Author ~ Jay Northcote
Publisher ~ Jaybird Press
Published ~ 15th April 2016
Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance
Imperfect harmony can still be beautiful…
John Fletcher, a former musician, is stuck in limbo after losing his long-term partner two years ago. He’s shut himself off from everything that reminds him of what he’s lost. When his neighbour persuades him to join the local community choir, John rediscovers his love of music and finds a reason to start living again.
Rhys Callington, the talented and charismatic choir leader, captures John’s attention from the first moment they meet. He appears to be the polar opposite of John: young, vibrant, and full of life. But Rhys has darkness in his own past that is holding him back from following his dreams.
Despite the nineteen-year age gap, the two men grow close and a fragile relationship blossoms. Ghosts of the past and insecurities about the future threaten their newfound happiness. If they’re going to harmonise in life and love as they do in their music, they’ll need to start following the same score.
Imperfect Harmony by Jay Northcote is a sweet and emotional tale about being brave enough to take that second chance at love. When you have experienced a devastating loss that leaves you questioning how you will go on it takes a lot of courage to emerge from a grief-ridden state and open your heart once again to possibilities. There may be a light at the end of your dark tunnel; however, sometimes you need a push in the right direction so you can once again begin to dance to the music.
His grief had long settled into a cold, grey pall that he wrapped around himself to keep the world out. He did miss making music, but he missed so much more than that.
Forty-two year old John Fletcher’s life forever changed when he lost his partner of twenty-two years. His life was filled with love and music and in the blink of an eye, John lost it all. With his partner in his life for so long how could John even fathom experiencing anything further without him by his side? He is lost, stuck in limbo where he has managed to steer clear of anything that reminds him of his former life with his deceased partner. When John’s mother passes away adding to his devastation, he returns to the small town where she was residing. Still grieving the loss of his partner and now his mother, John takes on a substitute teacher position and essentially takes one day at a time.
He was everything John wasn’t – young confident, vibrant, and full of life, and John couldn’t look away.
With a little nudge from his neighbour, John is persuaded to join a local community choir. Music was something he shared with his late partner so John is very reluctant to venture into anything musical. When he meets the choir director, twenty-three year old Rhys Callington, John feels a stirring in his heart (and other areas of his body) that he has not felt since his meeting his beloved husband. He is unable to take his eyes of the vibrant director and it is enough to keep John coming back to the weekly choir rehearsals.
Despite his young age, Rhys has also experienced a tragic loss and returned back to the Cotswold town of Lambury to start fresh and be near his family. Despite the under-riding current of attraction between the pair, there is no way John feels ready for any type of romantic entanglement. Further, there is the age gap between the pair. What would a gorgeous young man even see in John? A tentative friendship forms between the pair which eventually develops into more as they deal with the myriad of emotions they have for one another. Can Rhys be the one that finally makes John see that he once again needs to embrace his love of music and that life is still worth living?
The attraction between the pair becomes too hot to handle so it is only a matter of time before a physical relationship develops. Rhys is such a lovable and vibrant character. He was the one that definitely pushed for more. Despite his hesitations, John could not help but give in and succumb to Rhys’ charms. I loved how Rhys slowly chipped away at all the carefully-placed layers that were guarding John’s heart. John was this complex individual who was dealing with so much emotional turmoil. To the outside world John is this quiet individual who prefers his solitude, but underneath that indifferent façade there is a fragile man too scared to allow anyone in again. The reality of having to possibly lose someone again is too much for John to fathom. As both protagonists begin to spend more time with one another and their relationship deepens, John struggles to make sense of how Rhys makes him feel and what this means for their futures.
This was a tender, sweet and sexy tale as we watch the two men go from a friendship type of situation to something more. Something neither one of them expected when they ventured down the road of harmless flirtation and lust. John certainly had a lot of hang-ups regarding the age difference between him and Rhys and I could understand that. Essentially it all boiled down to whether John was willing to open his heart once again and allow himself to fall in love. Could he trust someone with his heart again? Especially a man who had his whole life ahead of him and was in the process of reaching for his dreams.
All in all, Imperfect Harmony was a poignant tale that touched my heart. What you get is a sweet and emotional second chance love story that shot straight to my heart as the story unfolded. The road to a happy forever for John and Rhys was chalk full of emotional obstacles and turmoil but there is something to be said for having to rise above the hardships to get to that place of unconditional love. We often have to walk through darkness to get to the place of beauty and light. In the end, it is always worth it.