Cover Image: This Bird Has Flown

This Bird Has Flown

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Member Reviews

This book was FUN. Big thanks to NetGalley and Little, Brown and Company for the ARC to read and review. This debut by Susanna Hoffs (yes, that Susanna Hoffs, the co-founder of the Bangles!!!!!!!) hits bookstores (and libraries!) on April 4.

Y'all know I love a messy leading gal and I find some of the best books are ones where the main characters are at a crossroads. The authenticity really hits here, and that to me makes for a book that I just can't put down.

Jane Start is going through it. She was recently dumped by the guy she thought was the one. She's a musician, most well-known for a cover she did years ago. She is reminded that her career is stuck when the first gig she's had in a while ends up being glorified karaoke. So when her longtime manager and Pippa offers to whisk her to London for a reset, she gleefully says yes. What she least expects is the handsome professor seated next to her on the plane.

Jane's story zigs and zags and takes us through all the ups and downs of trying to get out of a rut and rediscovering yourself. I found myself unable to contain my laughter throughout and I really struggled to put it down. There were enough surprises to keep me on my toes, and revelations that I didn't fully expect.

There were parts that felt so wild, but they worked! And again, I cannot overemphasize just how enjoyable a read this was. These characters were fantastic - and just when I thought one was gone, they popped back up. And while each had something to contribute to Jane's story, they were fully realized characters themselves. I was invested in Jane (and Pippa!) from the first pages of their wild night in Vegas.

Make sure to preorder and add this one to your library lists! A fun ride you will not want to miss!

I will post this review on goodreads, retailer sites and my bookstagram @scottonreads

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Thanks to NetGalley and Little, Brown, and Company for access to this title. I am auto-approved by this publisher. All opinions expressed are my own.

The debut novel of co-founder and performer of American pop rock band The Bangles presents a romantic comedy about an American one-hit wonder (Jane Start)and a British professor( Tom Hardy).

This is one of those titles in my reading experience that I do have "like" rather than "love" vibes towards. I dug the Jane Eyre inspiration. It was an instant-love storyline that worked. Jane and Tom have a quirky romance and I enjoyed how their storyline played out. Although I would have liked Jane to be a bit more assertive and Tom to be a little bit more truthful. However, these are just little quibbles of mine. Lastly, it was a slow-moving novel and I tended to read chapters stop and start. So yeah it stays in the 3.0 category. However, I think I would try another Susanna Hoffs's novel.

Expected Publication Date 04/04/23
Goodreads Review Published 26/03/23

#ThisBirdHasFlown #NetGalley

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A meet cute on an airplane turns into a love affair between Tom,, an Oxford professor ,and one-hit-wonder songstress, Jane. Jane may be on the cusp of something big professionally while Tom seems to be hiding something.

Lots of fun ancillary characters.

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This book was so much fun to read. We have Jane who gets her second chance at fame, her manager Pippa sends her off to London, to regroup and start writing again, she meets Tom on the flight and the rest is history. There is an automatic attraction! I like me a good Insta-love. Give me a little romance, a struggling artist, and some humor and I am sold. But the book lagged a bit and it started to become too repetitive. I wanted to enjoy it more, but it was not very memorable to me.

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I love books that revolve around the music industry, and who better to write one than someone who is an iconic singer/songwriter? While rom com novels usually aren’t my cup of tea, I enjoy them occasionally, and I was especially excited about this one because of the subject matter and the musical-artist-turned-author!

This Bird Has Flown has all the ingredients you’d expect of a music-themed-romance: a struggling singer/songwriter, a mysterious love interest, and a looming concert that could change everything. I’m not typically a fan of insta-love, but there was something endearing about this story and all the layers in it. If you’re in the mood for a cute romance where you know everything will turn out okay in the end, this one may be for you!

Thanks to Netgalley and Little, Brown and Company for the advanced readers copy!

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This romnotverycom from former Bangle Susanna Hoffs didn’t cut it for me as I really disliked the main character.

Singer-songwriter Jane Start is living off her one hit from a decade ago and after an unpleasant breakup, she heads to London for a change of scenery and maybe some inspiration. On the flight, she meets, and is instantly attracted to, Tom Hardy (not that one or that one, ho ho) and starts a whirlwind romance, but is there something he’s not telling her (yes! is the answer).

Using Jane Eyre and, it seemed to me, Rebecca as inspiration, this romance takes a long time to get anywhere. Jane almost immediately moves in with the rather blank Tom, who turns out to be an Oxford professor and hopes that her newfound happiness will get her creative juices flowing again. She meets various undeveloped/caricatured characters around Oxford and becomes immediate friends with all of them. When she gets the opportunity to sing on stage with a superstar, it looks like everything is coming up roses for her, only for Tom’s secret and something that I didn’t really understand from the past to upend everything.

What I found so annoying about Jane is her complete lack of agency and gumption. She dances to everyone else’s tune but gets crippling anxious about what she’s agreed to. Just say no or get on with it - she’s in her 30’s not a teenager! She lets her best friend/manager buy her a first class ticket to London but then almost immediately ditches her to sponge off the swoony Tom. She manages to write one song in several months despite this being the only thing she does.

On the plus side, clearly Ms Hoffs is writing from her experience of the music world so that all rings true and makes a great setting, if only Jane wasn’t such a drip about it. I also enjoyed the many evocative song references that Jane shares with Tom.

For me, a good romcom should engage me with its characters and the setting and plot are merely props for people I want to spend time with, so this just didn’t work for me but may for you.

Thanks to lIttle Brown and Netgalley for the digital review copy.

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Thank you to NetGalley, the author, Susanna Hoffs and the publisher, Little, Brown and Company for the opportunity to read and review an advanced reader's copy of this book.

This Bird Has Flown is a funny story about a part "cult-classic" and part "washed up" musician, Jane Start, who had much success with a break-out remix of a song several years earlier. Her success was followed by a debut album that wasn't received well by critics and fans. Now Jane is broke and giving it one last shot to make it again in the music industry.

This highly readable debut novel starts with Jane back living with her parents, she is suffering from writer’s block and is unable to write any new songs. After reluctantly accepting a gig to do a private performance for a bachelor party in Las Vegas, Jane is happy to accept an invitation from her longtime agent and friend, Pippa, to fly to London and spend a few weeks, trying to find herself creatively while living with Pippa.

At the last minute, Pippa is unable to make the flight to London and Jane finds herself sitting in first class next to a very attractive Oxford professor named Tom Hardy. Jane and Tom hit it off and before leaving the airport, Jane gives Tom her number. Two weeks go by and no text or phone call from Tom; just when Pippa is urging Jane to forget about Tom, he finally reaches out and they meet in Oxford for lunch, and their relationship is magical... but both are keeping secrets and Jane is a bit of a fish out of water. Although she's not really making any progress in writing new songs, Jane also receives an offer to sing her hit song at the Royal Albert Hall that could help to revive her career. Jane is sent on a bit of a spiral. You don't say no to Jonesy, but her stage fright is huge. I will end the review there so that I do not spoil anything.

This was adorable, sexy, and entertaining debut with an appealing cast of characters and an interesting look inside the music business with a funny twist.. I loved all of the characters- both Jane and Tom have great friends and colleagues, and I was surprised how invested I got in even their storylines.
I look forward to Susanna's next book, whatever it is, I am now not only a fan of her music, but now also her writing.

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Well wasn't THAT fun? I had no idea what to expect form Susanna Hoffs, a singer from an 80s band that influenced my music listening habits as a teenager, but I was very happy with the result! A steamy, fun romance with story and drive. LOVED it and hope Hoffs writes more!

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Ten years ago, pop star Jane had a massive hit—but now she's hit rock bottom. On a flight to England to regroup, she meets Oxford literature professor Tom. Will their whirlwind romance lead to lasting love—or will secrets come between them?

Wow, did I love this book! I really wasn't sure what to expect, but as a fan of Susanna Hoffs' music, I wanted to give it a try. I was prepared to be disappointed, but this novel is compelling from the start. The emotion, the character development, the pacing, the plot, the setting—it all came together for a funny, relatable, and satisfying story. Jane and Tom have immediate chemistry, and it's just plain fun to spend time with them. But the novel also has a lot of depth, with Jane's struggles with insecurity and getting her career back on track, plus Tom's baggage from his past. If you like sparkling contemporary romance with humor and heart, don't miss this one.

Thanks, NetGalley, for the ARC I received. This is my honest and voluntary review.

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A funny story about a part "cult-classic" and part "washed up" musician, Jane Start, who notoriously enjoyed success with a break-out remix of a song (written by another famous artist) several years earlier. Her success was followed by a debut album that wasn't received well by critics, and when this story begins, Jane is now broke and giving it one last shot to make a go of it in the music industry.

It's a great glimpse of the lifestyles of the former rich and famous, the music industry, and of course there is also romance. I am not a fan of love-at-first sight in books, it's always a bit too cheesy for me, but this was a unique story, and I enjoyed it, and still thinking about it weeks later. It went on a bit long with Jane's writers block and the back and forth in the relationship between Jane and Tom Hardy (no, not that Tom Hardy), but it's well worth a read, and a great first novel.

Like other readers, I picked this book because I was a fan of Susanna Hoffs and the Bangles back in the 80s/90s. I think I was kind of hoping this might be a bit auto-biographical, and I sure did a lot of googling while I was reading it, but it's not clear to me if any of the story mirrors Hoffs' real life.

Thanks to NetGalley for an advanced reading copy.

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This Bird Has Flown caught my eye because it takes inspiration from Jane Eyre and the concept of the story sounded fascinating. With the author’s unique perspective to the story as a well-known singer/songwriter just like the main character Jane Start, I felt like this was bound to be a distinctive take on Jane Eyre inspired novels.

What I truly loved about this book was how authentic this perspective felt. Jane Start comes across as a believable and warm character the reader wants to get to know. There are so many layers to her experiences in the music industry - many ups and downs - and Jane shares so much of her vulnerability from the very first chapter making it easy to empathize and understand her. The plot of the novel can sometimes wander, and the impetus of the romance between Jane and Tom sometimes moved too slowly for my tastes, but throughout, the story focused on painting Jane Start as a real, sensitive, and complicated woman. And as the novel is an homage to Jane Eyre, there is no better way to honor the original than to create a heroine as strong, magnetic, and fascinating as Jane Eyre.

And while romance is at the forefront of This Bird Has Flown - it guides Jane Start in making some pretty important decisions quickly once she has connected with Tom Hardy - I think the only drawback to the building of their relationship was in how monotonous it became. The lovely moments of their first meeting and insecurity about each others true feelings was fun, but once they made a commitment to each other, the tension stalled, and Jane and Tom’s relationship has the common flaw of lack of communication. This avoidance of talking about previous relationships seemed more of a needed plot point to stymie their relationship and not so much a believable way they would decide to develop their relationship. This aspect was not a huge issue though, as Jane Start is such a well written character and she is surrounded by interesting and entertaining characters that help move the story along.

Jane’s best friend and manager Pippa is a definite highlight. She is so warm and nurturing, while also needing Jane’s friendship to help her through her own issues, and I loved the dynamic of these two women. There’s also Jane’s friends and brother who are delightful to get to know and helped create some moments of humor and connection throughout the story.

Tom Hardy as a character did feel muted as Jane’s romantic other half. He does have a secret to keep and that means he must remain slightly mysterious, but it was difficult to really understand him as a character, other than that he is charming, English, and intelligent. All great qualities for a romantic interest and that did give the story an alluring escapist romantic quality. I love an idealistic romantic, and Tom fit the bill to a T. I just wished that the reader could dive a little deeper into his character.

As a story that takes some aspects of Jane Eyre, I did want to touch upon the reason for Jane “leaving” Tom. It’s a difficult scenario to recreate in modern versions, as Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre is unable to get a divorce and that is not usually a problem today. Susanna Hoffs creates an entirely new kind of obstacle that echoes the original novel, but feels very realistic for today and I thought that part was so well done. I felt for Jane, and understood how difficult a situation it was for her. Having a believable reason for Jane to leave Tom was very important to make the story work, and I felt that Hoffs unique take was perfect.

Overall, I really enjoyed the characters and the perspective and unique insight into the music industry that this book provided. The romance is sweet, if a little simple, but by the end I was totally invested in Jane Start’s happy ending, and if the author would consider writing continuing adventures in her life, I think that would be wonderful!

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This was a fun debut! The writing style was pretty loose and casual, which I liked. Obviously Susanna knows what it's like to be a musician, so I enjoyed that those scenes were treated pretty authentically. I hate when I read a book about a specific industry and can tell it's written by someone who has no clue.

I was a little put off by Tom's lying to Jane - both initially by omission and then by straight up lying about where Amelia was and what their interactions were. I guess in order to make it a romance, they had to move past that and get back together but for me that would be a big hell no. I was able to look past it for the purposes of enjoying the book, but it was kind of a drag.

I thought Pippa was a great friend & character. I feel like the author must have someone just like Pippa in her life, because it was too specific to be fictional! I also just love when British novels feel British and this one definitely did. I hope Susanna writes more in the future, it was great fun!

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“This Bird Has Flown” is the story of Jane Start, a former one-hit-wonder singer who is now fresh off a recent breakup. Along with her friend and manager Pippa, she navigates a second chance at performing as well as a new relationship with Oxford professor Tom Hardy (no relation to the actor or author).
This was a cute premise for a story, and I liked the relationship between Jane and Pippa most of all. However, I didn’t think that the pacing or execution of the narrative worked well for the story being told. I wish more time had been spent developing the plot about Jane’s performances & less about all of Tom’s colleagues at Oxford; there were times when I couldn’t tell what direction the book was trying to go in.

Maybe some of this confusion comes from the book being marketed as having a connection to “Jane Eyre”—although they share a first name, I struggled to see similarities between the two heroines. The biggest parallel would probably be between Tom & Mr. Rochester, as they’re both suspiciously guarded men of privilege…though I think the love story would have been more dynamic if he was less so!

This was a fun palette cleanser book, but it wouldn’t be the first on a list of recommendations in the genre. But overall, I think it would be a good one to take to the beach as a light-hearted summer read!

Thanks to @netgalley and the publisher for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review 💕

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Best known for one hit song she had ten years ago, Jane Start has never been able to recapture that success. After being dumped by her director boyfriend and struggling to make ends meet, Jane needs a fresh start. So her manager and long-time friend, Pippa, sends her to London. On the flight, she finds herself sitting next to an attractive man. The two get to talking, and she learns he is a professor at Oxford. Jane feels a strong connection, and is excited when Tom (finally) asks for her number. When he reaches out a few weeks later, she finds herself caught up in a whirlwind romance, spending most of her time in Oxford. Her relationship with Tom seems almost perfect -- except Jane can't help but suspect Tom is not being fully forthcoming about his past. She can't get too upset, though, as she is keeping her own secret from Tom -- that she has been asked to join a major rock star at his upcoming concert in London, potentially relaunching her own music career. As Jane navigates the complications of new love and new professional opportunities, she faces whether, and how, she can get over her past to find the future she wants.

This is a well-written and highly enjoyable story, full of strong, and often surprising, characters. It explores interesting themes related to ambition, relationships, and second chances.

Highly recommended!

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A romp of a rom-com with sneak-peeks backstage in the pop/rock world

If you came of age in the mid-to-late eighties, it is highly probable that at least one song by The Bangles was on your personal soundtrack. Close your eyes, and I’ll bet you can picture a snippet of the video from “Walk Like An Egyptian” when the band’s co-founder Susanna Hoffs does a flirty little side-to-side eye movement. Flash forward now a few decades, and Ms Hoffs has written a novel into which she has woven bits of her own experiences.

At 33, Jane Start is a singer/songwriter who peaked ten years ago when she covered a lesser-known song by a known-by-one-name music superstar Jonesy (think a Bowie/Prince mashup). That song and its corresponding video were hugely successful, but when she refused Jonesy’s offer to guide her career and instead went on to release an album of her own music, in her own style….it fizzled. Sexy clips from the video are still around, but there’s really nothing left of Jane’s career. Her manager-cum-best-friend Pippa remains loyal and does her best to get Jane gigs, but she is currently reduced to making an appearance at a bachelor party in Vegas and licensing The Song for a use in a European commercial for toilet tissue. Oh, and her latest boyfriend has just dumped her for a newer model, and she’s been forced to move in with her parents. After a rebound encounter with a younger Australian singer, member of a hot new brother band (Jonas Brothers meets the Hemsworths?), she finds herself on a plane headed to London to spend a few weeks at Pippa’s flat, hopefully to shed her persistent writer’s block. Instead, she meets Tom Hardy….neither the current actor nor the British novelist of the mid-to-late 19th century, but instead a professor of Romantic literature at Oxford University (for this mash-up, I’m going with equal parts Colin Firth and Hugh Grant). Even as she finds herself falling for Tom, Jonesy himself is beckoning, wanting her to appear at his upcoming concert. Will Jane find love? Will she have the comeback she has sought for ages, and if so will it be on her terms or by capitulating to the vision of others?

With references to songs, books and movies liberally sprinkled throughout the novel (the title of the novel is from the Beatles’ song “Norwegian Wood,” but a personal favorite is a chapter with the title, “The Lion, The Bitch, and The Wardrobe), I felt a bit like I was playing a solitary game of mental Trivial Pursuit as I read. Similarly, it was hard not to take bits of knowledge about Ms Hoffs own career and try to match different characters with possible points of origin (see my mashups in the above paragraph). An aging rocker Jane has nicknamed Leopard Pants? A little Simon LeBon, a little Rod Stewart? With Prince having written the song “Manic Monday” for The Bangles (allegedly for Susanna Hoffs in particular), its hard not to see him in Jonesy. And the struggle of Jane, the artist trying to fulfill her own musical vision while others try to impose their view of how she should dress on stage and what type of music she should record, surely speaks at least in part to Ms Hoffs own career, After all, like Jane, Ms Hoffs is a petite Jewish-American singer/songwriter who loves her guitar and has no desire to be known as just another Pop Tart. The characters in This Bird Has Flown are endearing, and the story is entertaining. For me, the book’s charm was in the verisimilitude that Ms Hoffs was able to bring to the world of celebrity and fame, along with the afore-mentioned game of who-could-that-be. It is a light-hearted novel, definitely not in the mold of other recent rock novels like Daisy Jones and The SIx or movies like Almost Famous. It is much more in the Helen Fielding/Marian Keyes/Jane Green vein. If you are fan of those authors, of Susanna Hoffs and The Bangles, or just in a Name That Tune kind of mood, then you might find this an enjoyable read. My thanks to NetGalley and Little, Brown and Company for sharing the advanced reader’s copy with me.

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I started this one with high hopes. I loved the blurb and the plot line. However, I just couldn’t buy into it. For one, I’m not a fan of insta-love. I couldn’t connect with any of the characters and the relationship between Jane and Tom didn’t make any sense to me. I didn’t find it funny and found no point in many scenes.

This one just wasn’t for me. Thanks so much to Netgalley and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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This Bird Has Flown is the debut novel from Susanna Hoffs (singer/guitarist and founding member of the Bangles). Prior to its April 4, 2023, release date, Little Brown and Company provided an early galley for review.

I had heard awhile back an interview from Susanna where she mentioned that she was writing a novel, so I was very pleased to see this one pop up. I am a big fan of her music and was eager to see what she could do in this area. A glance at the chapter titles and the dedication made me smile. This indeed was going to be a novel for lovers of music like me.

For a first novel, it is solidly put together. The narration is clear and easy to follow. She does not get bogged down in exposition, allowing the background story elements to flow naturally from the action. I appreciated that the story did not always go down the easy and predictable routes. This is very reflective of life itself and makes the story feel plausible and real. Her characters are accessible and serve a purpose in the overall telling of Jane's story. Susanna's ability to draw upon her own life experience further helps add to the credibility of Jane's career, especially when she is performing. As we always say in writing group, "write what you know".

I look forward to Susanna's next book, whatever it is. I hope that she finds more itches that this kind of writing scratches for her

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This is exactly the kind of salty female main character trying to do better in her 30’s story I’ve been craving. A great debut, looking forward to more from Hoffs

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"Music. Fate. Redemption. Love.

Jane Start is thirty-three, broke, and recently single. Ten years prior, she had a hit song - written by world-famous superstar Jonesy - but Jane hasn't had a breakout since. Now she's living out of four garbage bags at her parents' house, reduced to performing to Karaoke tracks in Las Vegas. Rock bottom.

But when her longtime manager Pippa sends Jane to London to regroup, she's seated next to an intriguing stranger on the flight - the other Tom Hardy, an elegantly handsome Oxford professor of literature. Jane is instantly smitten by Tom, and soon, truly inspired. But it's not Jane's past alone that haunts her second chance at stardom, and at love. Is Tom all that he seems? And can Jane emerge from the shadow of Jonesy's earlier hit, and into the light of her own?

In turns deeply sexy, riotously funny, and utterly joyful, This Bird Has Flown explores love, passion, and the ghosts of our past, and offers a glimpse inside the music business that could only come from beloved songwriter Susanna Hoffs."

And if it gets adapted we get the real Tom Hardy right?

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This highly readable debut novel tells the story of Jane Start, a singer/songwriter who had a hit covering someone else’s song ten years ago. Never able to build on her initial success—her sophomore album of original music failed—she’s been struggling ever since to find her way. Back living with her parents, Jane has writer’s block and is unable to write any new songs. After reluctantly accepting a gig to do a private performance for a bachelor party in Las Vegas (which goes badly), Jane is happy to accept an invitation from her longtime agent and friend, Pippa, to fly to London and spend a few weeks, trying to find herself creatively while living with Pippa.

At the last minute, Pippa is unable to make the flight to London and Jane finds herself sitting in first class next to a very attractive Oxford professor named Tom Hardy. Jane and Tom hit it off and before leaving the airport, Jane gives Tom her number. Two weeks go by and no text or phone call from Tom; just when Pippa is urging Jane to forget about Tom, he finally reaches out and they meet in Oxford for lunch. Things move very quickly from there and soon Jane is moving in with Tom in his flat in Oxford. Although she's not really making any progress in writing new songs, Jane also receives an offer to sing her hit song at the Royal Albert Hall that could help to revive her career.

#ThisBirdHasFlown has lots of humorous banter and some wonderful descriptions of how Jane feels when she writes a song or performs. Jane is a very sympathetic character but her desire to live in the present and leave her own recent painful breakup behind leads her to be incredibly oblivious to clues about Tom’s past relationships and their potential impact on her and Tom. It makes her seem very needy, jumping from one relationship to another, without truly understanding what she is getting into.

Nevertheless, the book is an entertaining debut with an appealing cast of characters and an interesting look inside the music business .

Thanks to #NetGalley and #LittleBrown for the ARC!

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