Shotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Butler

shotgunlovesongsShotgun Lovesongs is a novel that tells the story about the friendship between four male friends – Hank (Henry), Leland, Roland and Kip. The four men were friends from childhood, growing up in a small town called Little Wing, Wisconsin. From the four friends, Hank is the only one that stayed in Little Wing as a farmer, while the other men pursued other career opportunities.

Kip became a broker and Roland a rodeo star, while Leland (Lee) had the most success – he is a music artist. His album, “Shotgun Lovesongs”, that were recorded in a chicken coop became a great success. All four friends find themselves back in Little Wing for a wedding. Despite not having kept in touch as often through the years, the men still have strong ties towards each other and share a deep friendship.

However, that changes when one secret comes to light that changes the dynamics between two best friends. How can the one move forward and forgive his friend after being betrayed? Can the person who betrayed his best friend live with the guilt? How do you mend a friendship where your best friend hurt you?

This novel explores friendship and everything that could make or break it: love, loyalty, betrayal and broken trust. What is different, for me, is that it’s the first time I’ve read a novel that tells such a tender story about friendship between men. It’s heartwarming to read how these men love and care for each other above all. When one becomes disabled after an accident, all but one jumps in to help in whatever way they can. Lee, being as famous as he is can’t let go of his roots and his love for Little Wing and his dear friends.

This novel was just lovely to read. The small town setting (complete with the old mill and all) and great characters made it hard to put down. I have one complaint though – in my copy of the book it was ‘Henry’ most of the time and here and there his friends refer to him as ‘Hank’. This was rather confusing, as I am not sure why he was called Hank on occasion and what his real name is. Regardless, it didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the novel.

I have a copy of the book to give away to one of my readers:

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  • I loved this book! It was a very quiet novel, but really enjoyable. Hank is a really common nickname for Henry here, so I think that’s what it was in the novel (a childhood nickname).

    • I didn’t know that! You see how easily it is to confuse a reader when you assume the person knows these things 🙂

  • Megs H

    As a reader, I’m drawn to books written in Butler’s style: plain-spoken language, characters who aren’t overly complicated (yet still complex enough to be believable), and a setting so true it becomes an integral element to the plot. In the hands of a writer like Butler, an author who’s clearly put the time and effort into making the story one with great flow, these elements have aligned in such a way to elevate “Shotgun Lovesongs” to the five-stars, favourites shelf—-at least, for me anyway.

  • Ciska van der Lans

    I totally loved this book!! The atmosphere was great.

  • Suzy

    I’ve heard so many wonderful things on social media about Shotgun Love Songs. Would love to finally find out for myself.

  • I loved, loved, loved this book and want everyone to read it! It was so good.

  • Isi

    Ohh I have it in Spanish, and I really want to read it, since I heard Allison telling how good the book is. So glad you aslo enjoyed it. And you are right: I think I have never read about friendship among men.

  • AmogelangOluchi

    I’m a sucker for good friendship. I would really love to read this kind’a book, that explores friendship.

  • Hank and Henry are used almost interchangeably here but I can see how it’d be confusing for you! 😀 I loved this book so much. The author is from my area and the book read like a love song to my home state. I *just* got my hands on his newest book and I’m hoping to make time for it soon.

    • I also want to read his newest!
      I definitely didn’t know about the Hank/Henry thing! I thought of you when I read it, because I remember you are from Wisconsin 🙂

  • I really loved this one, but I thought maybe it was just because I grew up in the Midwest and felt a closeness to the characters. It makes me happy to see the atmosphere translates well, even so far away!

  • JoAnn @ Lakeside Musing

    I’m reading this now (just past the halfway mark) and loving it! Did you read The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer… they seem similar so far.