The Idea of You, Robinne Lee
The Idea of You, Robinne Lee
Genre: Women’s fiction,
Well, what an amazing book, and how hard it is to write a review.
Its not classed as romance, but the blurb suggests its a romantic tale and it is – and yet it isn’t.
If you want the HEA its not for you, but it is a beautifully bittersweet story that’s worth reading for itself, not for the ending grab this book now.
It’s a romantic story but not a Romance novel, featuring a 39 year old polished, confident, successful lady, mother of 13 yr old Isabelle, and Hayes, 20 year old pop star sensation.
You read that and think “no way, what will they have in common?” and that’s my unrealised perceptions and bias coming in because if Hayes was 39 and Solene 20 who’d take notice?
Its accepted for men to have vastly younger girlfriends and yet for women? Nope, that’s just Not On. Why though? If they’re in love should age matter?
Hayes isn’t like the average 20 year old, in fact all the lads in the band act older than their age. Is it their upbringing? Education? Or what they’ve been through to get so far with the band?
It means though that for me the romance is believable, Solene and Hayes really do feel in love.
I enjoyed Solene’s character, beautiful but not Barbie model style, she loves her daughter, gets on OK with her ex – who does have a younger girlfriend – and of course that’s easily accepted.
When the ex is criticising her about Hayes I wanted to say “look at yourself first before throwing stones”, but its back to that unfair divide between the sexes.
Its like when men have lots of sexual partners they’re Playboys, eternal bachelors, and no one thinks anything of it, but when it’s the women they’re with, they’re described its shameless, sluts, tarts etc. All the derogatory comments get thrown at them, but never at men for doing exactly the same thing. And that’s my rant over 😉
What I love about stories like this is how the characters get together.
Hayes is always open about what he wants, but Solene? She knows how it’ll be seen even while she’s feeling the pull of attraction to him, kids herself its just lunch, then a little more and so on, until they’re deeply in the throes of passion, fallen hard for each other.
The age gap honestly doesn’t seem to matter. Hayes is mature enough to know what he wants and go for it, and Solene’s able to enjoy time with him, in and out of bed.
He’s intelligent, a good conversationalist, educated, interested in so many things.
I loved that Solene was successful in her own right, that she and her partner ran a flourishing art gallery. The way the art, the exhibitions, promotions and artists are talked about suggests its either a field Robinne is familiar with, or has researched very well.
Its things like that which lift a novel and make it stand out from the hundreds of thousands of similar works. A novel for the Thinking reader 😉
The media: once their story was out, the way Solene was savaged in print and on the net, the way it over spilled into her personal and business life, all embody just what I hate about the media.
Truth isn’t important, only the sales that come with a story, the more scurrilous the better. Destroy a family, pushing someone to suicide, ending someone’s career, all become unimportant casualties in the quest for sensationalism.
I hate it – please don’t buy/read those kind of stories, without readers there would be no adverts, without adverts and the income they bring there will be no life breaking untruthful or deceptive stories.
What I hated – really, really hated – was the ending. I just didn’t expect that, didn’t like it, and find it hard to accept. I’ve mentally decided there’s another book 🙂 giving me the ending I wanted.
As I said its not billed as Romance, but the way the story unfolds lulled me into thinking it was going to be one…
Its an incredibly believable tale, even if like me you think “20?? what will they talk about?” Its written so cleverly that you very soon forget their ages, and get caught up in their lives. There are times it hits with a bang, when the band do something, someone says something, that reminds the reader of the gap, but those moments seem to serve as a harsh reminder of people’s perception, of Solene’s fear of where it will end, what the future holds.
Stars: five, a fabulous story, and if the ending had been different its would be one I’d happily reread – but its not, and I won’t!
ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers