RELEASE DATE: April 15th, 2016
BLURB: 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.
“Imperfect Harmony” is not just simply a novel, it’s a soundtrack as well and I hope my review will explain what I mean by this. The book is about love and beautiful music, it’s a complicated and painful love story, from the very beginning you will be experiencing so many different emotions, some very deep and emotional.
The two protagonists are as different as day and night. John is a mature man, his long term relationship with his partner of over twenty years, ended tragically and certainly unexpectedly, when his partner was involved in a car accident and died. He hasn’t got over the death yet, he hasn’t been able to move on. He did hold the position of Professor of Music, but resigned and became a Supply Teacher as he can no longer play anymore, he’s lost all direction.
Unexpectedly, he meets Rhys. Rhys is young, has a body covered in tattoo’s and blue hair, despite his age, he too has suffered. He teaches the Church Choir and volunteers in a Retirement Home, he keeps busy, trying to escape his past but still feels bad. John is immediately attracted to Rhys, but doesn’t know how to handle it? Their’s also the age gap to consider. He knows he has to move on but just can’t let go of the past.
Rhys on the other hand, knows that when given a second chance of finding love, you have to take it, life is too short not too.
So what could unite these two very different men? The answer is really simple – music. Music featured throughout the book, such a vast array of different tracks, going from Frank Sinatra’s “You make me feel so young” to a violin piece, titled “Ashokan Farewell” that gives you goosebumps, there’s even the Irish’s famous “Danny Boy” – the author showing off her skills as she engages you on several fronts. You cannot read this novel without listening to the soundtrack, that would be sacrilege! because it’s through the music that the author tells us what our characters cannot say in words.
“Imperfect Harmony” is one of the sweetest love stories I’ve ever read and I thank Jay Northcote with all my heart, in giving me this opportunity of reading this absolute gem and the music in the preview, for a romance reader to not read this story would be a travesty of justice.
I have one last tip: read the book and get comfortable, think back on the storyline, think of John and Rhys, turn off the lights and listen to “Ashokan Farewell”, by Jay Ungar, who composed this stunningly beautiful piece, he claims it’s a sense of loss and longing and he’s right, it truly is a masterpiece.
5 perfect stars from me.
Luckily there were still some parking spaces outside the church hall where Maggie’s choir met. John made sure they arrived a little early so Maggie wouldn’t have to walk too far. She was managing well on one crutch, but she still tired easily. After he parked, he got out and hurried around to help her out of the passenger door.
“Thanks, love,” she said, patting him on the arm. “I can manage now.”
A vicious gust of wind whipped a strand of hair into her face. It was dark, still sleeting, and probably slippery underfoot. There was no way John was going to leave until she was safely indoors. “I’ll just see you inside. Let me take your bag.”
Maggie let him have it without argument, and he popped it over his arm. He hovered close to Maggie as she made her way slowly to the double doors. He held one open for her and was hit by a blast of warm air. Then he accompanied her inside as she crutched along the corridor towards an open door. Yellow light flooded out, and the sound of a tenor voice singing “I Can See Clearly Now” raised the hairs on the back of John’s neck with its pure, clear beauty.
“I thought you said the emphasis was on fun rather than perfection?” he said quietly. “He’s got quite a voice.”
“That’ll be Rhys, our choir leader,” Maggie said with a smile. “Come and meet him, even if you’re not staying.”
Maggie paused when she reached the doorway and put a finger to her lips. They listened and waited for Rhys to finish singing. John peered over Maggie’s shoulder, hoping for a glimpse of the man the voice belonged to. Rhys, John presumed, was alone in the room. With his back to the door, he stood at a table pushed to the edge of the room, shuffling through some papers as he sang. All John could see of him was that he was small and slight, and quite young, based on the cut of his clothes. A hood covered his hair.
When he finished, Maggie started clapping.
Rhys wheeled around. “Oh my God! You made me jump.” He pushed his hood down and his face lit up as he beamed. “Maggie. How are you?”
John’s eyes widened as he took in Rhys’s front view as he approached Maggie and gave her a careful hug. His hair, which was shaved at the back and sides, was long on top and dyed peacock blue. His eyebrow was pierced, his arms were covered with tattoos, and the front of his T-shirt was emblazoned with a glittery equals sign in rainbow colours. All in all, he was at least twenty years younger than John had expected and completely unlike how John would have imagined a choir leader to look. In this dingy church hall in their small market town, Rhys looked like a bird of paradise that had accidentally ended up in a cage full of sparrows.
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Meet the author:
Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England. He comes from a family of writers, but always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed him by. He spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content.
One day, Jay decided to try and write a short story—just to see if he could—and found it rather addictive. He hasn’t stopped writing since.
Jay writes contemporary romance about men who fall in love with other men. He has five books published by Dreamspinner Press, and also self-publishes under the imprint Jaybird Press. Many of his books are now available as audiobooks.
Jay is transgender and was formerly known as she/her.
Where to find the author:
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29397223-imperfect-harmony
Publisher: Jaybird Press
Cover Artist: Garrett Leigh
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