I’m so up and down about this novel! In the end I think I give it a solid 3.5 as I enjoyed reading it. It was a lovely summer read, although a little predictable in places, a little over the top in others.
Grace owns a shop where she repairs and builds string instruments. She is also a cellist, but no one really knows this as she hasn’t played for anyone for many, many years. Grace has also been in a relationship with a married man, David, for a long time. David lives in Paris, Grace in Kent, and they see each other on a regular basis, usually in Paris. One day David jumps onto the tracks of the Métro to save a woman who has fallen, and everything changes. (No David doesn’t die).
What I loved were the lush descriptions of Paris and the beautiful descriptions of instruments and classical music. Anstey Harris evokes the beauty of playing music in an exquisite way, and I loved learning all about the absolute skill it takes to create, repair, and love a string instrument. These parts were beautiful. Paris is also my favorite place in the world, so the nostalgia in the descriptions was something I really related to.
What I didn’t love was how bloody selfish Grace is! She seems to walk around in a bubble, unable to actually see what is going on around her. The bubble does burst eventually, but even then she still has to navigate all her own feelings before those of her friends’. I didn’t dislike her though, she grew on me, and I understood a lot of what she was going through. I just feel like she is always being coddled. And honestly, all the drinking she does is really annoying. After a while you start wondering if the final revelation is going to be “I’m an alcoholic” as the author seems to feel the need to list every glass of wine that Grace has ever. It’s a bit strange because it stands out.
I love Grace’s friends, Nadia and Mr Williams. They are the stars of the show for me, friends everyone needs in their lives. They were definitely my favorite characters through and through!
So all in all an enjoyable story, well written, with some annoying parts, and a bit of a predictable finale. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the advance copy.