Date finished: June 19, 2019
The Idea of You, Robinne Lee
This book was different from any romance I’ve read so far this year in a really refreshing way. We get the beautiful divorcée mother hoping for a second chance at love; we get the swoon-worthy pop star à la Harry Styles; but we also get the harsh realities of love and motherhood and fame and a relationship with a significant age gap. While this isn’t the fun beach read with the guaranteed HEA, it will make you laugh, cry, and think.
The Idea of You isn’t the type of book I’d normally pick up, but Taylor Jenkins Reid (author of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and Daisy Jones & The Six and one of my favorite authors) called it “the most exciting and intoxicating love story I’ve read in years” in a BookBub blog post, so this obviously went right to the top of my TBR pile.
Solène Marchand, the novel’s protagonist, is a beautiful, almost fortysomething divorcée with a young daughter, Isabelle, who’s obsessed with the latest British boy band, August Moon (think One Direction). When Solène gets roped into taking Isabelle and friends to meet the band before a concert, she never expected one of the band, 20-year-old Hayes Campbell, to come on to her. Her daughter’s “in love” with him, he’s almost half her age, and he’s über famous; Solène on the other hand is a sophisticated adult with a flourishing career and no time for games. Does that stop the two from falling into a whirlwind romance? Absolutely not.
Lee writes the most compelling scenes between Solène and Hayes, and their electricity alone sets them apart from other fictional romantic couples. Their significant age gap has the potential for icky moments (think Tampa by Alissa Nutting), but Hayes’ maturity (which was honestly a bit unrealistic at times) did away with my fears of this very quickly.
I enjoyed the novel’s structure, which followed Solène and Hayes on their various meetups around the globe (West Hollywood, Anguilla, Paris, etc.), and the plot doesn’t get stale even when the two are on opposite ends of the world.
Overall, this is a sometimes fun, sometimes tragic read that I’ll be thinking about for a while. I recommend this one to romance readers who are looking to spice things up plot-wise and fans of Taylor Jenkins Reid.
Photo courtesy @savannahsbooklist (Instagram)