☆☆➹⁀☆ stars ☆➹⁀☆☆
About the Book:
Classical cellist Bridget is preparing her country home for two months of romance with the man she hopes to marry when he emails to cancel not only the vacation, but the relationship entirely. Shortly thereafter, her adult children arrive unannounced, with their literal and emotional baggage. Her summer is suddenly much messier than she anticipated.
Her once-empty nest is not only full, but also falling apart. As she begrudgingly repairs her heart and her home, her tenuous foundation cracks further: her father, a famous musician now in his late 80’s, announces his engagement to a longtime friend of the family; and the violinist hired to reinvigorate her chamber trio backs out.
The Forsyth Trio, comprised of herself, her best friend Will and an always-changing third person, has informed much of Bridget’s life since Juilliard. She and Will are compatible, committed, loving, and to people’s constant shock, totally platonic. The group’s demise would distance Bridget from Will, an unnerving possibility that feels more and more imminent as they struggle to fill the open position.
Unlike the symphonies her father writes, and she plays, Bridget learns that life cannot be perfectly arranged. It’s messy and uncertain, but so incredibly full.
Wow, wow, wow! I loved this book. I will admit that I struggled through the first few (short) chapters as the characters were introduced. It felt like I was thrown into the middle of a story with all the character introductions. However, I took a calming breath, jotted down some character notes and forged onward. So apropos, since part of the theme of the book seems to be about regrouping amid chaos and moving forward.
I might have developed a bit of a girl crush on author Amy Poeppel, so forgive the gushing. I adored the myriad cast of characters in this book. I loved the fluidity of the relationships between the characters. People grow, and perceptions change. People fight hard to defend the life they have been telling everyone they love, only to ultimately find out that there are many alternative locations and lifestyles that they could equally love.
The title, Musical Chairs, is a double entre. It represents the heavy focus on music and careers in music. It also represents life’s chaos and the scrambling for a seat at life’s table like the childhood game, musical chairs.
The story is nicely layered with musical references and philosophical quotes. I deeply empathized with Bridget’s, one of the main characters, life predicament of needing a quiet summer of contemplation and ending up with life changing chaos. I adored the epilogue written as one of Bridget’s father’s long-winded toasts/speeches. I so want to discuss details and add quotes from the book, but even more, I want you to read this book!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Amy Poeppel is the author of Musical Chairs, Limelight and Small Admissions, which was first performed as a reading at the Actors Studio. Amy has worked as a stage actress and teacher and now lives with her husband and three sons in New York City and Frankfurt, Germany.
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