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.
I love when authors surprise me. I’ve always enjoyed Jay Northcote’s work. Whenever I feel down, or overwhelmed with work and life I turn to her books and I find myself feeling better, almost instantly. She writes books that are sweet and fun to read. Her characters are, most of the times, a lovely experience to read. John and Rhys from Imperfect Harmony were not the exception.
I must confess that I was a bit worried about this book. At first sight it had a lot of elements that I normally either don’t like in books or that I’m wary of: an almost twenty year-old age gap, loss, grief and the pain that comes with it. It had two musicians, which I LOVE in my books, but at the same time I get super picky with them because… Really, I LOVE music, and I love what it does for people. I love the magic that music brings to the table when it comes to bring people together and creating bonds… So, every time I know there’ll be bonding over music, or that the two MCs are musicians, I go on this ritual where I beg to the lord that the book will live up to my expectations.
This one did. And I think that one of the most amazing things about this particular book is that, not only do the MCs connect with each other through music, but they reconnect with themselves as well. They find themselves again after having been lost for a long time.
John is 42, and Rhys is 23. They met when John’s friend Maggie asked him to take her to her choir practice. John was impressed with Rhys – not only was the guy extremely talented and could direct the choir in an incredible way, but he also had a beautiful voice, and he was beautiful. Rhys was equally taken with John, for the same reasons that John was with him, but also because there was an air of sadness to him that called Rhys – A sadness, a grief, that was like a mirror of himself. He saw himself in John in that moment.
Both of them had lost someone very important to them in the past. The music played a great part into their bonding, but the fact that they both knew that grief, with all that came with it, played a part, too.
This is mostly a very sweet story. It’s sexy, and even with its sad moments, with its angsty moments, it’s pretty tolerable in the angst department. I was amazed that Northcote managed to write about something so sad, and so painful, but make it bareable, tolerable for the reader. It didn’t take away the emotion, no. You could feel every bit of what the characters were feeling, but I think the way she handled it, makes it easier for the reader to handle as well. There was a weird beauty to it, a beautiful understanding between the characters.
Their age gap also plays a part in this, and I thought it was managed well. Adding that to the grief and the loss that they both had gone through it was spot on the way they felt about it and how they saw the same situation in such a different way.
I really liked this. I loved John, but I think that I loved Rhys even more. I felt like in the beginning what they had was more like a friendship than an actual romantic thing for each other, but at some point in the book the love they had for each other was easy to see. The admiration and the awe that they felt for one another became stronger as the pages went by. The awkwardness in their first time felt real, too. It was good to read about something like that. I also liked that both MCs were honest with each other about how they felt and how didn’t they feel, too. It saved a lot of what could have been “unnecessary angst”. There were a couple of things I would have liked to see that weren’t in the book, but overall I liked the book as it is.
Lovely read, really lovely.