Listen by Kris Bryant is the third book in Bryant’s sensory series, and it truly was worth the wait. In addition to capturing the beauty that music brings to our lives, she emphasizes the importance music is to heal our hearts.
Lily Croft use to love playing music in front of large crowds in the most prestigious concert halls in the country as a world re-knowned music prodigy. All grown up now, she doesn’t like music very much, especially playing it. Her days are spent sheltered in her home office, crunching numbers and analyzing data for a big Chicago company. When her boss hands her a temporary assignment across town, Lily is reluctant to leave the safety of her home. But she has a plan: keep her head down, stay focused and finish the task as soon as possible. All seems to be going well until one night she hears the soft melody of a piano wafting down from a window at The Leading Note. Suddenly, all of Lily’s reservations about music start to crumble.
Hope D’Marco started The Leading Note to give kids and outlet to appreciate and enjoy music. When she discovers Lily standing underneath her window listening to her play, she is instantly drawn to the introverted actuary. Both women feel an instant attraction. And Lily, through Hope, is able to re-explore her passion for music and face her past. Just when all seems well, a secret is revealed that could send Lily spiraling back into that dark place she has resided for so long.
Will Lily go back into hiding? Or will she have the courage to confront her past and secure her future with Hope?
Anna: Lily’s past as a musical prodigy has left her reclusive. She prefers the solitude of her apartment and the company of her cat. The possibility of triggering her anxiety by coming into contact with either music or reminders of her past is too much for Lily to bear. It’s something she struggles with daily. When she meets Hope, she realizes that there is beauty in the world. And she rediscovers the beauty in music.
Hope is very much Lily’s opposite. She is out-going, friendly, social and has a great love for music. So much so, that she wants to share it with others, especially children who don’t have regular access to it. Her admiration of Lily is obvious from the beginning. However, what’s really perceptible is her respect for Lily’s condition. She understands that Lily’s anxiety is very serious and is willing to make the necessary adjustments to avoid circumstances that could cause it to flare up. This accommodation by Hope, combined with Lily’s determination to gain control over her condition, makes them perfect for each other.
Tara: I’m a big fan of both Lily and Hope, and I think they’re my new favourite couple of Bryant’s! As someone who deals with anxiety on a regular basis, I identified with a lot of Lily’s feelings and her coping mechanisms. That also made me love Hope even more, because she was so good at recognizing and respecting Lily’s boundaries, while often giving Lily the space to stretch out of her comfort zone.
The Writing Style
Anna: When I read Bryant, I know what to expect: sweet romance with a little drama thrown in. By creating a character that struggles with anxiety, I see her growth as a writer and an artist. Her description of Lily’s anxiety is done with such compassion that the empathy one feels for her comes easily. I feel I have gotten a taste of the next level in Bryant’s writing, and I can’t wait to see what else comes to fruition.
Tara: I have to agree with everything Anna said. Kris Bryant is so good at writing contemporary romances I can sink into, and they’re paced so well, I don’t want to put them down. She does a little something different with each book and I thoroughly enjoyed getting a glimpse into the world of music with this one.
Tara: Oh damn, did Brittni Pope ever go and do it again! Her voice is so delicious that I didn’t want to stop listening to this book. She differentiated Lily and Hope well, broke my heart in the crisis scene, and even threw in accents for minor characters that brought extra texture to the story.
Anna: Lily and Hope not only discuss the music played by the instruments they have mastered. They also highlight the music that is life. Whether it’s the rumble of city traffic, the heartbeat of the woman we love, music is always there. I was really glad Bryant gave attention to this non-traditional musical style. I’m sure everyone who reads this book will pay attention to the music that is all around us now, not just what is coming through our headphones.
Tara: I hadn’t thought of it the way Anna did, but reading what she gave as her pros, I kind of want to give her a high five, because yes to all of that.
Honestly, everything worked for me with this book. Yet again, Bryant crushed it, giving us a brilliant first-person narrative that warmed my heart and kept me interested from the first second to the last.
Anna: I honestly couldn’t find anything wrong with this story. I might’ve expected a little more angst based on the subject, but it wasn’t there. And honestly, it wasn’t required. So, yeah, I have no issues with this story.
Tara: I got nothing.
Anna: This was a such a great story. Not only do you get the comfort of Bryant’s traditional writing style, you also get to see her expand her repertoire and take on a subject that really makes you think about and consider other people’s feelings. In addition, she sets it in the wonderful world of music, which next to sports is my favorite subject to read about. Definitely pick this one up today.
Tara: I can’t recommend this book enough. Not only are Lily and Hope my favourite couple of Bryant’s, but this is my new favourite book of hers. It’s wonderful and if you’re at all inclined towards contemporary romances, you need to pick this one up—especially in audio.
Excerpt from Listen by Kris Bryant
“If you’re going to stand there and judge me, you might as well come up and do it in person.”
I looked up, completely busted. How did Hope know I was down here? She was smiling down at me from the open window, so I knew she was kidding, but I still felt guilty. I was judging her. Silently, but also encouragingly.
“I really should go home and feed Clio.” That was the first thing that popped out of my mouth. I had to look down because my neck was hurting from looking directly up at Hope, and the sun was reflecting off the windows and blinding me.
“Is Clio your dog?” she asked playfully. Was she flirting?
“He’s my cat. He’s on a pretty strict schedule.”
“Come up for a quick minute and say hi.”
“I really can’t. I’m sorry.” I still wasn’t ready to be in a room with a piano, let alone, in a room with a beautiful woman playing it.
“Can you do dinner? Clio would understand, I’m sure.”
I gulped. Could I be alone with Hope and make small dinner conversation? Baby steps. At least a piano wasn’t involved. And I hadn’t eaten since the bagel I wolfed down about ten that morning.
“I think if we do something quick, that will work.” Could I be a bigger ass right now? A beautiful woman I admired was asking me to dinner.
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Bits and Bobs
ISBN number: 9781635553185
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
Audiobook Publisher: Bold Strokes Books Inc
Narrator: Brittni Pope
Kris Bryant Online
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