23 June 2014

Book Review: The Unfinished Symphony of You and Me by Lucy Robinson

"Sally is an incredible singer but she sings only in her wardrobe where nobody can hear her. She'd rather join a nudist colony than sing in public.

That is until she ventures to New York where a wild and heady summer of love and loss changes her forever. No longer able to hide in the shadows, Sally must return home to London to fulfill a promise she cannot break - to share her voice.

But just as she's about to embark on her new life, a beautiful man turns up on Sally's doorstep bearing a sheepish smile and a mysterious hand-written message.

How did he find her? Why is he here? Does he hold the truth to what happened back in New York? And, with him back on the scene, will she still have the courage to step into the spotlight?"

Rating: 5/5

You can buy The Unfinished Symphony of You and Me as a paperback or an eBook.

I am a massive fan of Lucy Robinson's books, and have been eagerly awaiting the release of her brand new novel The Unfinished Symphony of You and Me. I had heard so many amazing things about this book before I'd even read a page that I was simply bursting to start reading it, and now I have, I can see what all the fuss was about! It's unlike anything I've ever read, full of larger than life characters, a heart-warming story and a good dose of Opera thrown in for good measure. There's something about Robinson's writing that keeps you coming back for me, and this book just showcases her talent all the more.

Sally is an Opera singer, and an extremely good one at that. However, she only sings in her wardrobe. When she's alone. And when no-one else is listening. So when she finds herself enrolled on a course at the Royal College of Music, it's like all her nightmares have finally come to fruition in one fell swoop. There's something in Sally's past that is forcing her to push through with the course, despite it being the last thing she really wants. Last year, in New York, Sally's life was changed forever, where she finds both love and loss, and she makes a promise she knows she can't go back on. Will Sally have the strength to go through with her promise, and face up to her fears once and for all?

I've never read a book centred around opera before, and I was so excited to find out more about the genre through Sally. Opera isn't something I personally enjoy listening to, although reading about it in this book makes me see it in a totally new light, something magical and special. What made it so special was how much Sally loved opera, and how much her love for it jumps off at the page at you, from the way she describes it, to how it moves her and makes her feel - Robinson has really captured the emotion of this character and how opera moves her and touches her in a way nothing else has been able to. There are a few operas mentioned throughout the book, I can't wait to listen to them now and see what Sally is so keen on, especially those mentioned towards the end of the book.

While the love of opera really comes across in the book, it is the amazing characters which makes this book so readable for me. Firstly, Sally is the perfect main character. We see her life through 'Acts', much like in an opera. The book flits between acts, from Sally's childhood, to her trip to New York, and then present day at the Royal College of Music. It was a bit hard to keep track at first, I had to make sure I was really paying attention as I was reading but I soon settled into the pace of it, and enjoyed learning more about why Sally is how she is. There's a lot going on, many different plots within the one book which ultimately link together, but it makes for fantastic reading! Sally's clearly a damaged person, hiding secrets that have broken her badly, and this is reflected in the relationships she forms in the book. I really did love her, I was hoping she would find the strength to sing in public, and work through her issues to find happiness.

The other characters in the book were fantastic too. There's the amazing Hungarian opera singer Jan Borsos. He is just utterly hilarious, and I was often laughing out loud when I read his scenes! He has a hilarious way of speaking that can't fail to put a smile on your face, and he certainly brings out the best in those around him. He's a big contrast to the other main male in the book, opera superstar Julian Jefferson. He's a singing tutor at the Royal College of Music, and Sally's worst nightmare come to life. Things are not revealed until a good way into the book to keep you gripped, but I did love Julian, he was a lovely man and sounded like he was pretty perfect! The other male is Barry from Wales, Sally's best friend. Again, he's hilarious and really tries to cheer Sally up, everyone needs a best friend like him! It is definitely the characters in this book which make it what it is, they are all perfect for the book!

This is definitely my favourite of Lucy Robinson's books to date. I loved everything about it, from the story, the pace, the writing, the characters, the setting... just everything! There's so much going on, it's thrown at you so quickly but handled in such a brilliant way - there's love, loss, grief, secrets, drugs, betrayal and many more emotions going on, and it all comes together to create an amazing story. Robinson's writing is so easy to read, it jumps out at you from the page and flows perfectly, letting you into Sally's world, drawing you in so much that you don't want to ever leave. This is an utterly brilliant book, full of charm, wit, humour and much more, with a plot unlike anything I've read before. You MUST read it, it's one of those books you won't want to put down and you know you'll come back to to read again and again. What a complete treat.


  1. I really want to read this book! Great review! I also love the cover of the book!

  2. Great review, taking this one on holiday!