Title: Imperfect Harmony
Author: Jay Northcote
Publisher: Jaybird Press
Release Date: April 15th 2016
Page Count: 189 pages
Reviewed by: Ele
Heat Level: 3.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Imperfect harmony can still be beautiful…
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.
This story had every potential to be a bottomless pit of angst. It woud be so easy for this to turn into melodrama, but it didn’t. Sure, there is grief and sorrow. But most of all, Imperfect Harmony is a story about love, hope, and music.
It’s been two years since John lost his partner, David. Two years of loneliness, without another person’s touch, and without music. When he meets the director of the local choir, Rhys, he can’t imagine that the vibrant, tattooed, blue-haired man shares the same burden.
Rhys might be 19 years younger than John, but he feels way older. Because he has lost the two most important things in his life: his partner and music.
The singing sessions turn into friendship, and friendship turns into so much more. There were so many scenes that touched me deeply; their singing together at the nursing home, the last straw that made Rhys break down in the end, the beautiful moment when John played “Danny Boy” again.
I loved how real everything felt. Their bodies weren’t perfect, their first time having sex was very far from perfect, and the both carry insecurities that keep messing things up.
The conflict of this story is real. There is a pretty big age gap between them, and despite Rhys’ reassurances, John can’t see past it. There is love, but sometimes it doesn’t feel enough. It’s up to Rhys to work harder and bring them together. But when they do come together, it’s magic and rainbows. It’s perfect harmony!
On one hand, I would have liked to see John taking the final leap. On the other, this is just how John was, and the author stayed true to his character. If anything, it made me love Rhys even more, for always wearing his heart on his sleeve, and for staying true to himself without giving up.
Stories with grieving characters can be tricky. For me, this one delevered 100%, because it treated the lost loves with respect, and the newfound ones with hope.