My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Adam Sharp is nearing fifty. He's had a decent turn in life as an IT contractor and he's lived with his girlfriend, Claire, for many years. But Adam has always held a torch for his first love, Angelina. For a few brief months, the two bonded and shared a relationship solidified over Adam's piano playing and music. It's been over twenty years since the pair have had any contact, but one day--out of the blue--Adam gets an email from Angelina. She's married to her husband, Charlie, with three kids. Still, the emails quickly turn flirty and Adam starts to wonder what her intent is. Getting back in contact certainly brings up all his old feelings for Angelina and the past.
The book begins with present-day Adam remembering back on his relationship with Angelina, filling us in on what happened. Those snippets are interspersed with updates about Adam's current life, and he eventually catches us up to the present. Those beginning portions are fairly interesting as we learn how Adam and Angelina fell in love.
Unfortunately, though, the book lacked anything comedic (one of the things so enjoyable about the Rosie series Simsion is so famous for), beyond a few funny scenes featuring Angelina's parents and family. Instead, there is just so very much talking from Adam. So very much. It would have been okay, except I never really formed a connection to his character, and I found that I really only cared so much. I felt as if I had no horse in the race--with his relationships or life in general.
In many ways, I think I might have enjoyed the book if I was just a bit older and closer in age to Adam. I didn't connect as much with the music he mentioned so frequently in the novel (despite, of course, a love for music and an understanding of how it can connect and create memories throughout one's life), nor even the idea of pining for a lost love at one's midlife (despite, of course, having loved and lost). While I felt captivated at times during the novel, as much as I hate saying this, I often just felt bored. I read the book during vacation, and it was just such a poor choice, because I found myself almost dreading picking it up, but feeling duty-bound, both because I love to read on vacation and because I needed to review it. Oh sigh.
In addition, there are just some really weird plot twists in this one--once Angelina, Charlie, and Adam are all together--that frankly it made me feel a little icky. I'm open-minded and all, but it just didn't seem right and some of it rubbed me the wrong way. It also made it even harder to become attached to the characters.
By the end, perhaps I'm cynical, but some of the love scenes didn't even move me: I just didn't care. I was tired of everyone communicating by oblique song references. Anyway, I really wanted to love this because it seemed to be an ode to music and love. And, because I loved Simsion's Rosie novels. It's not fair, really, to compare an authors work in such a way, but I couldn't help it, and I didn't enjoy the plot and characters in this one anyway. I was ready for the book to be over. It definitely had some good points, but I was mostly so disappointed and annoyed and ready to be done.
I received a copy of this novel from the publisher and Netgalley (thank you!) in return for an unbiased review; it is available everywhere as of 05/02/2017.
My review of Simsion's novel THE ROSIE PROJECT can be found here.
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