To celebrate the paperback release of the unique and rather wonderful When the Music Stops by Joe Heap I’m delighted to reshare my blog tour book review with you today.
About the book:
This is the story of Ella. And Robert.
And of all the things they should have said, but never did.
‘What have you been up to?’
I shrug, ‘Just existing, I guess.’
‘Looks like more than just existing.’
Robert gestures at the baby, the lifeboat, the ocean. ‘All right, not existing. Surviving.’
He laughs, not unkindly. ‘Sounds grim.’
‘It wasn’t so bad, really. But I wish you’d been there.’
Ella has known Robert all her life. Through seven key moments and seven key people their journey intertwines.
From the streets of Glasgow during WW2 to the sex, drugs and rock n’ roll of London in the 60s and beyond, this is a story of love and near misses. Of those who come in to our lives and leave it too soon.
And of those who stay with you forever…
About the author:
Joe Heap was born in 1986 and grew up in Bradford, the son of two teachers. His debut novel The Rules of Seeing won Best Debut at the Romantic Novel of the Year Awards in 2019 and was shortlisted for the Books Are My Bag Reader Awards.
Joe lives in London with his girlfriend, their two sons and a cat who wishes they would get out of the house more often.
A note from Joe:
At a summer season in Ramsgate, 1959, two ice skaters held a party. My grandfather, a Glaswegian saxophonist who would rather have gone to the pub, was convinced by a comedian on the same bill to come along. My grandmother, another one of the ice skaters, sat down next to him and spilt her drink in his lap. Though she has since denied it, her first words of note to him were ‘Oh no, not another Scot.’
Nobody could have guessed how much would spin off that moment, myself and this book included.
When the Music Stops by Joe Heap is a beautifully written and emotional tale that once started I did not want to put down. A unique and rather wonderful story that follows the lives of Ella and Robert, from their childhood on the streets of Glasgow during World War 2 through to the swinging sixties and beyond.
Through seven key moments, Ella’s life intertwines with Robert’s as well as other key people, with music as a backdrop to their story as time marches on. Ella’s life is explored in great detail, the important moments brought vividly to life as we move seamlessly between timelines. As the story continues we begin to get to know Ella as a person, living alongside her through her ups and downs, the dark moments and the light.
In the present day Ella is in her eighties, caught up in a world she no longer understands. The chapters set in the present were the hardest to read as age begins to take its toll on the once vibrant person she used to be. I didn’t always like Ella or the choices she made throughout her life, but I did come to understand her and loved the time I spent getting to know her within the pages of this book.
When the Music Stops was inspired by the story of the author’s own grandparents and he has done them proud with this beautifully written exploration of love, loss and the importance of holding on to the memories we have of those who have touched our lives. The use of music throughout the book is inspired and really helped bring the story alive for me.
Joe Heap has written a unique and rather wonderful story, filled with a cast of flawed but fascinating characters I couldn’t help but fall in love with. A beautiful and highly emotional story that I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend.
When the Music Stops by Joe Heap is available to purchase now: Amazon UK
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