The Perfect Love Song
by Patti Callahan Henry
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Vanguard Press
What I Liked:
Having never read a Patti Callahan Henry book before, I didn't know what to expect when I picked up this book. The reviews I read were mixed. It seemed to be a book that you either hated or loved. I'm please to say that I came down somewhere in the middle.
I enjoyed Patti Callahan Henry's lyrical voice, which will likely make me pick up others of her books. I really thoroughly enjoyed Charlotte, the heroine of the book, and Kara, the secondary heroine. Both were endearing, patient, and loving. Charlotte's story was bittersweet, of course, though she came to a satisfying end.
But Jimmy... Oh, Jimmy. And I don't say that in the adoring, fangirl voice of Thoroughly Modern Millie. More like the frustrated, disappointed voice of a parent with a misbehaving child. One you want so desperately to see make the right choice, yet who continues to turn away from everything he thought he loved in search of something unattainable. He was only a "hero" in that he was the main character of the book. Even the end did not redeem Jimmy for me, because I didn't feel like he really learned his lesson.
Granted, it wasn't my story. And I think at least the author felt like she brought him to a satisfying end. It was good to read her note in the back about why she wrote this book. I always like to hear from the authors what they attempted to "say" in their books. What the intended message was. I like to see if that's what really happened or not. In this case, I think part of her message connected, and part of it did not.
But regardless of where I fell on liking or not liking this book, I really enjoyed the writing. I will pick up another Patti Callahan Henry book, because I think she's a good writer. And I want to get a chance to see what her other books are like. For now, I'm happy to leave Jimmy behind, but part of Charlotte will stay with me forever.
Jimmy Sullivan has been living on the road with his brother, Jack, and his band The Unknown Souls. Without a place to call home, Jimmy and Jack lead a nomadic life filled with music and anonymous cities. When they return to a place Jimmy never wants to see again—their old hometown of Seaboro, South Carolina—he falls in love with Charlotte Carrington.
With his soul now filled with hope, Jimmy writes his first love song. When he performs it at a holiday concert to a standing ovation, the lyrics are dubbed the “Perfect Love Song,” so much so that Jimmy finds himself going on tour with famous country music stars, catapulted into a world where the trappings of fame and fortune reign supreme.
All too soon, the hope that had once inspired Jimmy to write such beautiful, genuine lyrics is overshadowed by what the song can do for him and his career. In his thirst for recognition, he agrees to miss Jack’s wedding in Ireland to sing at a Christmas Eve concert. And his ties to Charlotte seem to be ever so quickly slipping away.
Alone in New York City on Christmas Eve, Jimmy finally sees—with the help of a Christmas miracle or two—that his material gains are nothing compared to love, that he is losing all that really matters in his life. Is it too late to find his way to Ireland, to his brother, and to love?