Title: Imperfect Harmony
Author: Jay Northcote
Publisher: Jaybird Press
Release Date: April 15th 2016
Page Count: 189 pages
Reviewed by: Renée
Heat Level: 3.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 3 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.
So this one will go in the everyone-loved-it-but-me category.
I LOVE Jay Northcote. I love her MORE when she writes full-length over novella-length. But this one fell flat (music pun ;P). What I DID love: lots of music in this book and did you see the cover? Amazing!
But……It was just too sweet, too goody-goody, too MUCH of something. The fluff was higher than what I expect from Northcote. There was grief and slight conflict, but it was really a case of personal tastes from ME and not the book itself.
These men drive around elderly neighbors after their hip surgeries, walk their neighbors’ dogs, sing weekly at nursing homes……I mean two amazing people who are so freakin selfless, right? Am I horrible that that kind of thing doesn’t belong in my m/m romance books in such a blatant abundance? Yes, I guess so. Still not sorry. It was just too much goody goodyness.
Then we have a double case of dead partners. It’s gotta be handled really well for me when it’s just ONE of the MCs experiencing grief, but both? That’s almost insurmountable to be handled well according to my wants, and it really wasn’t.
There were too many ghosts in the room for John to be fully present with Rhys.
Yes, there were too many ghosts for ME to be fully present with this book. I mean, the MCs admitted to thinking of their respective dead lovers during sex!! I don’t want to read that shit in my romance, no matter how realistic it may be in RL. Just no.
But it’s Northcote, and she writes so well. Don’t think for a minute that the writing isn’t as superb as always. But then……
Renée’s biggest pet peeve in her reading happened. The “M” word. The last quarter of the book pinged (loudly) on my martyr bullshit meter. See, John is 19 years older than Rhys, and he’s not comfortable with that. Even though Rhys never read as even slightly immature. He acts older than John for most of the book. So John pulls out the big Martyr card, and I got irritated.
He kept circling back to the belief that he wasn’t good enough for Rhys, that Rhys needed someone different, someone younger.
And then he didn’t even bother working to resolve the conflict. It was all Rhys. Who’s the older MC again? Apparently not John.
Sigh. It’s all about my personal taste, and I own that. Everyone else so far has LOVED this, so I’m the cheese standing alone in the corner. If my personal niggles don’t bother you in the slightest, I’m sure you’ll love it like everyone else. This just wasn’t for me.
I remain a die-hard Northcote fan, though. This was all about the story and not the writing itself, which is great as always.