Published by St. Martin's Griffin on June 13th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, Romance
Format: eBook, Paperback
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I voluntarily reviewed an advance review copy of this book I received for free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my open and honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
When Solène Marchand, the thirty-nine-year-old owner of a prestigious art gallery in Los Angeles, takes her daughter, Isabelle, to meet her favorite boy band, she does so reluctantly and at her ex-husband’s request. The last thing she expects is to make a connection with one of the members of the world-famous August Moon. But Hayes Campbell is clever, winning, confident, and posh, and the attraction is immediate. That he is all of twenty years old further complicates things.
What begins as a series of clandestine trysts quickly evolves into a passionate relationship. It is a journey that spans continents as Solène and Hayes navigate each other’s disparate worlds: from stadium tours to international art fairs to secluded hideaways. And for Solène, it is as much a reclaiming of self, as it is a rediscovery of happiness and love. When their romance becomes a viral sensation, and both she and her daughter become the target of rabid fans and an insatiable media, Solène must face how her new status has impacted not only her life, but the lives of those closest to her.
Hello Everyone! I am excited to be part of the blog tour for Robinne Lee’s debut novel, The Idea of You, that released on June 13th, 2017. Thank you to St. Martin’s Griffin for including Read. Eat. Love. and for the opportunity to read an eARC.
For today’s post, check out an excerpt from Robinne Lee’s novel before reading on to see my review of this wonderful novel. Enjoy!
About the Book
THE IDEA OF YOU is a smart and steamy story of how a 39-year-old, divorced mother of a boy-band obsessed teenage girl and a much younger, charismatic boy band member meet by chance and against all odds, fall madly and inescapably in love. Inspired by the prevailing cultural stereotypes placed on women of a certain age, the book explores both the joys and consequences of this unconventional relationship that is even more complicated by massive fame and very little privacy.
Dramatic, sexy, and heart-rending, THE IDEA OF YOU is a textured and nuanced story of a woman who, in experiencing extraordinary, once-in-a-lifetime love, discovers her own true self again.
“This sexy and bittersweet debut by actress-turned-author Lee zeros in on Solene’s struggle as she is torn between her desire for Hayes and her need to live a normal life.” —Booklist
“Actress Lee, who appeared in Fifty Shades Darker, debuts with a beautifully written novel that explores sex, love, romance, and fantasy in moving, insightful ways while also examining a woman’s struggle with aging and sexism, with a nod at the tension between celebrity and privacy. A fascinating, thought-provoking, genre-bending romantic read.” —Kirkus
“Lee starts the story off with a somewhat outrageous scenario: The 39-year old mother of a teenage-boy-band-obsessed daughter and the 20-year-old boy band member enter into a relationship. She makes the readers believe that not only could it be possible, but it exists and is true and real.” —RT Book Reviews
“Captures what fame looks like, and how it affects us all…a fun, juicy love story!” —Elizabeth Banks, producer and actor
I suppose I could blame it all on Daniel. Two days before my planned getaway to Ojai, he showed up at
the house in a tux with our daughter, Isabelle, in tow. He’d left the car running in the driveway.
“I can’t do the Vegas trip,” he said, thrusting a manila envelope in my hand. “I’m still working on the Fox deal and it’s not going to close anytime soon.”
I must have looked at him in disbelief because he followed that up with:
“I’m sorry. I know I promised the girls, but I can’t. You take them. Or I’ll eat the tickets. Whatever.”
An unopened package of Da Vinci Maestro Kolinsky brushes was lying on the entry table, alongside a set of thirty-six Holbein watercolors. I’d spent a fortune at Blick stocking up on materials for my artist retreat. They were, like the trip to Ojai, my gift to myself. Forty-eight hours of art and sleep and wine. And now my ex-husband was standing in my living room in formal black tie and telling me there’d been a change of plans.
“Does she know?” I asked. Isabelle, having retreated immediately to her room—no doubt to get on her phone—had missed the entire exchange.
He shook his head. “I haven’t had time to tell her. I thought I’d wait and see if you could take them first.”
“Don’t start, okay?” He turned toward the door. “If you can’t do it, have her call me, and I’ll make it up the next time the group’s in town.”
It was so like him to have a Band-Aid for everything. To walk away from commitments guilt-free. Would that I had acquired that gene.
Isabelle and her two girlfriends had been counting down the days to see the band August Moon, a quintet of handsome lads from Britain who sang pleasant pop songs and drove tween girls mad. Daniel had “won” the tickets at the school silent auction. Paid some formidable amount to y four to Vegas, stay at the Mandalay Bay, and attend the concert and a meet-and-greet with the band. Canceling now would not go over well.
“I have plans,” I said, following him out into the driveway.
He slipped around the back of the BMW and withdrew a cumbersome bag from the trunk. Isabelle’s fencing equipment. “I assumed you would. I’m sorry, Sol.”
He was quiet for a moment, drinking me in: sneakers, leggings, still damp from a ve-mile run. And then: “You cut your hair.”
I nodded, my hands rising to my neck, self-conscious. It barely reached my shoulders now. My act of defiance. “It was time for a change.”
He smiled faintly. “You’re never not beautiful, are you?”
Just then the tinted window on the passenger side rolled down and a sylphlike creature leaned out and waved. Eva. My replacement.
She was wearing an emerald-green gown. Her long, honey- colored hair twisted into a chignon. There were diamonds dangling from both ears. It wasn’t enough that she was some youngish, stunning, half-Dutch, half-Chinese star associate at the firm, but that she was now sitting in Daniel’s 7 Series in my driveway looking every bit the princess while I was dripping sweat—now, that stung.
“Fine. I’ll take them.” “Thank you,” he said, handing over the bag. “You’re the best.” “That’s what all the boys say.” He paused then, screwing up his aristocratic nose. I anticipated
a response, but none was forthcoming. Instead he smiled blandly, leaning in to do the awkward divorcé cheek kiss. He was wearing cologne, which he’d never done in all his years with me.
I watched him make his way over to the driver’s side. “Where are you going? All dolled up . . .”
“Fund-raiser,” he said, getting into the car. “Katzenberg’s.” And with that, he pulled away. Leaving me holding the baggage.
I was not a fan of Vegas: loud, fat, dirty. The underbelly of America convened in one garish skid mark in the desert. I’d visited once, years before, to attend a bachelorette party that I was still trying to forget. The smell of strip clubs and drugstore perfume and vomit. Those things linger. But this was not my adventure. This time I was just along for the ride. Isabelle and her friends had made that clear.
They spent that afternoon running circles around the resort on a quest to find their idols, while I followed dutifully. I had be- come accustomed to this: my passionate daughter trying any- and everything, setting her mind and forging her way. Isabelle and her American can-do spirit. There was trapeze school and figure skating, musical theater, fencing . . . She was fearless, and I loved that about her, envied it even. I liked that she took risks, that she did not wait for permission, that she followed her heart. Isabelle was okay with living outside the lines.
I was hoping to convince the girls to visit the Contemporary Arts Center. It would have been nice to squeeze some real culture into the weekend. To imprint something worthwhile upon their impressionable minds. I’d spent countless hours trailing my mother through the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston as a child. Following the click of her Vivier heels, the scent of the custom-made fragrance she bought every summer in Grasse. How knowledgeable she was to me then, how womanly. I knew the halls of that museum as well as I knew my third-grade classroom. But Isabelle and her cohorts had balked at the idea.
“Mom, you know at any other time I would say yes. But this trip is different. Please?” she’d implored.
They’d come to Vegas for one reason only, and nothing would thwart their mission. “Our lives begin tonight,” Georgia, with the silky brown skin, had proclaimed on the flight in. Rose, the red- head, agreed, and the three quickly adopted it as their mantra. No expectation too high. They had their whole lives ahead of them. They were twelve.
The meet-and-greet was at six o’clock. I don’t know what I was expecting exactly, something slightly elegant, civilized, but no. They crammed us into a fluorescent-lit holding room in the bowels of the arena. Fifty-odd worshippers in various stages of puberty: girls in braces, girls in wheelchairs, girls in heat. Wide-eyed and smitten and on the verge of combustion. It was at once beautiful and desperate.
4.5 out of 5 stars
The Idea of You by Robinne Lee is the story of Solène Marchand and Hayes Campbell. They are from two different worlds. The first among these is age. Solène is almost 40 while Hayes is 20. To add complication Hayes is a popular musician who is in the public view and has his life dissected by the minute and all the added drama and difficulty that come with that. I enjoyed very much how The Idea of You was filled with witty banter, cultural and music references both old and new and a plethora of passion. Solène is a fashionable, divorcé mom with an art gallery specializing in pieces by female and minority artists with a 12 year old daughter, Isabelle. When her ex-husband cancels on a trip to Vegas where her daughter has tickets to see the hot new British boy band, August Moon, for a pre-concert meet and greet, she ends up being the chaperone. Hayes is the 20 year old founder of August Moon and witty an wise beyond his years. Playful banter between Solène and Hayes both at the pre-concert and a back stage event, leads to his visiting her gallery in Los Angeles, which leads to lunch, which leads to more.
This is a May-December romance where both of them are in their element and bring out the passionate best in each other. Yes, there is the ongoing theme that she is old enough to be his mother, but nonetheless Haylene (Solayes?) is a “ship” that is fun, passionate, and loving, spanning many cities in multiple countries with rich art and musical references. These two characters are written to be together. Of course problems arise when you have the rich and famous involved, or more accurately their fans and the paparazzi. The issues that they end up having to deal with are heart wrenching and difficult, yet realistic. The balancing act, and the choices, and the attempt at normalcy are all well woven into The Idea of You. I really did like the story and the characters. My one wish is that there would have been a more active fight to combat the issues head on, rather than just giving into Hayes policy of ignoring public personal issues as the best way to get by. Once you add in more people to the equation (children), that practice doesn’t work, and I wish that Solène would have taken the initiative to push Hayes to tackle their problem rather than letting it fester unattended, with unfortunate results.
Overall, although there were some ups an downs, which is true in life too, I enjoyed The Idea of You and would recommend it. Keep in mind it will be a bit of a roller coaster and tear jerker, but one that was a good ride and read.