Sunday, April 10, 2016

ARC Review: Imperfect Harmony by Jay Northcote

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 harmonise in life and love as they do in their music, they’ll need to start following the same score.

Jewel's rating:

2016 has been good to me so far with the books! If there is one thing I like even better than stories of self discovery, it's second chance stories, and Imperfect Harmony does not disappoint.

Both John and Rhys know what it's like to lose a loved one. In John's case, he lost his partner of twenty years and still bears the guilt of surviving. Rhys lost his boyfriend to death, too, and it wrecked him, and being so young, he maybe didn't quite have the coping skills that life experience will get you. None the less, both John and Rhys grieved heavily and do still.

I found it easy to identify with John. Not in the 'lost the love of your life' kind of identify, thank FSM, but I'm around his age and I've been with my husband for 23 years. I know that if I lost him I would be devastated. And completely unprepared to reenter the dating scene. And that isn't even taking into consideration the possibility of dating someone so much younger. I get the insecurity from the age gap and the being a bit softer than I was when I was 23. So, it would be scary, and I get John's hesitation where Rhys is concerned.

And John is out of his depth for much of the book.

Rhys is young and confident and while he might not have known he was ready to move on, he is. He still grieves for Lyle, but something about John just calls out to him. And John feels the same for Rhys. They have music in common, and grief, too. Rhys is older than his years would suggest. He's a responsible adult who buried his lover a couple years ago. That'll age even the young. And Rhys is willing to take a chance that the connection he feels to John is the real thing.

I always know I can count on Jay Northcote to serve me up a story, so sweet. And she did that here. There's not a whole lot of angst (just John being a bit stubborn every now and again), and I loved that when they first get together, there is some awkwardness. Neither man had been with anyone since they lost their partners and they're both so nervous. That nervousness was sweet and real to me.

Needless to say (at this point), I loved Imperfect Harmony, from the first page, to the ever so sweet last page of the epilogue. I believe in second chances.


An ARC copy of Imperfect Harmony was generously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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