Perfect Tunes

Avid Reader: S. & S. Apr. 2020. 288p. ISBN 9781501197499. $26. F
At 22, aspiring singer-songwriter Laura leaves Ohio for New York City to pursue her dream of recording an album and becoming a successful musician. She meets Dylan, a tortured artist in an up-and-coming band, and develops an obsessive love for him. She doesn’t want to stop seeing him even as he begins to abuse drugs and drift away. When Dylan dies unexpectedly not long into their relationship, Laura discovers she is pregnant and must now deal with the challenges of parenting. She chooses to give up her musical dreams temporarily and figures she can begin again when her daughter, Marie, is older. When Marie turns 14, she unsurprisingly wants to know more about her father. Laura is reluctant to let the past invade the present, but Marie doesn’t relent, even if it means she has to find the answers on her own.
VERDICT Gould’s second novel (after Friendship) is essentially about how parenting can be rewarding but also challenging; the music angle alluded to in the title is secondary. The character development is uneven, and the parenting angle is often tedious, but fans of women’s fiction about young mothers, daughters, and life dreams might enjoy it.

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