Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Contemporary Romance
When Solène Marchand, the thirty-nine-year-old owner of a prestigious art gallery in Los Angeles, takes her daughter, Isabelle, to meet her favorite boy band, she does so reluctantly and at her ex-husband’s request. The last thing she 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 relationship. It is a journey that spans continents as Solène and Hayes navigate each other’s disparate worlds: from stadium tours to international art fairs to secluded hideaways. And for Solène, it is as much a reclaiming of self, as it is a rediscovery of happiness and love. When their 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 new status has impacted not only her life, but the lives of those closest to her.
When I first read the blurb for this book I have to admit that I did (wrongly) assume that it would be one of those cliched, happily ever after love stories. It was far from it, instead it was a genuine, raw and honest look at a “taboo” relationship that explored some really cool themes and smashed some well known stereotypes, especially ones towards women.
I liked the structure of this, it was divided into sections based on where Hayes and Solene were traveling at the time and they visited some really amazing and exotic locales as he toured with his band and she raced off to meet him whenever she could. This definitely isn’t a typical romance novel, besides the obvious age difference between the two leads, there was more intelligence and sophistication here, both in the authors writing style and in the characters themselves.
Both Solene and Hayes were complicated characters individually and their relationship itself was complex as well. She’s a divorced mother to a teenaged girl and when the media gets wind of their romance, their lives are effected in a deep and profound way. Hayes was a really mature guy for a twenty year old and there was much more substance to him than I was expecting there to be. I can totally see why Solene was charmed by him!
This was definitely an alluring and risqué read, there are some steamy and passionate love scenes and Hayes and Solene’s chemistry was smoking hot. Watching her transformation throughout the book was a beautiful thing to witness, when it starts she’s a strong, independent business woman, but she’s lost a vital piece of herself along the way. By the end, she had embraced her sexuality as a middle aged woman and found a new type of self confidence she was lacking before.
Lee also explored some common stereotypes that most women face at some point in their lives and she really focused on the age old double standard where older men date much younger women and no one bats an eye while an older woman dating a younger man is frowned upon and judged harshly.
This was one of those books that just begs to be made into a movie, I can only imagine that it would be stunning! The ending was really bittersweet and emotional and I’m not sure whether I loved it or hated it to be completely honest. But the book itself was great and I’m extremely impressed this is Lee’s debut, I think she has a juicy, sexy hit on her hands.
Overall rating: 4.5/5
Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.
About the Author:
ROBINNE LEE is an actor, writer and producer. A graduate of Yale University and Columbia Law School, Robinne was born and raised in Westchester County, New York. Robinne has numerous acting credits in both television and film, most notably opposite Will Smith in both Hitch and Seven Pounds. She recently completed shooting Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed, playing Ros Bailey. Robinne currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two children. The Idea of You is her first novel.