Review: Musical Chairs by Amy Poeppel

52753733Bridget and Will have the kind of relationship that people envy: they’re loving, compatible, and completely devoted to each other. The fact that they’re strictly friends seems to get lost on nearly everyone; after all, they’re as good as married in (almost) every way. For three decades, they’ve nurtured their baby, the Forsyth Trio—a chamber group they created as students with their Juilliard classmate Gavin Glantz. In the intervening years, Gavin has gone on to become one of the classical music world’s reigning stars, while Bridget and Will have learned to embrace the warm reviews and smaller venues that accompany modest success.

Bridget has been dreaming of spending the summer at her well-worn Connecticut country home with her boyfriend Sterling. But her plans are upended when Sterling, dutifully following his ex-wife’s advice, breaks up with her over email and her twin twenty-somethings arrive unannounced, filling her empty nest with their big dogs, dirty laundry, and respective crises.

Bridget has problems of her own: her elderly father announces he’s getting married, and the Forsyth Trio is once again missing its violinist. She concocts a plan to host her dad’s wedding on her ramshackle property, while putting the Forsyth Trio back into the spotlight. But to catch the attention of the music world, she and Will place their bets on luring back Gavin, whom they’ve both avoided ever since their stormy parting.

Review. Text on the string. Conceptual 3d image

Source: NetGalley and Atria/Emily Bestler Books          Rating: 5 stars

“What kind of life path does one have to be on to end up with a flock of sheep you didn’t ask for?”

Bridget has given her life to her music and her group, the Forsyth Trio.  Being the daughter of a world-renowned conductor has always been a bit a pressure, but her skills are excellent and her drive to work and be better has never been questioned.  By her side from the very beginning is her best friend, Will, a man who is perfectly content with his life and doesn’t anticipate any changes in the near future.  Will and Bridget are both perfectly content with the way things have always been and see no reason for things to change.

Oh, how Fate and the Universe like to laugh at such complacency. . . .

As she does every summer, Bridget packs her bags and looks to spend her time off in her Connecticut summer home.  The house is ramshackle, at best, and falling apart at worst, but she loves her home and it will be made all the better once her boyfriend arrives.  Unfortunately, Bridget’s boyfriend not only fails to show, but he breaks up with her just as her two grown children, both running from their own lives arrive to lick their wounds.  WTH??  As if all this unexpected company and heartbreak weren’t enough, Bridget’s elderly father is up to something and it may turn the entire family on their respective heads.

Neither Bridget nor Will were looking for change but it seems to be coming for both.  Confirmed bachelor Will comes to town to support Bridget and meets a woman who throws him for a loop.  Bridget is completely thrown off by the presence and pain of her twins, her loss of her boyfriend, and her father’s shenanigans.  To occupy herself and keep from worrying about all the little fires cropping up around her, Bridget decides to finally start working on sprucing up her summer home.  With contractors afoot, sheep mowing the lawn, and people coming and going at all times of the day and night, Bridget isn’t sure she’s ready for so much change.  At least she has the security of the Forsyth Trio and their upcoming fall tour dates.

Unfortunately, Bridget doesn’t have the Forsyth Trio and when she discovers this harsh truth, she about loses her mind and her friendship with Will.  Rather than completely melting down, Bridget begins to look to the future in a way she never has before.  When she unloads her thoughts and feelings on Will, it alters his life as well and in ways he never could have imagined.  As she is dealing with her own issues, Bridget does her best to support her twins, their life choices, and her father and his life choices.  It’s a wild summer and certainly nothing like Bridget expected but in the end, it is exactly what she needed.

The Bottom Line:  Amy Poeppel has a wonderfully weird sense of humor that really speaks to my own weirdness.  Musical Chairs really is a wonderful story that focuses on the changes no one ever expects to come to their lives.  Nearly every character in this heartwarming and funny read has a huge life-altering summer that none saw coming.  I liked the great sense of support that permeates this read from one moment to the next.  Though everyone is thrown for a loop, they are still there for one another and willing to help in any way imaginable.  This is a story of kindness, calamity, friendship, love, support, and change; it is a story that has loads of feels and I found myself absolutely enamored with every aspect of this book.

Coming July 21, 2020: Goodreads| Amazon| B&N | Kobo| Hardcover| Audible

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