“Sometimes the hardest part isn’t letting go but rather learning to start over.” – Nicole Sobon
Author: Shira Anthony
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 250 Pages
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Blurb: Blame it on jet lag. Jason Greene thought he had everything: a dream job as a partner in a large Philadelphia law firm, a beautiful fiancée, and more money than he could ever hope to spend.
Then he finds his future wife in bed with another man, and he’s forced to rethink his life and his choices. On a moment’s notice, he runs away to Paris, hoping to make peace with his life.
But Jason’s leave of absence becomes a true journey of the heart when he meets Jules, a struggling jazz violinist with his own cross to bear. In the City of Love, it doesn’t take them long to fall into bed, but as they’re both about to learn, they can’t run from the past. Sooner or later, they’ll have to face the music.
Review: Jason (Jaz) had been cheated on by a woman he thought himself to be in love with, someone whom he would build a future around. So now, successful beyond recognition, Jaz takes a leave of absence from this corporate law job and returns to a place that holds both fond and devastating memories for him. Staying in his sister’s apartment, Jaz takes in the local nightlife soon after his arrival in Paris and discovers a flirty young violinist who plays like an angel and oozes charm like a devil. But beneath this bratty exterior lies the wounded heart in need of saving.
Jules has survived a drunken, drug-addled mother who tossed him aside at the age of 16. He has seen and done things no man would be proud of, and holds his secrets close, fearing that Jaz will discover them and toss him aside. But Jaz has a crippling secret of his own, and when the same music that brings these two men together threatens to tear them apart, Jaz realizes he must confront his demons or lose the one thing most precious to him, Jules.
Trust me when I say that my two-paragraph synopsis barely touches the many facets of this novel. Blue Notes by Shira Anthony is a lyrical song of finding faith in oneself and allowing love to blossom for the first time. While this novel could be categorized as a gay-for-you trope, one would be so mistaken to pass it off as just another common story. There is such intensity about these characters from the very start. Jules is such a mixture of light and shadow. His wide-eyed enthusiasm for every adventure is contagious, and you simply want to wrap him up in your arms and hug him close. His back-story of abuse and abandonment tears at the reader’s heart and makes this young man not only genuinely vulnerable but also compelling to read about.
Jaz, on the other hand, is so closed off, so tightly wound and always in control that he prompts the fiercest of reactions in the reader, from impatience to frustration. He is so afraid of exposing his love for Jules that you fear he will lose the young man forever…and nearly does. The story glides along, detailing the highs and lows of this lover’s symphony as they entwine their lives around each other. Paris is a magical backdrop to this torrid love affair and journey of self-discovery, as each of these characters begin to realize that they are worth so much more than they ever imagined themselves to be.
Perhaps the only dissonant chord in this story is the confusing epilogue that seems tacked on in haste to the end of the novel. It takes us three years into the future and brings up many unanswered questions for me. I cannot go into them without giving away serious plot points, but suffice it to say that I felt the epilogue to be superfluous and unneeded. For me, the final pages did not add anything to this already beautifully lyrical love story and could have been left on the editing floor without any negative impact to the novel overall.
All in all, Blue Notes by Shira Anthony was a gorgeous story that wove a beautiful melody of redemption and love. I recommend it to you!