Book Review – Musical Chairs by Amy Poeppel

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Most common party game for children – musical chairs. Music on -you go round and round to sit on a chair whenever the music stops. You do not choose but to survive you sit on whichever chair you get. A survival game of moving in and out constantly, giving your place to others to keep the game going on.

Amy Poeppel ( writes a beautiful emotional story of family, friendship, motherhood, and finding a path. This is my very first book of hers and I cannot say enough thanks to Netgalley and Atria/Emily Bestler books for sending me an ARC copy in exchange for an honest review.

Excerpt of Synopsis from Goodreads:

Bridget 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.

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There are so many characters in this book and considering the book size, the writer pulls out almost everybody’s individual tale of passion, messing up, emotions so perfectly. Bridget and Will are the main focus and reading about their friendship is a delight for all the readers I must say. Over the years, they have become each other’s confidence still they do not come in each other’s way. When a friend becomes family, a beautiful story emerges and the same happens in this book. In spite of social differences, their friendship blooms like flowers in spring. Extra point goes to Amy for not turning this relation to anything other than friendship, for not bringing the clichés in our life.

This book is a beautifully depicted modern family life story which I already can see streaming on any digital service with a brilliant cast. I would give my money to see it on the big screen even. The way Amy portrays the relations is so practical and heartwarming also very much alive. The dilemmas, the anxiety, the jealousy – all come in this novel are written with such care which gives the picture a realistic touch.  

There are characters the writer has touched and let go but still, they have so much to tell. Merge is one of them. The nanny and housekeeper was the person who is very observant, works very silently, knows everything about everything in the house, and throws you in a clear space with ugly truth when you ask her something. There are beautiful and adorable animals that you want to hug and want them in your house. The dog named Henry makes the book fudgy enough to read it way past my bedtime.

The subtle touch of humor in the writing works great for me. It keeps the story sharp and real. I laugh reading some situations, some character’s thinking process but the humor was just perfect there. It’s like very delicious tea. Not too milky, not too sweet – delivered with the right consistency and the right amount of liquor.

There are so many chances to explore the space of the relations and those are undoubtedly what keeps me going. It is a book that I do not want to finish early. I want to savor every chapter with warm delights.

This well developed, warm plotted book will be released in late July. A warm book in warm time indeed. 

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