Imperfect Harmony, by Jay Northcote
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: April 15, 2016
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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.
This is my first time reviewing for Just Love Romance, and quite honestly, I totally lucked out by getting a copy of Jay Northcote’s Imperfect Harmony to help ease me into my new role. It’s been a while since I had read any of the author’s works, but I remember enjoying her writing immensely. I am very happy to report that this book did not disappoint!
Most people would call John and Rhys an unlikely pairing, the most obvious reason being their 19-year age difference. Both men are grieving. John is stricken with guilt over a tragic accident that killed his life partner of 22 years, while Rhys is angry at his youthful recklessness that took away his bandmate and first love. But the two men tentatively become friends through their love of music and recognize in each other kindred spirits who understands the loss of loved ones.
Their slow, cautious return to the land of the living is a beautiful thing to behold. In a particularly monumental scene in which John reconnects with his favorite instrument, Northcote uses the analogy of watching a petal bloom via time-lapse photography. This perfectly describes the beauty of these two gentle, grieving souls learning to enjoy the simple pleasures of life once again through each other.
Music lovers will be thrilled that singing and performing is prevalent throughout. I thought the author did a very nice job using music as the means by which they find that all-important human connection, not just with each other, but within the larger community.
The age gap proves to be the main conflict within the book and is handled with finesse by the author, and with minimal amount of drama by the two MCs. Early in the book, a particularly awkward bedroom scene quickly becomes humorous as the two characters are able to laugh at their clumsy antics.
Of course it’s not all sexy times and laughter as their relationship grows more serious and they work at overcoming their tragic losses. The final quarter of the book especially hit me hard in the feels and ended on a very satisfying note. Overall, it was a great read and I highly recommend this book.
Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England, with her husband, two children, and two cats. She comes from a family of writers, but she always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed her by. She spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content. One day, she decided to try and write a short story–just to see if she could–and found it rather addictive. She hasn’t stopped writing since.
I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.