Thursday, November 18, 2010

Review: The Perfect Love Song

Summary: Jimmy Sullivan has been living on the road with his brother, Jack, and his band The Unknown Souls. Without a place to call home, Jimmy and Jack lead a nomadic life filled with music and anonymous cities. When they return to a place Jimmy never wants to see again—their old hometown of Seaboro, South Carolina—he falls in love with Charlotte Carrington. With his soul now filled with hope, Jimmy writes his first love song. When he performs it at a holiday concert to a standing ovation, the lyrics are dubbed the "Perfect Love Song," so much so that Jimmy finds himself going on tour with famous country music stars, catapulted into a world where the trappings of fame and fortune reign supreme. All too soon, the hope that had once inspired Jimmy to write such beautiful, genuine lyrics is overshadowed by what the song can do for him and his career. In his thirst for recognition, he agrees to miss Jack’s wedding in Ireland to sing at a Christmas Eve concert. And his ties to Charlotte seem to be ever so quickly slipping away. Is it too late to find his way to Ireland, to his brother, and to love? -- Vanguard

I'm having so much fun reading Christmas books this year. One that I really enjoyed was THE PERFECT LOVE SONG by Patti Callahan Henry. I have to admit that I've never read a book by Ms. Henry before because I'm not a big romance fan, but I do seem to be drawn to almost any holiday-themed novel! For some reason, I like the warm fuzzies that these books give me during this very-hectic time of the year. Plus, it's a very quick read since it comes in under 200 pages (it's actually more of a novella.) And an added bonus -- this book counted for Kathy/Bermudaonion's Okra Picks Challenge.

THE PERFECT LOVE SONG is actually a story about characters that appeared in another one of Ms. Henry's books WHEN LIGHT BREAKS. I guess Jimmy and Charlotte still had a story to tell! This novel definitely works as a stand-alone because the author does a great job of catching up the reader, but I did find myself wanting to read WHEN LIGHT BREAKS. There were just enough hints about the book and references to some delightful characters that made me want lo learn more.

What I enjoyed so much about THE PERFECT LOVE SONG is that it was a great escape read. The story was sweet as were the characters, and I loved all of the important messages about life and love. While I often times find stories like this one to be too predictable, I didn't find myself rolling my eyes over the characters' actions despite kind of knowing where the story was going to go. I think because I liked all of the main characters in this novel, I just enjoyed reading about them and sharing their experiences. I did like that the characters weren't flat, and I especially appreciated the complexity of Jimmy's character and his maturation throughout the story.

Call me a sucker for a heartwarming story, but THE PERFECT LOVE SONG just made me feel good. I enjoyed that this book was about the strength of love and marriage, but I also really liked that it showed the value of forgiveness, redemption and second chances. I also appreciated that this book made me think a little bit about what I find important in my life. One of the major messages of this book was the worth in realizing what will make you happy. Often times, it's not what we think -- as was the case with Jimmy!

THE PERFECT LOVE SONG would be a fantastic book club pick for the month of December. Not only is the story a sweet one with lots of opportunity for discussion, but it's a short book -- I know my group tries to pick an "easier" read during the holidays. In addition, Ms. Henry has included a recipe for Emerald Isle Shortbread so you could make tie-in your dessert with the story. There is a reading guide included in the back of my book; however, I couldn't find the questions on the publisher or author websites. Some of the topics you might want to discuss include friendship, love, marriage, parent/child relationships, priorities, forgiveness, acceptance, and second chances. I think you'll agree that the themes are perfect ones to think about during this time of the year.

Ms. Henry has a very fun contest going on right now which ties in perfectly with THE PERFECT LOVE SONG. You can test out your skills as a songwriter by finishing Jimmy's love song:

“I cannot find or define the moment you entered my heart. 
When you entered and turned a light on in the deepest part…”

American country music songwriter Dallas Davidson will be judging the entries to find "The Perfect Love Song," and the winner receives $250 American Express Gift Card! Good luck!

If you are looking for a sweet story that will warm your heart this holiday season, then I recommend checking out THE PERFECT LOVE SONG.

Thanks to Wunderkind PR for providing me with a review copy of this book.


Amy said...

I'm so glad to hear you enjoyed this! We interviewed Patti for the Underground Lit Society and she is really awesome. I can't wait to read the book!

bermudaonion said...

I generally don't like predictable books that much, except this time of year. I guess I need books that don't make me think too much around the holidays. After your review, I'm looking forward to reading this book.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

You always read the best Christmas books! Some of the ones you read last year are still among my favorites!

Anonymous said...

This sounds like a perfect Christmas read. I'm going to add it to my Christmas reading list today.

Rebecca Rasmussen said...

For some reason, I have really caught the Christmas bug this year...and I kind of want to read something I wouldn't normally pick up. Thank you for the suggestion--I think I'll go for it!

Natalie~Coffee and a Book Chick said...

It's always good to have a nice light read, and the holidays are sometimes the best time for it.

Veens said...

I have only read one book by the author, and I loved it. It was a predictable read but it was very nice. Breezy, light read called Between the Tides. I loved most was the fact that it had a quote at the starting of each chapter. It was great.

SO I am hoping I can get this one. It sounds so good/