Friday, April 15, 2016

ARC Review: Imperfect Harmony by Jay Northcote


Blurb:
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.


Dani's rating:




At first glance, John and Rhys have nothing in common. Rhys is young and vibrant. He commands attention, and not just because of the blue streak in his hair.

John is lonely and grieving the loss of both his mom and David, his partner of nearly 20 years. A former high school music instructor, John works as a supply (substitute) teacher and feels every one of his 42 years.

When his next-door neighbor drags a reluctant John to choir practice held at a local church, John is awe-struck by Rhys's charm and talent. Rhys, the choir director, is a brilliant musician, just bursting with life.

But appearances are deceiving. As Rhys and John strike up a tentative friendship, they realize that despite their 19 year age difference they are more alike than not. They both have a deep and abiding passion for music. They enjoy walks and thoughtful conversations. And they're both grieving. Because John isn't the only one who lost half of his soul.




I loved this book for all it WASN'T—an angstfest full of melodrama and false moments—and all it WAS: a quiet, romantic story about two imperfect men making perfect music together.

John and Rhys's relationship is new and fragile. John thinks he's too old for Rhys, that Rhys deserves someone younger, more attractive, just MORE. But Rhys knows what he wants, and he puts his heart on the line for John.

I loved the times John and Rhys volunteered at the nursing home, the way they came together when they sang. Rhys helps John find music again, and both men crawl out of their self-imposed hibernation and begin to heal.

Their first intimate moments are a little awkward. And this awkwardness feels so right, so REAL. John stresses about his hairy body, his less than firm belly. Rhys worries that he's too scrawny.

But passion doesn't require perfection, just a little bit of practice.

There is no undue fuckery, no fighting, no homophobia, just two men lucky enough to have a second chance at love.

I admit I needed a tissue or two, particularly during the last few chapters when John gets scared and pushes Rhys away, but I smiled far more than I cried. The epilogue is glorious, filled with friendship, music, and love.

In the end, we all write our own songs.




Get the book:




   
    

To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark. 
~Victor Hugo







An ARC of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review. 

Download links are provided as a courtesy and do not constitute an endorsement of or affiliation with the book, author, publisher, or website listed.

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