city is beautiful and welcoming. My prayer is you will take a little bit of Nashville home in your heart after this year’s conference.

To learn more about the ACFW conference, visit Cara Putnam’s blog and the ACFW conference site (prices increase June 26).

Thanks for stopping by. I can’t wait to see y’all in August!

If you have any questions about other things to see, do, or buy in Nashville, please leave it in the comments.