THE IDEA OF YOU: Is Love Enough?

The Idea of You

THE IDEA OF YOU coverAuthor Robinne Lee
Narrated by Robinne Lee
Published by: Tantor Media
Publication date Apr 3, 2018
Running time 12 hrs

I voluntarily reviewed an advance readers copy of this book. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.


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 favorite 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’s 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.

Contains mature themes.


My Take Oblong Shaped

A lot of rock and roll romance focuses on the the wild partying, the crazy tour bus antics, and the kind of issues rock stars probably face in real life: groupies, pregnant groupies, substance abuse. This is not one of those.  THE IDEA OF YOU is a more sensitive exploration of age differences and gender bias in a very steamy romance.

I haven’t read a “Boy Band” romance before.  Although, and, thank you for this Robinne, the boys in the band here are all legal.  Since they are older teens or young twenties, and Hayes in particular, seems to have his head on straight.  Solène is missing a romantic relationship, but her career is really strong. 

This story offers complex characters with interesting pasts and difficult family and work dynamics bound to be made more difficult by a reverse May-December relationship.

Young women are supposed to be attracted to rock stars like cats to catnip, and younger girls are legendary consumers of boy bands.  It is an exploration into the promise of sexuality and puberty.

A young fan’s mother is not supposed to fall in love with her daughter’s idol.  And, girls get totally obsessed; even believing they’re in love with one member of a band, or another.  But, they don’t know the guy, they only know the persona.  There are plenty of young groupies a rocker could “date” but for some reason Hayes’ type is not a young woman but one a bit older than he is. Before now though he hasn’t met someone with whom he really shares “Love.”

At nearly 40, Solène is exotic and intense – perhaps a bit too intense. The idea that she is interested in Hayes shocks her, but she comes to love this young man in a way that contradicts her being old enough to be his mother.  Hayes is very mature for his years but also very sensitive. I am not sure, other than the flattery of being wanted by a younger man, pulls Solène into this relationship.  Once is a mistake, more than that is a relationship. And a relationship with a man half her age was definitely not in her plans.  But, it is a relationship, and one that has the potential of destroying lives.

It’s a good story, Solène’s level of sophistication is high and I loved that she is not terribly worried about a 40 year old body – and she is very sex positive. Hayes is respectful in bed and doesn’t lie to her, but he’s a little too sensitive for my taste; maybe a sign of his need to mature.  Speaking of bed, they have some sexy and sultry sheet time  — I thought it was just the right amount.

A actor, Robynne Lee provides her own narration.  Her husky, sensual voice makes for a sultry Solène and as the author she knows what emotion she wanted to bring out.  I don’t know if it is the character or the narration that makes every aspect of Solène’s character’s narration
very intense and dramatic — occasionally too intense.  Sometimes the narration was a little too emotional. 

So, she’s twenty years older than the young man, if he were the older character, it would hardly be a footnote. Why does gender matter?  I don;t know why our society is built the way it is, but it is an interesting question to ask ourselves.  Also, how are the age differences handled with the people in the characters’ lives.  Even for guys this is a thing: we all know or know of someone who is with a woman in his children’s age group and it can cause problems in a family but, on the outside the guy is proclaimed a stud and the woman is a cougar – not always a nice way to refer to a woman. And  what if Hayes wants a family. Most women are less fertile in their forties and yes, there are ways around it, but it’s not usually a picnic.

What does a career woman do with her career when in a relationship. Too often she gives it up. But what should Solène do in this case? Is the attention and notoriety likely to help or hinder her business which involves several other people..

These are important questions in the story. I felt went far deeper than the rock and roll romance I often read.  Though there’s plenty of sex and romance, I thought it really explored some hard choices, how the characters, especially Solène, felt and thought.  It asks whether love is enough to keep them together – or is it enough to let each other go? This is high quality steamy romance.


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