Title: Imperfect Harmony
Author: Jay Northcote
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: 189 pages
Publisher: Jaybird Press (April 15th 2016)
Heat Level: Moderate
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥3 Hearts
Blurb: Imperfect harmony can still be beautiful…
John Fletcher, a former musician, is stuck in limbo after losing his long-term partner two years ago. He’s shut himself off from everything that reminds him of what he’s lost. When his neighbour persuades him to join the local community choir, John rediscovers his love of music and finds a reason to start living again.
Rhys Callington, the talented and charismatic choir leader, captures John’s attention from the first moment they meet. He appears to be the polar opposite of John: young, vibrant, and full of life. But Rhys has darkness in his own past that is holding him back from following his dreams.
Despite the nineteen-year age gap, the two men grow close and a fragile relationship blossoms. Ghosts of the past and insecurities about the future threaten their newfound happiness.
If they’re going to harmonize in life and love as they do in their music, they’ll need to start following the same score.
ISBN: 9781530744534 (print edition)
Product Link: http://amzn.to/1XZbX5r
Review: I am such a big fan of Jay Northcote, as soon as I hear she has a new book coming out, and I immediately start drooling. I loved almost every single one of her books and I’m so sad to say this isn’t going to be one of them.
Imperfect Harmony isn’t a bad book, far from it, but there were several things that kept me from being engaged in it. I didn’t lose myself in the story, wasn’t able to fully connect with either one of the MCs, but by far the worst thing is that as full of emotions as this book is, it didn’t make me feel anything.
John Fletcher is a 42-year-old man, a former musician who two years later is still grieving the death of his longtime partner, Brandon. John doesn’t know what to do with himself and aside from his job as a substitute teacher. He has no other life to speak of. His passion for music is all but gone and he no longer dares to play his beloved violin, because the very thing that used to bring him joy now only brings him sorrow and heartbreak.
John’s neighbor needs help and asks John to drive her to her choir practice, where John meets Rhys, a 23-year-old choir director. On the surface Rhys is everything John isn’t: confident, young, beautiful, tattooed and charming. Rhys takes an instant interest in John and despite John’s reluctance to get involved with Rhys, they become lovers.
John is insecure about a lot of things, at the top of the list being his body and his age. The 19 years age difference between them is a constant thorn in their relationship. Their interactions (especially the sexual ones) are awkward, but they feel real. The problem is that I never got to feel the chemistry between them, the attraction, or anything that convinced me that they have something worth pursuing.
As different as John and Rhys appear to be, they actually have lots of things in common, too many in my humble opinion. They’re both musicians, they both quit playing the music they loved so much, they both lost the other half of their souls (about 2 years ago in both cases)…. so not only do we have one grieving man, we have two of them at the same time.
I expected to feel the angst and the sorrow considering there’s so much of it, but this book never became angsty or dark. It was too fluffy, too light; I know some people will love this book for this reason, but I’m not one of them.
If a character is so tormented by the death of a lover that he can’t seem to move on and thinks about him even while he has sex with his current boyfriend, I want to feel the pain. So this book deals with so much loss but I didn’t feel sadness or pain, there are second chances but I didn’t feel happiness and joy. I was mostly along for the ride, observing the characters and reading about their feelings but unable to connect with any of it.
This book had such a geriatric feeling and that’s probably because the only young characters are Rhys, his teenage brother (that we only see twice for brief moments) and John. There are old neighbors, old choir members, and old people in the nursing home where John and Rhys perform every Saturday….. I know I should admire the guys for their selflessness but this many old people don’t belong in my books.
This book needed some LIFE, so young enthusiasm and joy, because the guys spend too much time crying and they have no fun to speak of (unless you consider serenading people in a nursing home as fun). Even the epilogue, that HEA I was waiting for was disappointing. A party at the house they share together, how lovely! Too bad all the guests are elderly people. I know I sound like a snobbish bitch, and I promise I love my elderly relatives, but that doesn’t mean I want so many of them in my books.
Imperfect Harmony is a nicely written book, a nice story about second chances, which misses the spice that would make it fabulous.
* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review through https://mmgoodbookreviews.wordpress.com *
Portia’s Two Cents: Well, for me the geriatric characters brought an air of authenticity to this book. I’ve sang in community choirs my whole adult life, and am usually one of a handful of not yet senile members. 😉 As for the lack of spice…what did you expect from good church going men?