From the publisher:
The “quick-witted and razor-sharp” (Taylor Jenkins Reid, New York Times bestselling author of Daisy Jones & The Six) author of Limelight and Small Admissions returns with a hilarious and heartfelt new novel about a perfectly imperfect summer of love, secrets, and second chances.
Bridget and Will have the kind of relationship that people envy: they’re loving, compatible, and completely devoted to each other. The fact that they’re strictly friends seems to get lost on nearly everyone; after all, they’re as good as married in (almost) every way. For three decades, they’ve nurtured their baby, the Forsyth Trio—a chamber group they created as students with their Juilliard classmate Gavin Glantz. In the intervening years, Gavin has gone on to become one of the classical music world’s reigning stars, while Bridget and Will have learned to embrace the warm reviews and smaller venues that accompany modest success.
Bridget has been dreaming of spending the summer at her well-worn Connecticut country home with her boyfriend Sterling. But her plans are upended when Sterling, dutifully following his ex-wife’s advice, breaks up with her over email and her twin twenty-somethings arrive unannounced, filling her empty nest with their big dogs, dirty laundry, and respective crises.
Bridget has problems of her own: her elderly father announces he’s getting married, and the Forsyth Trio is once again missing its violinist. She concocts a plan to host her dad’s wedding on her ramshackle property, while putting the Forsyth Trio back into the spotlight. But to catch the attention of the music world, she and Will place their bets on luring back Gavin, whom they’ve both avoided ever since their stormy parting.
With her trademark humor, pitch-perfect voice, and sly perspective on the human heart, Amy Poeppel crafts a love letter to modern family life with all of its discord and harmony. In the tradition of novels by Maria Semple and Stephen McCauley, Musical Chairs is an irresistibly romantic story of role reversals, reinvention, and sweet synchronicity.
Many years ago, a very wise editor who is famous for the stable of authors he edits, gave me some sage advice: look at the imprint or editor of books that you love, then find other books with the same editor or imprint, and you will undoubtedly find more books that you love. That was some of the best advice I’ve ever had on how to choose which books to read, and it has kept me reading pretty much anything that Emily Bestler puts out. Musical Chairs is the perfect example.
I took piano lessons for several years when I was a kid, and my daughter is a talented musician who was in band throughout middle and high school and her freshman college year. I don’t claim to be any kind of expert, so I was not surprised that a lot of the musical references were just lost on me. On the other hand, it didn’t matter. While the book revolves around a musician, her famous conductor/composer father, and her trio, that was just the back drop to a wonderful story of family dysfunction, sibling rivalries, professional jealousy, and one very independent woman. The setting is a wealthy Connecticut beach town and that pushes this book adjacent to the beach read genre.
This is a multilayered story with interesting characters. I found myself laughing out loud at times, which is always a good thing. The story immediately drew me in and it was a one night read for me, I couldn’t put it down. I enjoyed spending time with these characters and was sorry to turn the last page. Highly recommended, especially for fans of Maria Semple, Susan Wiggs, and Elin Hilderbrand.
7/2020 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch
MUSICAL CHAIRS by Amy Poeppel. Atria/Emily Bestler Books (July 21, 2020). ISBN 978-1501176418. 416p.
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