Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: Musical Chairs, by Amy Poeppel {ends 7/21}

Guest review by: Becki Bayley

After hanging up, Bridget took advantage of the quiet and got her cello out of its case. She’d bought the honey-colored instrument on a post-Juilliard trip to visit her father’s family in London, using a good portion of the graduation check he’d given her to pay for it. She went from shop to shop, landing at Tom Woods (her father’s recommendation) and decided on a Thomas Kennedy, made in the 1820s. Will never asked her what it cost; she would have lied if he had.

Her cello wasn’t appreciating the weather either. It was grumpy about the humidity and oppressive heat, and it took Bridget over five minutes to tune it properly. Practicing had become a challenge here. It was hard to concentrate with Oscar’s Skype meetings in the mornings, three-to-four-hour sessions where he would sit at the dining room table with his laptop, wearing a dress shirt, tie, and blazer on top, nothing but boxers underneath, and talk loudly about energy policy and legislation. When he was done, he would change into shorts and a t-shirt, pop open a beer and lie down on the couch to watch Netflix. Or he would sit in the kitchen eating a bowl of cereal, leaving the milk out on the counter. She couldn’t figure out how much she should parent him. He was too old to be assigned chores, and too young, apparently, to do them properly. Having him as a roommate was both a joy and a nuisance.

What a cast of characters! This story had so many threads it could easily have a prequel or sequel, but it also had enough to satisfy on its own.

Official synopsis:
Book Review: Musical Chairs, by Amy Poeppel
Bridget and Will have the kind of relationship that people envy: they’re loving, compatible, and completely devoted to each other. The fact that they’re strictly friends seems to get lost on nearly everyone; after all, they’re as good as married in (almost) every way. For three decades, they’ve nurtured their baby, the Forsyth Trio—a chamber group they created as students with their Juilliard classmate Gavin Glantz. In the intervening years, Gavin has gone on to become one of the classical music world’s reigning stars, while Bridget and Will have learned to embrace the warm reviews and smaller venues that accompany modest success.

Bridget has been dreaming of spending the summer at her well-worn Connecticut country home with her boyfriend Sterling. But her plans are upended when Sterling, dutifully following his ex-wife’s advice, breaks up with her over email and her twin twenty-somethings arrive unannounced, filling her empty nest with their big dogs, dirty laundry, and respective crises.

Bridget has problems of her own: her elderly father announces he’s getting married, and the Forsyth Trio is once again missing its violinist. She concocts a plan to host her dad’s wedding on her ramshackle property, while putting the Forsyth Trio back into the spotlight. But to catch the attention of the music world, she and Will place their bets on luring back Gavin, whom they’ve both avoided ever since their stormy parting.

With her trademark humor, pitch-perfect voice, and sly perspective on the human heart, Amy Poeppel crafts a love letter to modern family life with all of its discord and harmony. In the tradition of novels by Maria Semple and Stephen McCauley, Musical Chairs is an irresistibly romantic story of role reversals, reinvention, and sweet synchronicity.

This book truly had a little of everything. There’s Bridget, the main character who is the mother to twins born more than 20 years ago via artificial insemination—she thinks. Bridget’s musical partner is Will, and everyone assumes Bridget and Will are partners in more than music. They’re not. Now summering in Connecticut, Bridget is joined by Will (of course) and her twins, but at her father’s estate not far away are her father, his housekeeper, Bridget’s sister, and her father’s new assistant.

The whole cast has their own unique issues to process and get through this summer. Will Bridget finally find love? Can Will find a new love after swearing off of marrying again? Will Bridget’s son and his husband reconcile? And with Bridget’s daughter quitting her job in Hong Kong, what will she do next with her life? There’s always something happening in this book, and of course it all has to wrap up before the climactic wedding at the end of the book.

Overall, I’d give this book 3.5 out of 5 stars. With so much happening, this could easily have expanded to more than one book about the same group of people, but this book still wraps up all the loose ends nicely. It was a nice summer read and escape to a dreamworld instead of a regular life.

{click here to pre-order—it will be released on July 21, 2020}

Becki Bayley is summering at the same house she wintered. Luckily she’s an introvert who’s happy reading at the same location year-round. She also blogs at SweetlyBSquared.com.


One of my lucky readers will win a copy of Musical Chairs!

Enter via the widget below. Giveaway will end on Tuesday, July 21st, at 11:59pm EST, and winner will be notified via email the next day, and have 24 hours to respond, or an alternate winner will be chosen.

U.S. residents only, please.

Good luck!

Musical Chairs, by Amy Poeppel


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