Opal Jewel and Neville Charles are fine singers on their own, but it’s not until their quirky talents are combined that they become a solid – and commercial – act. Decades after they made history as a duo, journalist Sunny Shelton is chronicling the arc of their career. It’s a complicated arc, made more so by the fact that Sunny has personal ties to the band. Back in the 70s, in an effort to encourage their big break, Opal and Nev’s label offers them a slot in a showcase. The concert does push them into the spotlight…but not for the reasons they’d hoped. After Opal destroys a confederate flag on stage, a riot breaks out and one of their bandmates – who we now know is Sunny’s father – is killed. Somehow Nev eventually finds pop stardom, similar to a Rod Stewart, while Opal tries to find her niche before landing in relative obscurity. It’s been about 40 years, but Opal and Nev are about to reunite and Sunny wants to see if they (and they country) have moved forward since the riot.
While I really enjoyed this book I’m not giving it the full 5 stars for two reasons: Part I takes you through nearly 2/3 of the book, which means it took a minute to get to the real conflict. But I admit my biggest issue was that – at zero fault to Walton – I was a bit jaded when it came to the writing style after reading Daisy Jones & The Six. The format is what made that book so unique. Read like one long Rolling Stone interview, Daisy Jones was a success in large part because the writing style caught you off guard. Opal & Nev is rightfully a success…it’s just not as surprising. I will say, there is a deeper message in this book. Where Daisy Jones gets you inside the rocker psyche, Opal & Nev reveals more about society, both in the 70s and now. Had I read it first, I most certainly would have said it was the superior book. But ughhh why did Daisy Jones have to get in my head first?!
4 out of 5 stars.
Pair with: Chambord and champagne