Cover Image: This Bird Has Flown

This Bird Has Flown

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Member Reviews

Let's start here: If I wasn't OBSESSED with The Bangles as a child, I might not have wanted to read this book. And I think that's a fair thing to say because this is a fun story if you don't take it too seriously. If you look at the book separately from the author, I could see a bit of the "what did I get myself into" vibe emerging. Jane Start is a one-hit-wonder pop star who covered another songwriter's hit. She was young and made questionable choices, but she's older now and ready to restart. Even now, Jane's life choices are impulsively misguided, but you'll wonder if she gets herself together and emerges as a better version of herself. Hoffs, as the writer, does a great job of offering setting details, and observations, and allows bits of the backstory to emerge in ways that keep you reading.

Thank you to Little, Brown and Company and NetGalley for the eARC in exchange for an honest review.

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(This review was posted on my blog on April 3, 2023)

I thought this novel was good fun. I wasn’t going to miss reading Susanna Hoffs’s debut novel. I remember her days as a rocker with the group the Bangles back in the 1980s, yay. This story — about singer, Jane Start, age 33, who scored a hit song ten years ago and is left trying to find her way musically and after a bad breakup — has plenty of charm, romance, and musical atmosphere that makes the reading go down as quickly as maple syrup. Along the way, there’s many song references and literary ones too that make it feel like cultural catnip for those with youths in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s.

As it starts out, Jane is a washed-up singer, having once had the one-hit wonder back in the day, but now is left to sing at a bachelor’s party in Vegas to earn money, when her manager offers Jane her place in London to stay and try to work on some new songs. Along the way, Jane meets an Oxford professor, Tom, who gives her heart a whirl and she gets back on the musical radar when an iconic star asks her to play the old hit song onstage with him for an upcoming concert at the Royal Albert Hall. She must contend with her inner stage fright demons as well as hidden baggage about Tom that she finds out about long after she moves in with him. Will she fall apart onstage and hit the skids in her love life offstage? You will have to check it out to see.

It’s an entertaining story that blends romance with musical creativity and ambitions. There’s also various side characters that keep it lively from Pippa Jane’s manager to a heartthrob pop singer named Alfie. I’m sure parts of it and a couple characters might seem familiar or cliched, but there was enough for me with its turns and heart that kept the story appealing. It slightly reminded me of the movie Notting Hill with its U.K. relationship … mashed up in a blender with a bit of the musical angst of Daisy Jones but with the undertone fun of Tom Perrotta’s The Wishbones. Kudos to Hoffs for adding an entertaining one to the musical genre mix. I always love these rock-‘n-roll stories, and apparently Hoffs recently discovered she loved writing them, which she talks about in the Acknowledgments

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher Little Brown for giving me an advance copy to read and review. This novel comes out Tuesday April 4.

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I am a child of the 80s, so when I saw the opportunity to read Susanna Hoffs’ first novel, I walked like an Egyptian right over. Jane Smart had 1 hit, and it wasn’t even her song. Years later, she enjoys another moment of fame while rebounding from a breakup. Will she be able to put the pieces of both her love life and career back together simultaneously? I enjoyed this behind the scenes look at the rock & roll lifestyle but the story kind of fizzled a bit for me, slightly missing the mark. Thank you #Netgalley for the opportunity to read this in exchange for my honest review.

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I want to preface my review by saying that the writing of the book is good. I liked the way it was written, I liked the way it was set up with songs as chapter titles, etc.

However, I did not understand the point of this book until way too far into the book. When I was around 65% through I found myself wondering “is this a romcom? is this a thriller? is this a lit fic about a woman about to turn 40 who doesn’t like the way her life is?” and I really could not answer that question until much later in the book. I liked Jane enough but I was 85% through the book and there was no character development and so it was far too late for me to believe any character development that was going to happen in the last 15%. I also found it a major red flag and just something so unrealistic about her and Tom moving in together so quickly; and the fact that none of her friends or family had a problem with it.

I don’t know. the love of music was clear in this book but other than that, i’m not sure this book knew what it wanted to be. or if it did know, then maybe it didn’t know how to be what it wanted to be. Again, the writing was done VERY well. It was a quick read, I just didn’t find myself rooting for anyone in the book, I didn’t understand why they were doing what they were, and the ending seems a little too pretty. I don’t know. maybe it just wasn’t for me.

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Jane was a music star - albeit a one hit wonder, and that a cover of someone else’s song - now she’s down to random gigs as private party entertainment and seriously contemplating a toilet paper commercial. She hasn’t given up, but she’s sunk far and trying to climb her way back up.

With job prospects where they are, and newly single thanks to cheating ex who’s already getting married, there’s no reason for her not to travel to stay with manager and friend Pippa and take time to figure out her next steps.

On the flight over she’s seated next to Tom Hardy - no, not that one, he’s an English Lit professor. They continue to meet up after, and so starts A Fling.

At the same, there’s a ray of hope for her career as Jonesy - the one who’s singer cover was her hit - has invited her to share the stage for a big show. It’s an even bigger deal than venues from when she was at the height of her fame. Intimidating, but could be a huge opportunity.

In the space of weeks she’s got a new man she basically lives with (but should probably know more about), she’s all over the tabloids for the coming show, interviewers are calling for her time, hosting job as been tossed around, and - maybe most importantly - she’s actually feeling like a musician again.
Of course, what goes up must come down again and not all publicity is good publicity…

I wanted to like this one more than I did, but I can’t put my finger on why it didn’t hit for me.
I love a comeback plot, and all the points reminding her why she loved music and singing were great. There was plenty of drama.
But even though the relationship moved fast, timeline wise, it still somehow felt slow (and choppy?) to me for reading. I suspect this is a ‘me problem’ not a writing issue though, so I still went with 3 stars.

Thanks to NetGalley and Little Brown and Company for the arc

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I'm a big fan of books involving music and musicians. And the fact that this was written by a members from the Bangles instantly intrigued me. While I was a big fan of Jane, and absolutely loathed Tom. I actually wishing that while much younger than her, the romance would of happened between Alfie instead. This was a quick read but not my favorite.

3.5 stars I will be rounding up on goodreads.

Thanks to netgalley and the publishers to a copy of this book in exchange for a honest review.

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Seeing that this was written by the lead singer of the Bangles caught my attention, and I’m so glad it did!! It turned out to be a heartfelt story, where a love for music shines.

Summary: Jane Start is a singer best known for a decade-old one-hit-wonder, now scraping by with private performances in Las Vegas … until a fateful flight to London that seats her next to Tom Hardy, Oxford professor of the Romantics.

My Thoughts: I truly enjoyed Jane’s journey in this book! While it did feel slow at times, all the music references and the sweet romance kept me trucking along. I also liked the Oxford setting, lovable side characters, and how it serves as a quirky love letter to the classic, Jane Eyre.

The writing felt very cinematic, and it made total sense when I noticed the author’s note mentioned this has been optioned for a movie. I can totally envision this being a great romcom on-screen, and I’ll be excited to watch it in the future!

3.5 stars, rounded to 4. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for this advance copy. This is my honest review.

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This one was a DNF for me unfortunately. It felt like it turned into an insta- love romance trope and I just wasn’t into that at all. Felt like no relationship development between the Jane and Tom. Lust only.

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I received this eARC from NetGalley and the publisher in return for an honest review.

I was curious about this book because of the author–The Bangles band member–and the title drawn from the Beatles song “Norwegian Wood.”

The writing is quick paced and first person: settle in to experience Jane Start’s life through her quirky perspective. Lots of observation and pop culture references, but the story doesn’t get bogged down in the details because there’s a rhythm, it has pop and verve, energy. Jane doesn’t take herself too seriously but is fun and funny, is rife with self doubt and kind to others. I was invested in Jane more so than the romance: I just wanted her to figure out what would make her happy and reach for it. I would read more about Jane’s life, friends, family and world.

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I admit, I was a Bangles fan, so anything by Susanna Hoff would grab my attention. THIS BIRD HAS FLOWN offers a one-hit wonder of a female singer-protagonist, bumbling her way through relationships, musical aspirations, love at first sight and alcohol. Early reviews likened it to a BRIDGET JONES type tale but with a music industry atmosphere. I never grew to like our protagonist, she grated on my nerves. I didn’t find myself enjoying any of the characters, actually. And therein lies my difficulties with the book. My mind kept wandering and I had trouble sticking with the text. This is a first book by Hoffs and I hope she continues to write. I received my copy from the publisher through NetGally.

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Write what you know, right? Susanna Hoffs, beloved singer of the Bangles, has penned a fun, romantic comedy and it's highly entertaining and a complete page-turner!
Jane Start is a 33 year-old washed-up 1-hit wonder. And her hit wasn't even hers; written by Prince-like figure, Jonesy. Recently single, Jane makes plans with her manager, Pippa, to visit England for some rest and writing. She meets Tom Hardy (not the actor) on the plane and starts an epic romance. But her past haunts her and Jane has trouble getting out of her own way to regain this chance at love and stardom.
A really fun debut and an intriguing look into the music business, as only someone like Susanna Hoffs would know!

*Special thanks to NetGalley and Little, Brown & Company for this e-arc.*

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What a delight! About a third of the way in, it felt a little slow, with so much unknown, but she was building a solid foundation for the rest of the book. When things start unfolding and happening, it is just up and up. For the last half of the book, I couldn't put it down.

This is a romance, but that is only part of the story. We also have Jane as an artist, her finding her true friends, sorting out what her history means and matters, and a great cast of characters.

If you aren't a romance reader, go ahead, this is written for you, too. If you are a romance reader, you'll find some favorite tropes but a lot more.

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The co-founder of 1980s pop-rock band The Bangles makes her debut with this unabashedly Anglophile rom-com about a washed-up pop star looking for a new lease on life (and love) while on a working vacation in England. (Think: Notting Hill set to a catchy beat.) With a curated reading playlist and chapter titles named for the songs that inspired them, it’s a sexy and effervescent romance that showcases Hoffs’ deep love and knowledge of music and literature, and an engaging charmer from the songwriter of the band’s forever classic “Eternal Flame.”
Delighted to include this title in the April edition of Novel Encounters, my regular column highlighting the month’s most anticipated fiction, for the Books section of Zoomer magazine. Separately, I also had the pleasure of interviewing Hoffs about starting a new career as an author at 64 and she was a DELIGHT.

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Cleverly written, believable characters, be they the hero or the villain, and a realistic progression. Everything I want in book! 4/5.

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Thank you Little Brown and co for the review copy of The Bird Has Flown. Did I request this when I realized it was the Susanna Hoffs of my once upon a time cassette playing childhood? Yes. Will I recommend it because it is a fun, witty, charming story that has fun moments of music industry insights, romance, and relatable, engaging characters? also yes. This is just the kind of book my dismal manic Monday March needed, I was lifted up to the plane as Jane was flying and maybe just maybe meeting someone to be her eternal flame (sorry not sorry). I also personally enjoy stories that mix celebrity and everyday person and love an academic character in particular, just a lot of tropes and themes that work for me!

This is a great read, I find myself enjoying books that have a balance of a little charm, a little life messiness, a little romance steam, and some fun. I think this is a win for a lot of romance fans!

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“This Bird Has Flown" (Pub Date April 4th) by Susanna Hoffs, the lead singer of the iconic rock band, The Bangles.

Hoffs takes readers on a journey with Jane Start, a struggling musician who's trying to make a comeback in the music industry. After being sent to London by her manager to regroup, she meets Tom Hardy on the flight, but not the Hollywood actor you’re thinking of. He's an Oxford professor of literature who's just as charming and handsome. The two fall in love, and Jane finds the inspiration to make a comeback in the music industry. With her own insider knowledge of the music business, Hoffs expertly explores the complexities and challenges faced by musicians.

The story is infused with humor, passion, and excitement, making it a fun read. Hoffs' writing, just like her music, is heartfelt and authentic, so it’s easy to become invested in the characters and story. Her background as a musician adds depth and authenticity to the novel which I loved.

I’ve always been a fan of The Bangles so reading this was a no brainer. And let me tell you, I was not disappointed! She might be known for iconic hits like, “Walk Like an Egyptian” or “Manic Monday” but look out world, this book is gonna soar on the charts! I highly recommended for fans of The Bangles/Hoffs, music, romance and/or anyone looking for a fun book to read. Thank you Little Brown and Company for the advanced e-copy of this book!

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I loved this book. Susanna Hoffs has proven to be a great author as well as singer/songwriter! I could not put the book down and it filled me with so much happiness. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to read This Bird Has Flown!

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This Bird Has Flown reminded me a bit like Nick Hornby’s writing! I was reading that there are rumors it is being optioned for a movie and I can definitely see it. There is an endearing and fun meet-cute, who hasn’t had daydreams about meeting a love interest on a plane, and a relatable main character, Jane, you really root for. I also really enjoyed the glimpses into the music industry and the musical references. Some parts were a bit slow for me but by the end I was really invested in Jane. What a fun debut written by the co-founder of the bangles!

Thank you @netgalley and @littlebrown for the early copy!

3.5 stars

Grab your copy April 4th!

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“This Bird Has Flown” by Susanna Hoffs

You might remember Susanna Hoffs as the lead singer of The Bangles and her protagonist Jane Start is having a series of “Manic Mondays”. Jane Start had a one-hit wonder written by a pop-icon Jonesy (gave me Prince-type vibes) but since then her career has stalled. She is reduced to playing bachelor parties in Vegas and promising her agent/manger/best friend that she will start to write again. Her love life has also stalled when her fiance left her for a model. But is her luck changing. It might be after meeting a hot professor Tom Hardy on a fight to England and an opportunity to perform at Jonesy’s concert.

I really liked this book, especially the music parts but some of the plot-lines seemed to stall along with the Romance. This book was a quick read -the characters were witty and well rounded. I look forward to Hoff’s second novel after reading her debut. I want to thank NetGalley and Little, Brown and Company for sharing this advanced copy with me in exchange for my honest review. 3.5 Stars

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This was a really great story about a woman who has lost herself and her quest to pick up the pieces of her life following a devastating break up. Jane has been wandering through her life, with blinders firmly fixed. She wants to take control of her life, but she doesn't seem to know quite how to do that. And then, she hits the metaphorical bottom. The story that follows is engaging, if not somewhat frustrating at times, and leaves you rooting for Jane to discover who and what she really wants to be,

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