Readers, I know I haven’t done a book review in a long time but this one? Oh, honey…
Actress Robinne Lee (Fifty Shades Darker, Hitch, Hav Plenty – one of the most underrated romcoms EVER!) is having a literary moment. Her debut novel, The Idea Of You, tells the story of a thirtysomething divorcee who falls for a twenty-year-old boy bander. When I picked it up, I thought to myself…Sure, Robinne Lee’s been in some great love stories, but can she tell one?
Let me assure you: YES. SHE. CAN. Check the synopsis below…
The Idea Of You – SYNOPSIS:
Solène Marchand, the thirty-nine-year-old owner of an art gallery in Los Angeles, is reluctant to take her daughter, Isabelle, to meet her favorite boy band. But since her divorce, she’s more eager than ever to be close to Isabelle. The last thing Solène expects is to make a connection with one of the members of the world-famous August Moon. But Hayes Campbell is clever, winning, confident, and posh, and the attraction is immediate. That he is all of twenty years old further complicates things.
What begins as a series of clandestine trysts quickly evolves into a passionate and genuine relationship. It is a journey that spans continents as Solène and Hayes navigate each other’s worlds: from stadium tours to international art fairs to secluded hideaways in Paris and Miami. For Solène, it is a reclaiming of self, as well as a rediscovery of happiness and love. When Solène and Hayes’ romance becomes a viral sensation, and both she and her daughter become the target of rabid fans and an insatiable media, Solène must face how her romantic life has impacted the lives of those she cares about most.
My Review (5/5 Stars):
I adore myself some older woman/younger man romances. Devour them, recommend them, and write them.
The one aspect that comes to mind when I think of The Idea Of You is French cinema. The author takes her time just like a film of the genre – a slow and gradual build from the moment Solène and Hayes meet backstage at the latter’s Vegas concert. From there, Lee takes the couple on a whirlwind romance that spans the globe. You feel the pressure as love overcomes them both during the August Moon (Hayes’ group) tour. It’s almost too delicious: a young, virile man experiencing fame and falling in love with a sophisticated woman who knows better.
Lee never lets the readers forget that, no matter how whimsical and sensual the affair becomes, Solène knows better. She, at 39, understands what this is. She knows that loving a man as inexperienced and aloof as the charming Hayes will be challenging. One of the parts of the novel that made me give Solène a side eye was when she had the pleasure of meeting three different women who had once known her pop star boyfriend biblically – all in a span of 24 hours!
But ’tis the life of a world-famous boybander, Solène comes to find out – and find out, she does. Lee does a superb job of exposing the reader to the underbelly of fandom: the online threats, Solène’s teenage daughter’s humiliation, disturbing fan mail sent to her home (!). The narrative steps into a dark place and it makes you fear not only for the future of the couple’s relationship, but the safety of our heroine.
With an ending that gives you a bittersweet warmth of love, passion, and pain, The Idea Of You is more than a sexy tale of celebrity romance. It’s a sexual revolution’s retrospective, a look at how women of a certain age are treated and how their sensuality is viewed. I left this novel thinking about my own characters and their May/December romance. It made me think about how difficult it is to live in what’s perceived as the easy, breezy life of a twentysomething pop star.
What’s more, it made me long for another passionate read. Robinne Lee delivers something so decadent in this novel. It calls out ageist stereotypes and breaks down taboo. It’s sensual, hilarious, and painful – just like (not-so) young love. (Buy on Amazon – Add to GoodReads)