Wednesday 6 September 2017

Review ~ The Idea of You: A Novel by Robinne Lee

Book Description:

"Captures what fame looks like, and how it affects us all...a fun, juicy love story!"--Elizabeth Banks

Solène Marchand, the thirty-nine-year-old owner of an art gallery in Los Angeles, is reluctant to take her daughter, Isabelle, to meet her favorite boy band. But since her divorce, she’s more eager than ever to be close to Isabelle. The last thing Solène expects is to make a connection with one of the members of the world-famous August Moon. But Hayes Campbell is clever, winning, confident, and posh, and the attraction is immediate. That he is all of twenty years old further complicates things.

What begins as a series of clandestine trysts quickly evolves into a passionate and genuine relationship. It is a journey that spans continents as Solène and Hayes navigate each other’s worlds: from stadium tours to international art fairs to secluded hideaways in Paris and Miami. For Solène, it is a reclaiming of self, as well as a rediscovery of happiness and love. When Solène and Hayes’ romance becomes a viral sensation, and both she and her daughter become the target of rabid fans and an insatiable media, Solène must face how her romantic life has impacted the lives of those she cares about most.

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Our Review:

Reviewed by Donna ~ 5 stars

“Love, she said, was not always perfect, and not exactly how you expected it to be. But when it descended upon you, there was no controlling it.”

Damn, Robinne Lee absolutely killed me with The Idea of You. This trope is hard to come by and when they do come along they are very hit or miss, older woman and younger man…the trope that romance novels are made of. Seriously though, I adored this authors writing style, her thought provoking prose never failed to pull at every heart string and evoke every single, possible emotion I possess. Robinne Lee delivers a story that was honest, her characters were believable and she didn’t tread the cliché board, no, Robinne Lee made this trope her own and delivered a story that certainly left its mark and will be one I read time and time again. These characters have stayed with me, my notes have haunted me and it is only now I feel able to try and put together a review that will do this book justice. This review is spoiler free and that is how you need to go into this book, read it as the author intended, experience all those firsts for yourself.

“You’re not too young,” I said. “You’re perfect.”

Solène Marchand is a thirty-nine-year-old divorcee and mum to a twelve-year-old daughter. Solène owns an art gallery with her best friend and is successful and extremely knowledgeable in her field. Solène’s ex-husband has moved on, whereas Solène has not. While Solène was hard to warm up to in the first instance I could appreciate all her fears and insecurities. Robinne Lee did an amazing job in portraying Solène, before and during her time with Hayes.

“There had probably been many before me, and there would be many after, but in that moment, it was just me. And for whatever reason I was plucked from the sea of nameless, faceless women who would have willingly shared Hayes Campbell’s bed, and brought to this place, to this precise instant, to engage in this act.”

Hayes Campbell was a twenty-year-old pop sensation in the biggest teen band to hit the current charts. Every girl had their poster on her walls, every teen loved him and his band mates and their songs were on every radio station, you had to live under a rock to have never heard of Hayes Campbell. While Hayes was only twenty, he was an old soul, wise and mature beyond his years with a penchant for dating older women. Hayes was not a one-night stand kind of guy, he was full of the deep and meaningfuls that bled into his music as well as his love life. Hayes was the lovable idol on the stage but behind the scenes was an extremely intelligent, sensitive, quiet, reflective man with a huge heart. There was nothing I disliked about him, he was simply adorable and he made and stole this book for me.

“You afraid?” he asked. I nodded.
“So am I. But I’m all right with that. If I get hurt, I get hurt. It happens, right? Someone always gets hurt. But I don’t want to miss out on us because I was afraid.”

The age gap in this book is huge, however, it was believable and that was all I could ask of the author. On the outside, it seemed inconceivable but the way that Robinne Lee revealed these characters, peeling back the layers one by one you suddenly understand, you believe and most of all you love and you want these two to survive, to come out the other side as one, but the hurdles are many and some are extremely high and seemingly insurmountable.

“You are like the poster woman for reclaiming one’s sexuality.”

The trouble with fame and fortune is that it comes with a public following and Robinne Lee demonstrated with honesty the pitfalls when living in the public eye. The paparazzi, the media, the fans all have voices, many a keyboard warrior who spite with barbs without a single thought to the reader and the person that they are attacking. To them it is just words, to Solène it was her life, her reputation and that of her daughter. This was brutal, but it was this brutality that hooks the reader and invests them in the centre of this tumultuous, addictive love story. The sex scenes held their own, but it was the dialogue and banter that made this book for me. Everything about this book was perfect.

“Full disclosure,” he said. “You should probably know…” I braced for the worst. HIV, herpes … “… I brought my toothbrush.” He smiled, coy. “But I’d let you fuck me even if I hadn’t.”

These are two characters that I was desperate to not leave behind. The tears were plentiful, I seriously cried a river reading this book, but when I cannot leave a book behind, when I am still thinking about it weeks later, when I have already re-read it, I know that it was a fantastic book. I have told all my friends to read it and I cannot emphasise enough just how bloody brilliant this book was. I applaud Robinne Lee for her integrity, for keeping to the story that her characters demanded to be told. It wasn’t all hearts and flowers, but it was honest, brutally so. This was a one-sitting book for me, I couldn’t put it down and when that last sentence was read it was one of those OMG moments. One where you turn your head and look at the people around you and say…why are you not emotional, why are you just watching TV, can’t you see that my life will never be the same. Seriously, no joke, I adored this book, every single part of it. This is one author that has firmly planted herself on my radar and one that I cannot wait to read more from. Seriously, READ THIS BOOK!!

“You. You let me unfold you.”

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