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’ 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.
This will be one of those rambling, I’m in awe, I don’t know what to say to do any justice to this story kind of reviews…. So please bear with me.
I love reading. Love books. I’m at over 150 books read just this year. While I enjoyed a lot of them, there are very few that truly stood out for different reasons. Stories that I just know that I will remember, recommend, and reread years later.
The Idea of You by Robinne Lee is THAT STORY.
I’m not gonna sugar coat it, I was hesitant at first. The whole boy band and reverse age difference premise of the book piqued my curiosity but also it made me uncertain if it was for me.
So I added it to my TBR and decided to pick it up later, figuring I’d probably never get to it. Earlier this week, I decided to pick it up since the blurb never left my mind. I CANNOT TELL YOU HOW INCREDIBLY HAPPY I AM THAT I FINALLY DID. This book, this story, these characters… Top read for me this year!!! Abso-fucking-lutely AMAZING. I’m BLOWN AWAY.
When I met Solène and Hayes I was still tentative. But as the story unfolded I was completely taken. It was almost like magic, you know that moment when you realize that you are reading something that will change who you are a little bit when you finish that last page. It’s THAT STORY. The one you want to tell all your friends about, the one you make your husband listen to <– sorry babe. The one that makes you want to start a book club in your neighborhood and talk about it over wine.
The story starts with Solène, a 39-year-old divorcee, taking her daughter to meet the boy band all the teenage girls fawn over. Her daughter and friends are besides themselves with excitement and Solène watches it unfold. As they meet the members of the band, she is struck by how charming and personable they are. One, in particular, seems to have an extra dose of charm: Hayes. She brushes him off as a boy in a teeny bopper band. He’s half her age, why would he even register on her radar? The answer? He doesn’t. Sure, he’s handsome, but anyone with eyes could see that.
Throughout their first encounter, Solène humors Hayes and his seeming advances. Why would this boy be flirting with her?
But when he convinces her to meet him for lunch, the story takes off galloping. Solène and Hayes meet in different corners of the world for a literal whirlwind romance that left me breathless and anxiously turning the pages. Solène balanced her daughter, her successful business, and her relationship with Hayes. How could she keep everything afloat as she fell deeper and deeper with Hayes?
This book made me a complete basketcase. I was on the edge, chewing my nails off, and enjoying EVERY SINGLE minute of it. I thought I was going to get somewhat of a taboo love story but it was MORE SO MUCH MORE.
The wisdom, the powerful message about sexism, aging, JUST BEING A WOMAN, for me personally, was life changing. As a mother of two girls, there were so many times I yelled out THIS SO MUCH THIS!! I highlighted the heck out of the book because, Robinne Lee, your words, gosh they are EXTRAORDINARY, STUNNING & CAPTIVATING. You gave me and your readers a heroine that is strong, selfless, and fiercely independent yet still loving and sexy as hell. A mother, a friend, an ex wife, a lover but still HERSELF!! She is truly INCREDIBLE and I can honestly say she’s become one of my favorite female characters I’ve ever read.
And Hayes…. So UNEXPECTED, so not what I bargained for when I read about the twenty-year-old boy band member in the blurb. I’m gonna be honest I fell hard for him and his charms and swagger. There were times I felt myself forgetting he was only 20 because he was so… Everything. He was mature, debonair, alluring, and, decidedly so fucking sexy!!
“You afraid?” he asked. I nodded. “So am I. But I’m all right with that. If I get hurt, I get hurt. It happens, right? Someone always gets hurt. But I don’t want to miss out on us because I was afraid.”
Ms. Lee created a PHENOMENAL and BRILLIANT story about fame, aging, complex women issues in today’s day and age when no one is safe from social media and it’s keyboard warriors. When we all thrive to be perfect—the perfect wife, the perfect mom, the perfect woman, etc and in the process we become our own enemies as we lose ourselves and who we are in order to make others happy. Her characters feel so real, they’re surely out there in the world somewhere. I want to look for them and find them and hug them hard. <– told you I’m a basketcase!!
“I’m falling in love with you. I’m just going to put that out there, because I can.”
The Idea of You is a love story, a very unique one, but, for me, it was also a love letter. A love letter to all women out there today. A poignant modern day love story with an incredible message that left me with an aching heart. Even days later, I can’t stop thinking about these two beautiful characters.
Thank you Robinne Lee for this beautiful experience ❤️
About the Author
ROBINNE LEE is an actor, writer and producer. A graduate of Yale University and Columbia Law School, Robinne was born and raised in Westchester County, New York. Robinne has numerous acting credits in both television and film, most notably opposite Will Smith in both “Hitch” and “Seven Pounds.” Her recent credits include “Fifty Shades Darker” and “Fifty Shades Freed,” playing Ros Bailey.
Robinne currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two children.
Connect with Robinne Lee