Title: The Idea of You by Robinne Lee
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Length: 384 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
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.
The Idea of You by Robinne Lee is a surprisingly believable romance between a thirty-nine year old gallery owner and the twenty year old front man of wildly popular boy band.
Solène Marchand is not at all happy when her ex-husband wrecks her weekend plans and she ends up taking her thirteen year old daughter Isabelle and her two friends to Las Vegas to see their favorite boy band, August Moon. At the meet and greet, Solène is charmed by lead singer Hayes Campbell who shamelessly flirts with her then invites her and the girls to the concert’s after party. Despite the sizzling attraction between them, Solène refuses Hayes’ entreaties to date him and she returns to her regular life. However, Hayes persistently tries to change her mind and she finally agrees to meet him for lunch. He and Solène eventually embark on a steamy affair but will Hayes’ fame and their age difference become obstacles that are impossible to overcome?
Although devoted to Isabelle, Solène is not your average mom. A cultured fashionista, she owns an up and coming gallery with her best friend. She has not dated much since her divorce and Solène is taken off guard by her intense attraction to Hayes. Extremely conscious of their age difference, she has no intention of letting their relationship go beyond flirtation, but Hayes is pretty relentless with invitations to meet him at glamorous locations during his latest tour.
Not only is Hayes incredibly mature for his age, he is also quite well-adjusted. While he leaves the bad boy antics to his bandmates, he does enjoy the perks of being a famous musician. Hayes has a reputation for dating older women, and the age difference between him and Solène is a non issue as far as he is concerned. Sweet, sexy and utterly charming, Hayes is incredibly patient as he tries to convince Solène to give him a chance.
The relationship between Hayes and Solène is purely physical in the beginning but there is never any doubt that they genuinely like and respect one another. Hayes is a little blasé about his celebrity but Solène is uncomfortable with the intensity of his fans and the limelight. Their relationship quickly deepens into much more than a casual affair, but Solène never loses sight of the fact they are at very different stages in their lives. Solène also must contend with Isabelle’s ongoing infatuation with Hayes and the rest of the band and her reluctance to tell her daughter about she is dating Hayes ends in heartache. When she and Hayes fall under intense media scrutiny, will the adverse effects of stardom be too much for Solène to bear?
A truly wonderful read with marvelous characters and a refreshing storyline, The Idea of You is an intensely steamy yet extremely thought-provoking novel. The connection between Hayes and Solène rings true and the transition of their relationship from physical to emotional is realistic. The storyline has plenty of depth and Robinne Lee brilliantly weaves topical issues such as ageism and sexism into the plot. The conclusion of this captivating novel remains far from certain as Solène navigates the sometimes harsh realities of life with a celebrity.