By Amy Poeppl
Published July 21, 2020 by Atria/Emily Bestler Books
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.
Musical Chairs is a really funny and delightful book, and it’s a perfect lightweight summer read.
Bridget Stratton has her summer all planned out. She’s spending it at her house in the country, her new boyfriend will be joining her, and she and her best friend and musical partner Will are working on adding a new member to their classic music trio, and she’s expecting a delightful summer. But then her boyfriend dumps her, the new member of the trio turns out to be a raging prima donna, her adult children both return home, and her elderly father makes a surprising announcement. Now her perfect summer has blown up in her face.
This book is a perfect beach read (even if you’re not going anywhere near the beach this summer because of the coronavirus). It’s a really interesting look at the world of classical music. Bridget’s father is a very famous composer, and although Bridget is a talented cellist, she’s always lived a bit in his shadow. Most musicians don’t make much money, but Bridget has a lot of family money, so her career in music hasn’t caused her any financial hardship. On the other hand, Will, who doesn’t have anything to fall back on, is always strapped for cash, and he’s about to lose his cheap Greenwich Village apartment (the Holy Grail of NYC real estate) because the building is being sold.
I loved the relationship between Bridget and Will. They’ve been best friends since college, and their relationship is completely platonic. Will has stood in as a father figure to Bridget’s children (she is a single mother), and she does her best to help him out financially (she’s very sensitive to the disparity in their financial situations). Their friendship is really well done, and it’s a nice balance to the romantic tribulations in the book.
This book is perfect summer escapism, and it was just what I needed during my quarantine time.
I received a digital ARC from the publisher through NetGalley.