I had heard a few months ago—heck it was probably a few years ago—that there was story out there about a mom hooking up with Harry Styles (or who was essentially Harry Styles), and it was getting a lot of buzz. At the time, I figured it was fan fiction and moved on. It wasn’t until multiple discussions popped up on my online bookclub about it that I seriously considered giving it a shot. Not only had Harry Styles himself become more appealing to me (for whatever reason), but there were so many people feeling so many things about how it ended that I just had to read it for myself.
Solène Marchand, the thirty-nine-year-old owner of an art gallery in Los Angeles, is reluctant to take her daughter, Isabelle, to meet her favourite boy band. But since her divorce, she’s more eager than ever to be close to Isabelle. The last thing Solène expects is to make a connection with one of the members of the world-famous August Moon. But Hayes Campbell is clever, winning, confident, and posh, and the attraction is immediate. That he is all of twenty years old further complicates things.
What begins as a series of clandestine trysts quickly evolves into a passionate and genuine relationship. It is a journey that spans continents as Solène and Hayes navigate each other’s worlds: from stadium tours to international art fairs to secluded hideaways in Paris and Miami. For Solène, it is a reclaiming of self, as well as a rediscovery of happiness and love. When Solène and Hayes’ romance becomes a viral sensation, and both she and her daughter become the target of rabid fans and an insatiable media, Solène must face how her romantic life has impacted the lives of those she cares about most.
I am so surprised by how much I loved this book. I was expecting something that was poorly written and that was basically porn in book form—but that’s not what this was at all! Was it sexy? Definitely! But there was so much heart in it that I wasn’t expecting. You get a good sense of why Solène is choosing this very difficult path for herself, you understand a lot of what’s behind Hayes’s motivation, and even the mother-daughter relationship between Solène and Isabelle is pretty spot on (though I do wish we dove into a little more, maybe). And the romance? It’s dialled up to beyond sexy without being vulgar or inappropriate. I wish more writers wrote sex like Lee does here.
I will not spoil the ending, but it is what a lot of people have a problem with, and I completely understand why. It ends a little suddenly, but I feel like that’s how the story would end for them. It would be something abrupt, because when you live Hayes’s pop star life, you don’t always have the luxury of time. The final line really spoke to me, and I loved it.
The author, Robinne Lee, has released bits and pieces of extended chapters and even an epilogue of sorts—all of which are very searchable online. There is hope for a sequel (though Lee admits there isn’t one in the hopper at the time of me writing), but until then, we can just imagine where Solène and Hayes’s journeys take them. ’90s boy band enthusiasts, like myself, will see parts of themselves in Solène, too, or maybe a little bit in Isabelle.
“The thought crossed my mind that this could be dangerous. Not the ill-advised sex with the just-out-of-his-teens pop star, but the cuddling. The lying there, drinking in his scent, watching his chest rise and fall, allowing myself to bask in my own happiness. I could fall in love this way.”—Robinne Lee, The Idea of You
Thank you to NoisePorn on Unsplash for the featured photo.