The Idea of You

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 16 Feb 2019

Member Reviews

The Idea of You is a love story with a twist between a rock star and a woman next door. Robinne Lee has created two interesting characters who are almost twenty years apart in age. Solène is thirty nine, she is recently divorced and the mother of a teenage daughter. Hayes is twenty and a member of a world famous boys band. They meet during a fan meet-and-greet session organized after a concert. What starts as a harmless flirtation quickly becomes a passionate love affair. Their journey is a bittersweet one, there are a lot of circumstances that pull them apart, despite their intense chemistry.

Hayes is a hottie with millions of fans. His life is consumed by touring, writing music and recording it. He has developed a kind of character-splitting between his celebrity self and his authentic self as a survival technique. With Solène, Hayes is sweet and open with his feelings, he knows what he wants. Solène can’t ignore his celebrity, she isn’t prepared for the side effects of fame, the media frenzy and the lack of personal privacy. She feels uncomfortable being seen with him and wants to keep their relationship a secret as long as possible. Her story with Hayes should be a meaningless fling, a way to move on after her divorce. But she is falling hard for the real guy behind the star.

What transpires between them was brilliantly written. Right from the first page, I was fully invested in their poignant story. I was transfixed by their dilemma, their intense chemistry and their heartbreak. I rooted for them and I hurt for them. I recommend this book, even though I didn't get the ending I wanted. This is a story that will stay with you long after you finish reading it.
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Wow!  I am totally blown away by how amazing this book was!  So much more than I was expecting!  This book had well developed characters and a really great story.  I couldn't put this one down once I started.  Highly recommend!
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My Review:
A book hangover...it's a very real thing and this book will give one to you. 

I had no idea what to expect with this story. Robinne Lee is a new author, but I couldn't resist that story line. This is a May/December romance. The only reason Solene meets Hayes is because her ex-husband flaked out on taking her daughter and friends to the concert (with backstage passes) that he promised them. So, Solene stepped up and got the girls there, and then wondered the entire time how she ended up at this tween-fest. 

August Moon is THE boy band. Their fans are nuts and every girl under the age of 18 loves each and every one of the five boys. Included in this fan base is Solene's 12 yo daughter and her two best friends, so when Hayes starts to flirt with her, she pretty much blows him off. He's 20 yo. She's 39. Yeah, no way. But Hayes pursues her and she finds herself charmed. 

This book...argh...it's just so much... It's extremely well written and the story line is both forbidden and riveting just because you can see that train wreck coming and you simply can't look away. I started reading it late, went to bed, dreamed about the book all night, and then immediately dove into it the next day. It's one of those stories that simply sticks with you. I loved the two of them together...so much. Gah...I wanted them to beat the odds and make this work, but wow, the odds are against them. 

There is a lot of time and subjects covered by the book. It probably lasts almost a year in the characters lives as things between them develop and change. But it's not just about the romance. There is so much more covered in the story...the differences in how age is perceived in men and women, the double standard for women in so many things, the art world (which I found to be fascinating), even the art that Hayes creates (as a member of a boy band, he's often mocked for lack of...when in reality all the guys in this group are working so hard, every day and every night and Hayes is also writing all the songs). 

There are three very distinct ages in this book and the trials that they face...Solene in middle age, Hayes as a young adult, and Solene's daughter as a tween. Three very different ages all at very different points in their lives. A fact that's gone over and over in the story...How can they possibly make this work long-term with a 20 year gap between their ages?

When it's just Solene and Hayes, the world is perfect, but they can't live in a bubble. He's world-famous and his fans are crazed. Solene has responsibilities, not the least of which is her young daughter. When they go public, those crazy fans focus in on Solene...and it's NOT in a nice way.

Like I said, the story line was absolutely riveting. I fell in love with this book and these two characters. As a forty+ yo woman with a 22 yo son, I felt Solene's pain. She knows this can't work. Every time she's away from Hayes she can see the reality, but then they are together and everything is so perfect. How could she walk away from that? She can't. It's so painful to read and as the book got closer and closer to the end, the tighter my nerves became. I kept hoping...

NOTE: romance readers, this is NOT a romance. This is women's fiction. Yes, there absolutely is a romantic...seriously romantic, heart-wrenching story line, but... There's your warning. Heed it wisely. (and secondary note...even with that precaution, I loved this book. It's one that I think will stick with me a long time and I've ordered it for my keeper shelf.)

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.
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Solène Marchand never aspired to being just a simple housewife. She all she ever wanted was to put her Ivy League education to good use and give a voice to female artists from all over the world. And it was this desire that inevitably caused the breakup of her marriage. 

Now she focuses on raising her young daughter and carving a niche for her art gallery. Until all of that is abruptly turned around after a concert on a sweltering Las Vegas night.

The second we were left alone Hayes turned to face me. “Look, I’m not going to ask you how old you are because it’s impolite, but I want you to know there’s very little you could say that’s going to deter me. And I really don’t give a damn what people like Max think. If I did, I wouldn’t have asked you here. So no, in case you’re wondering, I’m not turning back.” 
“Okay.” 
“Okay?” 
“Okay,” I repeated. 
“Good. Cheers.” 
“Thirty-nine. And a half.” 
Hayes lowered his glass of Pellegrino, revealing a huge smile. “Okay. I can work with that.” 
Dear God, what was I getting myself into?

Hayes Campbell is the twenty-year-old “swagger one” from the world famous British boy band - August Moon. He’s all dimples and heartbreaking sensuality.

His life is an endless cycle of recording and performing under the intense scrutiny of the tabloid press.   But behind the scenes, he’s wise beyond his years and longs for a true connection to someone who can see beyond the rock star veneer.

What starts as only a brief affair soon becomes a passion that neither can control.  In the harsh light of day, Solène must share him with the world and the world can be a very vicious place. 

He turned when I opened the glass door, his eyes brightening. I’d removed everything. “Hiiii.” 
“Hi yourself.” I stood there, drinking him in. All of him. 
And feeling everything. 
And then I said it. “I love you.” 
Hayes froze, a confused look on his face, water streaming down his long torso. “Are you saying that because I’m naked?” 
“No.” 
“Are you saying that because it’s my birthday?” 
“I’m saying it because I love you.”
He was quiet, weighing the moment. And then he smiled, wide. “What took you so long?” 
I laughed. “I was just making sure it was you, and not the idea of you.”

The Idea of You is so much more than it first appears to be.  On the surface, it’s a scorching hot romance where the chemistry between the characters is so tangible that you can actually reach out and touch it.  

But if you look just a little deeper, you will discover that Robinne has also given us a harsh and yet poignant look into how the world perceives women as we age. 

I was both empowered and broken by every nuance of this powerful debut novel and it’s now a book that I will measure others by for a long time to come.  

Because a love as pure and true as this one can only make the world a more beautiful place…
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A haunting and aching read. It was a beautiful romance. You can't help but fall in love with Hayes and be devastated for this couple. I'm still in mourning, but understand the reasons why the author went in the direction she chose. Still... is there any chance for a sequel so we can a HEA for this deserving couple?!
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Sophisticated, alluring, and extremely passionate! 

This is a thought-provoking, intriguing novel that reminds us that women can be confident, powerful, intelligent, attractive, sexual beings at any age and that being famous often has many drawbacks.

The prose is genuine and raw. The characters are authentic, honest, multi-layered, and appealing. And the plot sweeps you away into an engaging saga about motherhood, independence, responsibility, age disparity, stardom, art, seduction, desire, lust, love and unquenchable chemistry.

This a wonderful debut for Lee. It’s an exquisite love story with palpable emotion, strong narration and an ending, which I logically understand but still wish was different, that will resonate with you long after you finish the final page. 

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.
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4.5 out of 5 stars

The Idea of You by Robinne Lee is the story of Solene Marchand and Hayes Campbell. They are from two different worlds. The first among these is age. Solene is almost 40 while Hayes is 20. To add complication Hayes is a popular musician who is in the public view and has his life dissected by the minute and all the added drama and difficulty that come with that. I enjoyed very much how The Idea of You was filled with witty banter, cultural and music references both old and new and a plethora of passion. Solene is a fashionable, divorce mom with an art gallery specializing in pieces by female and minority artists with a 12 year old daughter, Isabelle. When her ex-husband cancels on a trip to Vegas where her daughter has tickets to see the hot new British boy band, August Moon, for a pre-concert meet and greet, she ends up being the chaperone. Hayes is the 20 year old founder of August Moon and witty an wise beyond his years. Playful banter between Solene and Hayes both at the pre-concert and a back stage event, leads to his visiting her gallery in Los Angeles, which leads to lunch, which leads to more.

This is a May-December romance where both of them are in their element and bring out the passionate best in each other. Yes, there is the ongoing theme that she is old enough to be his mother, but nonetheless Haylene (Solayes?) is a "ship" that is fun, passionate, and loving, spanning many cities in multiple countries with rich art and musical references. These two characters are written to be together. Of course problems arise when you have the rich and famous involved, or more accurately their fans and the paparazzi. The issues that they end up having to deal with are heart wrenching and difficult, yet realistic. The balancing act, and the choices, and the attempt at normalcy are all well woven into The Idea of You. I really did like the story and the characters. My one wish is that there would have been a more active fight to combat the issues head on, rather than just giving into Hayes policy of ignoring public personal issues as the best way to get by. Once you add in more people to the equation (children), that practice doesn't work, and I wish that Solene would have taken the initiative to push Hayes to tackle their problem rather than letting it fester unattended, with unfortunate results.

Overall, although there were some ups an downs, which is true in life too, I enjoyed The Idea of You and would recommend it. Keep in mind it will be a bit of a roller coaster and tear jerker, but one that was a good ride and read.

(I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of this book I received for free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my open and honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.)
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I honestly don't know what it was about this blurb that had me so interested, but I'm really happy that I read this book. I'm usually never eager to pick up a book with an older heroine but something about this called to me and I couldn't stay away. 

I loved the emotions that this book brought out in me. A woman nearing her 40's and a Rockstar half her age? You can only imagine the skeptics that were there and ready to criticize them. But I loved how they handled it and the strength that they showed with their relationship. 

I really liked reading about both of these characters, no matter their ages, and I'm glad I didn't let the age-gap stop me from picking this one up. My 3 Star rating comes from the ending and I just wasn't satisfied with it so it made my rating go down some. I wish I could have rated it higher since I liked these characters so much, but the overall happy feeling of the book lessened at the end. 

Bottom line, this is an emotional and intriguing story that I would not hesitate to recommend.
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This was a very good and well written book. I loved watching the characters grow over the time of the story and I will be picking up more from this author soon.  I have found another new author of this year and I can't wait to get this in a finished copy.  This is one that give the romance and contemporary reader everything they could ask for.
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When my friend Sarah over at The Book Traveler sent me a link to The Idea of You, I wasn't sure what I was getting into. A boy band member and an established woman with a teen - this sounded like heartbreak in a less than the time it takes to sing a chorus. But I can't resist a story about a boy band, and I'm glad I didn't! 

At 39, Solene has a career she has worked hard for, a tween daughter, and an ex-husband who's moved on. She's relatively content, something that quickly shifts when she meets Hayes Campbell. Hayes is a 20 year old starter of August Moon, which will remind you of One Direction right down to the obsessive fans and OTP shippers. They're both easily likeable, with Solene being so real that you could see her as your neighbor or in your circle of friends. Hayes, while relatively mature, is a 20 year old guy who has figured out how to use the attention to his advantage and not let it get to him. It's easy for a reader to judge Solene for the age difference, something the book explores. Ageism is alive and real in nearly all of the characters in the book. 

While the age difference is hard to ignore, the true meat of the story comes in the exploration of Solene entering Hayes' world of fame and how that impacts a person. In the age of social media, a celebrity never gets a down moment, and neither does anyone they are close to. As you can imagine, this complicates their relationship when the world learns of their relationship. And it is a relationship, as real as one can be with the pair living in completely separate worlds. They get hot and heavy, something Lee doesn't shy away from. 

It's hard to imagine the story ending with your typical romance book, since this isn't your typical romance. Readers will leave the story satisfied.
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**4.5 Stars**

The Idea of You was unlike anything I have ever read before. Powerfully classy and elegant, Lee's narrative felt intensely personal and real. Solène jumped from the pages and told her story in such a fashion that it felt very much in-the-moment, as if she were next to me and regaling me with her life's tale. Even with the slow start, I'll admit I kept reading out of curiosity, but before I knew it I couldn't stop devouring it.

I had some trepidation prior to reading in regards to the idea of an older woman with a younger man simply because it's not something written about much, but I needn't have worried as Lee took such care with creating two very different characters that rarely fit the persona of their age and instead they transcended any sort of role or stereotype placed on them. As a divorced mother of a pre-teen, Solène seemed to invent poise and self-assuredness, but it didn't take long for boy-bander Hayes to expose the raw sexual power she carried within. That fiery magnetism and his confidence in what he wanted allowed her to let her baser desires overrule her more logical side and that gave me the ability to connect to him and his pull, for me to be attracted to the idea of him.

The Idea of You carried with it real life issues and topics ranging from age gaps in relationships to teen obsession with celebrities, all wrapped into a story that pushed against barriers and norms in a very real, informative way. Lee had a unique way in telling their story, not sensationalizing it, but instead artfully portraying the draw and love and connection these two shared; even their drawbacks and struggles. I'm honestly surprised I fell so hard for this story and its characters, and that ending will forever stick with me.
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4.5 stars

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 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 mindand 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.

Therelationship 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.
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Solene Marchant, a divorcee and single parent, is a partner in an art gallery. She is intelligent and cultured, not the type to get involved with a singer half her age. Then again, Hayes isn't the typical boy-bander. When a fling becomes something more, when they both start to fall in love, there are possibilites. But there is also the challenge of living in the spotlight, with constant intrusion by international press and social media. 
The Idea of You provides a fascinating picture of two worlds in collision, which explores social attitudes towards an older woman dating a young man. The intimate scenes however, while being well imagined, were so frequent they lost impact by the end of the novel. - a pity as the plot and characters were excellent.
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Solène is 39. Mom to 12-year-old Isabelle. Divorced. Art Gallery owner. And right now she's backstage at a Las Vegas concert hall seeing him for the first time: Hayes. Twenty-year-old pop superstar; singer in the boy band AUGUST MOON!
This boy has put his mega-flirt-hat on and Solène can't help but flirt back! She could be his mother!

But can an almost 40 year old lady and a world famous superstar half her age have anything real and lasting? Solène's daughter and the rest of the world think NOT - once they find out....

WHAT WILL HAPPEN WITH SOLÈNE & HAYES?
WILL THE WORLD GIVE THEM A CHANCE AT A HAPPILY EVER AFTER??
READ THE BOOK TO FIND OUT ☺

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I loved this book!

I knew from the sound of the blurb that I was probably going to like it - because there's nothing I love more than Rock Star Romances! BUT - this was sooo much better than I could've ever hoped for. I was a tiny little bit skeptic about Solène being so much older than Hayes, but pfffff, once I met both of them, I didn't care about the age difference at all.

I'm 39 myself and I just jumped right into this book and became Solène for a few hours! I was right in there living this amazing adventure. All those amazingly adorable & sexy & emotional & just beautiful moments in hotel rooms in New York City, at a pool in the South of France. All the ups and downs of such a complicated new love. All those new feelings and fears.

I just loved reading this story. Poor Solène is feeling all those things you would think she is feeling... that she's way too old, that it's going to hurt her daughter, her family, her business, that she'd be ridiculed by friends and the media. But Hayes is so much more mature than that number 20 in his passport might let you think at first. He's so sweet and kind and sincere and British - let's not forget the sexiest things about him: his posh, sexy, British accent! And his young, mega-hot body!! No wonder she couldn't resist, but the longer it goes on, the harder it gets ... this wasn't supposed to last. This was supposed to only be ... lunch. ☺

We hope all through the book that there will be a happily ever after, but of course we're also not really sure if Solène and Hayes ending up together would be that HEA for everyone involved. But we sure hope so. But we know what happened with Demi & Ashton! ☺☺☺

The story has all the amazingness of a rock star romance, but we also have so much more in there. Life as a divorced mom. A business owner. A woman in the Los Angeles business world. The whole fantasy part of it: that this would never in a million years happen to us. But we can still hope that it could ... Thank you for that Robinne! (Not that I plan on seducing a boy half my age any time soon! For my tastes he could've been a bit older ;) or just make me a bit younger!)
There's sooo much in here; if this was a movie you wouldn't know where to look first! I also realllly want this to become a movie one day!!!

Robinne managed to write an amazingly beautiful story! And so perfectly written too! And it's her first!!! Jeez - I'm almost afraid to see what will come out of Ms. Lee's typewriter next!!!☺☺☺

THE IDEA OF YOU was such a beautiful lovestory. About finding yourself again - starting the next chapter of your life - hard decisions - beautiful places and people. Amazing book. Run to your nearest amazon for your own Hayes, because this on is MINE!!!

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P.S. I will put a few thoughts into a Spoiler thingy - my thoughts about the end - Happy or not? And about a few other little things! Please don't read it if you don't want to be spoiled![ The end. Yeah. We do not get a happily ever after for Hayes and Solèlen. Nope. I cried sooo hard while reading - especially the end! I so wanted them to work out. I think the message about the book was that you should not be sexist, racist nor ageist. But then Robinne goes and sends Hayes off into the world to live the life of a young guy. Which I totally understand, but I sooo wanted it to be different. With a little baby Hayes and a wedding and Hayes driving his step-daughter to school. But I can still keep on hoping that Robinne will write another book for them! An epilogue novella! I also think that the book could've been made into a 2-book thing. There was so much in here that was only touched briefly, and with two books this could've been a huge thing. Maybe even three books!! And maybe we could've made Hayes 23 and Solène 34 and bam - not as bad anymore! Yes, I will keep on dreaming that there will be such a trilogy one day.
Another tiny little thing that bothered me a bit. Those 'serious' parts that were talked about a lot - about how woman stop being seen once they're over 40 and all the artists of color stuff in the gallery. I know that it's a huge thing, especially in America, but it was a tiny little bit too preachy for such an amazing romance. But that's the only thing I didn't love-love. Oh, yeah - and the end! ☺ But I still loooooved the book. I totally understand the end. Solène didn't want to keep on hurting her daughter and she didn't want to burden Hayes with an old wife. (hide spoiler)]

P.P.S. Yes, I have to admit that I imagined Harry Styles while reading. Only without those weird tattoos. I was never a fan of him and his boyband years, but he's definitely making up for it now with his new amazing song, so it felt totally okay for me to see Harry in Hayes! It's also totally okay for a 39-year-old blogger to fantasize!☺☺☺

P.P.P.S. Did you know that fictional Hayes and Solène have their own real-life twitters??? Check it out - they're posting real Hayes and Solène-y things! I LOVE IT!
HAYES' TWITTER
SOLÈNE'S TWITTER
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"Hello August Moon" are the first three words of my favorite Michael Jackson song, but they mean so much more now.

OK, so here I am. It's 6 in the morning and I just finished reading The Idea of You. I'm sobbing and my heart feels so heavy.

First of all, Mrs. Robinne Lee sure does have a way with words. Her writing style pulled me in and it felt like I was there. At every concert and in every hotel room during every conversation. Solene and Hayes made me laugh and cry, they made me angry and happy. I was on edge one minute, excited or nervous about what might happen next. At one point my mother approached me in the living room sometime last week and asked why I was gripping the side of the couch so hard. I told her I was reading, but she still looked confused. The next minute, I was relaxed. Smiling to myself or laughing out loud at something one of the characters had said. 

I have to admit that it took a bit longer than usual for me to finish this book, but only because I looked forward to reading a bit more of it each day. I knew that after the stress of finishing up a 4-8 page essay for school, that I had The Idea of You to look forward to. I never wanted it to end, and now that it’s over, I don’t know how to feel.

Please, read this story so you can experience all of the same emotions that I have. I love the characters in this story just like I love my own mother, and no, I'm not exaggerating. These characters are in my heart now, and they’re going to be there forever. A really good story always sticks with you.
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I absolutely loved this book! From the minute I started reading it, I couldn't put it down. 

I enjoyed the story of Solene and her journey of sexuality, love, and taking a chance. It was beautifully written. I felt like I was I was there with them, around the world, and in love and navigating their way through life. Robinne balanced the need for fantasy and reality so well. I know this would never happen but it gave enough hope to think that maybe, just maybe, it could. 

The story kept me up at night, and wondering about what would happen all day long until I could pick it up again. It was raw and real and touched my soul.
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Light, frothy fiction with a surprising amount of heart and intense love scenes that linger long after you've finished reading. It's an enjoyable bit of women's fiction with surprising depth.
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While this book was overtly explicit in places, Soléne's tone made the book a lot of fun to read.

If you're not comfortable with a relationship with a significant age gap, then don't read this, simply put. I thought this book did a great job of exploring the double standard of age relations and for confronting why many of us have an inherent opposition to a specific type of relationship between two consenting adults.

Soléne was an intriguing character simply in the way she handles herself. On one hand, she has a really fantastic job that she's persevered at for years and has found a lot of success with, even in a challenging world, but on the other hand she seems to be constantly worrying about needing to have a man in her life and how she's too old to find a new man. I did adore her tone and realism, however. She had a lot of dry humour and deadpanning that highly amused me.

I had a lot of fun also seeing the person behind the face of a boy band. There's a moment where the band is nominated for a Grammy award that really struck me--Hayes was so genuine in that moment. He had a tendency to believe that he could buy whatever he wanted, also, and in a way he grew up through this book.

I adored the emotions of first love, of motherhood, and of being thirteen, which were all realistically and adeptly portrayed. Isabelle was a standout character; I could see myself several years ago in her and in the way she handled the relationship. She was surprisingly mature yet very real.

Kudos for the Kehinde Wiley reference--I enjoyed the art gallery aspect of this book a lot. And that ending, wow. There was a lot of very explicit scenes which wasn't quite what I was expecting, but I was able to read through them.

Though it wasn't a complete standout, I enjoyed this book for the depth of emotion the characters felt.
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Could not put it down i loved this book a great read that had me hooked right from the start.Its well written with a great storyline.Would recommend this book can't wait to read more from this author.
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The Idea of You,  Robinne Lee

Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews

Genre:  Women's fiction,

Well, what an amazing book, and how hard it is to write a review.

Its not classed as romance, but the blurb suggests its a romantic tale and it is - and yet it isn't. 
If you want the HEA its not for you, but it is a beautifully bittersweet story that's worth reading for itself, not for the ending grab this book now. 
It's a romantic story but not a Romance novel, featuring a 39 year old polished, confident, successful lady, mother of 13 yr old Isabelle, and Hayes, 20 year old pop star sensation. 
You read that and think "no way, what will they have in common?" and that's my unrealised perceptions and bias coming in because if Hayes was 39 and Solene 20 who'd take notice?
Its accepted for men to have vastly younger girlfriends and yet for women? Nope, that's just Not On. Why though? If they're in love should age matter?
Hayes isn't like the average 20 year old, in fact all the lads in the band act older than their age. Is it their upbringing? Education? Or what they've been through to get so far with the band? 
It means though that for me the romance is believable, Solene and Hayes really do feel in love.

I enjoyed Solene's character, beautiful but not Barbie model style, she loves her daughter, gets on OK with her ex - who does have a younger girlfriend - and of course that's easily accepted.
When the ex is criticising her about Hayes I wanted to say "look at yourself first before throwing stones", but its back to that unfair divide between the sexes. 
Its like when men have lots of sexual partners they're Playboys, eternal bachelors, and no one thinks anything of it, but when it's the women they're with, they're described its shameless, sluts, tarts etc. All the derogatory comments get thrown at them, but never at men for doing exactly the same thing. And that's my rant over ;-)

What I love about stories like this is how the characters get together. 
Hayes is always open about what he wants, but Solene? She knows how it'll be seen even while she's feeling the pull of attraction to him, kids herself its just lunch, then a little more and so on, until they're deeply in the throes of passion, fallen hard for each other.
The age gap honestly doesn't seem to matter. Hayes is mature enough to know what he wants and go for it, and Solene's able to enjoy time with him, in and out of bed. 
He's intelligent, a good conversationalist, educated, interested in so many things.
I loved that Solene was successful in her own right, that she and her partner ran a flourishing art gallery. The way the art, the exhibitions, promotions and artists are talked about suggests its either a field Robinne is familiar with, or has researched very well.
Its things like that which lift a novel and make it stand out from the hundreds of thousands of similar works. A novel for the Thinking reader ;-)

The media: once their story was out, the way Solene was savaged in print and on the net, the way it over spilled into her personal and business life, all embody just what I hate about the media. 
Truth isn't important, only the sales that come with a story, the more scurrilous the better. Destroy a family, pushing someone to suicide, ending someone's career, all become unimportant casualties in the quest for sensationalism. 
I hate it - please don't buy/read those kind of stories, without readers there would be no adverts, without adverts and the income they bring there will be no life breaking untruthful or deceptive stories. 

What I hated - really, really hated - was the ending. I just didn't expect that, didn't like it, and find it hard to accept. I've mentally decided there's another book :-) giving me the ending I wanted.
As I said its not billed as Romance, but the way the story unfolds lulled me into thinking it was going to be one... 

Its an incredibly believable tale, even if like me you think "20?? what will they talk about?" Its written so cleverly that you very soon forget their ages, and get caught up in their lives. There are times it hits with a bang, when the band do something, someone says something, that reminds the reader of the gap, but those moments seem to serve as a harsh reminder of people's perception, of Solene's fear of where it will end, what the future holds. 

Stars: five, a fabulous story, and if the ending had been different its would be one I'd happily reread – but its not, and I won't! 

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers
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