This book intrigued me from the start. When Ms. Grimm started promoting it, I was reluctant to buy it and read it for a couple of reasons. The lie that Isabeau had constructed for herself after the death of her mother hit too close to home for me. I, too, played piano has a child and got burned out by the constant playing, practising and rehearsing for recitals. Plus, it didn't help that my last piano teacher when I was a teenager was mean and would hit my hands every time I messed up. I begged my parents to quit and I did to never play again until a couple of years ago when my parents finally gave away my piano. I sat and played for hours letting the notes and emotions that I had come out through my fingers. When I finished playing, my parents were awestruck and clapping for me. It was a huge part of my life growing up and I don't think I will ever stop playing in my head. Also, I was kinda shaking my head at having a rock star and a piano player prodigy has my hero and heroine. I asked myself when I finished...what took me so long to read this exceptional story?
So much of Isabeau's life as a child was playing the piano. She lived it, breathed it and she blames her mother's death on herself for wanting to stop playing the piano. What started off as a young woman battling her demons and her complete attraction to Noah ended up being an emotional journey for Isabeau and Noah. The both learned what was important to them and not other people. To learn to trust, love and not be afraid anymore.
Isabeau at times could be a little too hardheaded and I wanted to shake her shoulders. She seemed too caught up in herself and the walls that she had put up that I didn't see how Noah was ever going to break them down. She didn't think that she was worthy of love from Noah and didn't like the feelings that he evoked from her. Once those walls starting crumbling, she began to see that love can heal her and make her stronger than she ever thought possible.
Noah is the ever persistent, sexy for his own good but all around good guy. He realizes the mistakes that he made when he was younger and doesn't want to repeat them. When he walks into Isabeau's bar, he realizes that his life has changed forever. What he didn't realize is how hard it would be for him to fully gain her trust and love. Can Noah ever forgive himself for pushing Isabeau too hard for himself and his career?
I am so in love with Sara Grimm and her writing. She paces the story extremely well not dwelling on the emotional thoughts of Isabeau and Noah for too long. She makes you feel the story, not just the emotions of her characters. I felt like I was watching their love story from a booth at the bar. I didn't want to ever interrupt and just let the characters do the showing and telling from their perspective. The secondary characters never intrude and are as endearing as Noah and Isabeau. In fact, I can't wait for Dom's story. *wink* While this story is listed as "hot" on the publisher website, I felt like their bedroom scenes were more sensual and more emotional than any other that I have read in awhile. Good job, Ms. Grimm.
I hope that you go pick up After Midnight and see if you agree with me. I have never cried at the beginning of a book and then cried at the end. After Midnight was an emotional read that made me think about my own life and how it might have been different.