Pop star Leontyne Blake might sing about love, but she stopped believing in it a long time ago. What women want is her image, not the real her. When her father has a stroke, she flees the spotlight and returns to her tiny Missouri town.
In her childhood home, she meets small-town nurse Holly Drummond, who isn’t impressed by Leo’s fame at all. That isn’t the only thing that makes Holly different from other women. She’s also asexual. For her, dating is a minefield of expectations that she has decided to avoid.
Can the tentative friendship between a burned-out pop star and a woman not interested in sex develop into something more despite their diverse expectations?
A lesbian romance about seeking the perfect rhythm between two very different people- and finding happiness where they least expect it.
Pardon me, as I wake myself up from literary slumber, dust off the cobwebs, and write this review. It’s going to take me a bit to get back into the swing of things, but what better way to do it than reviewing the latest novel by author Jae?
Here we go!
So usually, I spend a very minimal amount of time skimming through the summary on the book jacket before diving in. When I read on the description of Perfect Rhythm that one of the main characters was asexual, I didn’t think that the author was being literal. I don’t recall ever reading a story with an asexual character, main or supporting cast. But let me tell you… This novel sure does feature one. We’ll get a bit into that a little later in this review.
A characteristic of Jae’s writing that I really enjoy is that her narrative is like candy for the sensory. How Jae describes pictures, music, passion, and energy with her words is a downright devilish treat for the senses. The imagery that Jae uses is vivid, and it’s just the right amount to lead you on the path of your own imagination to experience the story in front of you. The description of Leo’s hometown and its contrast to the urban jungle of New York where she currently resides is charming and quaint. It almost feels like it’s straight out of a children’s storybook. Particularly, this one for me:
*Anyone else (old school like me) remember The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton?*
Leontyne Blake (aka Leo, aka Jenna Blake, aka Pop Star Panty-Dropper) follows her dreams to New York and finds fame and fortune. She leaves Missouri far behind her, until she’s brought back home after her father has a second stroke. Leo has become hardened, burnt-out, and jaded through her life experiences in the big city, and fights to keep a distance with people for fear of being hurt and taken advantage of. Sort of like Holly Drummond, who’s been burned by the women she’s dated in her past, so she keeps everyone at friends-only-reach. Leo and Holly live in two completely different worlds. On the surface, their wants and needs don’t seem very compatible. One of the biggest obstacles in their relationship: how do they bridge the gap between sexual and asexual?
Leo and Holly’s relationship is only one part of the story. Running parallel is Leo’s estranged relationship with her father. Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree: Leo’s inherited the gift of musicianship from her father, who was a renowned violinist and piano-teacher. Her father has a disdain for pop music and doesn’t accept the path that Leo has chosen with her life. How do they heal from the wounds of the past? How do they come to an understanding? How does Leo and her father bridge the gap between classically-trained musician and pop-star?
Jae does a fantastic job at bridging the gaps, in a way that doesn’t compromise who the characters are as people or the things that make them happy as individuals. The care and the respect in which the author wrote the story, its characters, and of the topic of asexuality, which is often misunderstood and misrepresented, is beautifully done. I think the quote that best describes Perfect Rhythm is this one: “As far as she was concerned, love was love, no matter what type of love it was.” The expressions of love and the diversity of people who love are limitless, just as there are endless ways of playing music. There is no love or expression that is any more or less meaningful than another. And just as there is great concertos and etudes, there are great pop songs and rock melodies.
Send a love note. Hug someone.
Sing “Love Is All You Need” off-key. Strum a guitar.
Pick up a book…. especially, this one. Perfect Rhythm is not one to be missed!
1. Aretha Franklin – (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman
2. Vitamin String Quartet – New Soul
3. Jess Glynne – Hold My Hand
4. Etta James – Something’s Got A Hold On Me
5. Paloma Faith – Only Love Can Hurt Like This
6. Lily Allen – Somewhere Only We Know
7. Rebecca Ferguson – Nothing’s Real But Love
8. Ellie Goulding – Love Me Like You Do
9. Adele – Make You Feel My Love
10. Amy Winehouse – (There Is) No Greater Love
11. Ella Fitzgerald – Cheek To Cheek
12. Vitamin String Quartet – Can’t Stop The Feeling!
This book would be best served with….
HANGAR 24 ORANGE WHEAT