Rating: 3.75 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Length: Novel

 

Ever since losing his father, Jonas’ life feels like it’s done nothing but fall apart. His piano, his father’s beloved Steinway, needs expensive repairs to the soundboard and he just doesn’t have the money. His ex-boyfriend (who was also his conductor) cheated on him, then broke up with him on the night of a performance, which caused Jonas to do so poorly that he ran away from the reviews, the orchestra, and Rodrigo, who then used that as an excuse to have him fired. And now Jonas is being given a chance to save his piano, but only if he signs a deal with the devil.

Jonas wants to host a contest. He will offer a year’s free piano training to a student, and use the money from the contest to repair the piano. Rodrigo, his cheating and vengeful ex, and the orchestra that threw Jonas on his ass, want in. They’ll pay to repair and ship the piano, and in exchange, Jonas will train a student from their short list to play at the amateur competition hosted in Salzburg, Austria. It’s too good a deal to pass up.

But when the child Jonas agreed to train decides she doesn’t want to play the piano anymore, Jonas is left with a most unlikely student: A garage mechanic who learned to play the piano in a honky tonk bar and who has no interest in Beethoven or Mozart. It’s either that or forfeit his piano and let Rodrigo win. Fuck that. Jonas will find a way, somehow, to convince Orlando to fall in love with classical music while trying not to fall in love with his student at the same time.

Melody of the Heart is a fluffy, friendly, fanciful standalone romance that has almost zero angst, lots of love, and a happily ever after. There are charming children, caring teachers, and a small town rallying around in support. It’s pure sugar and, if that’s what you’re looking for, this book should easily push all the buttons.

Jonas is from a prestigious background and dropped from New York City to a small town in Virginia. Instead of his expensive apartment, he’s living over a garage. Instead of his careful diet, he’s eating cafe food or being invited to family dinners with Orlando’s friends. He’s used to a refined lifestyle, but what Jonas has always wanted is to share his love of music. With new students who want to play the piano — as opposed to students who take piano because their parents want them to — and the pleasant flirtation between him and Orlando, Jonas finds himself actually looking forward to each day. He’s willing to open his arms and embrace the community, which makes everyone there willing to embrace him back. Jonas never looks down on them, never judges them, and they treat him the same in return.

Orlando loves music, but not that snooty classical stuff. Until he sees it through Jonas’s eyes. Until he hears it played by someone who understands it and loves it, and wants only to share that love. For Orlando, being gay has always left him a little on the outside, but Jonas wants to welcome him into his world. And Orlando finds himself walking right on after Jonas. Together, they find a harmony of thought, of friendship and understanding. Both have crappy ex’s, both have family troubles, and both of them are just a little lonely and a lot romantic, and finding each other is the best thing that could have happened to them.

One thing I very much enjoyed in this book is the fact that when Jonas says he needs to be alone — to bond with his piano, to get a grip on his emotions — Orlando accepts those boundaries. He both lets Jonas know he’s loved, that he’ll be nearby in case he’s needed, and then gives Jonas the time and space he needs, much as Jonas doesn’t push his own musical taste on Orlando. While Jonas wants him to learn to play and appreciate classical music, he also does his best to find songs that Orlando will enjoy playing, will honestly learn from, and the way the two of them share their own favorites with each other shows how much they have in common. Orlando and Jonas lift each other up, they each want to see their lover happy and successful, and it’s just, overall, a really sweet little romance.

This is a perfect summer read. No stress, a little zest, and a cute couple to spend time with.

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