Saturday, 9 January 2016

Review: The Unfinished Symphony of You and Me

Sally is an incredible singer but she sings only in her wardrobe where nobody can hear her. She'd rather join a nudist colony than sing in public.
That is until she ventures to New York where a wild and heady summer of love and loss changes her forever. No longer able to hide in the shadows, Sally must return home to London to fulfill a promise she cannot break - to share her voice.
But just as she's about to embark on her new life, a beautiful man turns up on Sally's doorstep bearing a sheepish smile and a mysterious hand-written message.
How did he find her? Why is he here? Does he hold the truth to what happened back in New York? And, with him back on the scene, will she still have the courage to step into the spotlight?"

So, January is now upon us and I'm trying to dispel any pre-Christmas blues by immersing myself in some bloody good books! January is fairly quiet on the blog-tour front, so I'm enjoying being able to work my way through some books that have been shouting at me from my bookshelf for a very long time, as well as reading some amazing proofs for books coming later this month (I feel very lucky!). I decided to read The Unfinished Symphony of You and Me straight after Christmas and I loved it! I had no doubts that I would (Lucy Robinson is a genius!) but I really, really, really loved it. Here's why! 

The Unfinished Symphony of You and Me was released in 2014, so I'm a bit behind the times with this one. If, like me, you haven't had chance to read this delight yet - then please, please, do. Go, now. Now I tell you! It's FAB. 

Lucy Robinson's writing style always brings a smile to my face. It's witty, absorbing but also so genuine. She creates characters that are so real and you really relate to. They have good points, bad points, flaws and strengths and I just love that about her stories. 

Sally, the main character in this story, is no exception to that. She is a great main character that I rooted for from the very start. She's a super-talented singer but has no self belief. Thanks to her unsupportive parents she doesn't act on her amazing skill, instead choosing to sing opera in a wardrobe. Yes, you head that right. A wardrobe. This is such a funny and unique aspect to the story, but also really defines her character. Sally isn't one to take a chance on her dream or do something for herself, she's too busy worrying about others. She's a kind and caring soul, who I hoped would find some confidence and inner strength to follow her dream, rather than everyone else's. 

That's pretty deep, but this is what happens when you read a Lucy Robinson novel! Light 'chick-lit' reading it is not. There are so many layers to her books that make them stand out from the Women's Fiction crowd. 

So anyway, back to the book. The story is split into two time-frames: the past, when Sally and her friends take on some work for an opera company in New York, where they enjoy being in a new country and city, doing what they love, but also get up to all sorts of mischief. Then there's the present, where we see Sally take on the (rather unwanted) challenge of starting opera school, as she promised she would to the person that means the most to her. I liked the switch in times, it kept the story fast-paced and also added a layer of mystery as there are hints at a big drama occurring in New York which you don't find out about towards the end. I also loved that Lucy had made the different chapters 'acts' or 'scenes', to keep within the opera theme. 

The story is jam-packed with wonderful characters. I loved Jan, Sally's larger than life opera school buddy, who had me laughing out loud on many occasions. Barry, her friend who she travels to New York with is also hilarious and then Julian. Oh, Julian. Sally's love interest is quirky but lovely. Their romance had me on tenterhooks, I loved seeing their relationship unfold in the flashbacks to New York, but wanted to know why they weren't together in the present day. I really rooted for it to work out between them as it was obvious they were meant to be together. 

I'm not a big opera person really, but that doesn't matter. There is plenty of detail in the story to show that Lucy has done some great research which brings the setting to life, but doesn't bore you to tears if you're not a fan. A wonderful balance. 

As usual, Lucy Robinson has created a funny, tongue-in-cheek romance story with MUCH more to it. There's plenty of emotion and mystery to go alongside the romance storyline, which makes it stand out from the crowd. This is one of those stories that you'll think about for a long time after finishing, it's so good. You really become invested in the plot and the characters, so much so that it's a weird point of wanting to race through to find out what happens but being sad when it gets to the end. A wonderful all-rounder and an absolute must read! 

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