Personal and professional pressures threaten to undermine a young couple’s attachment in this sequel.
Matthew Campbell and Lilia Bennett-Parker could not be happier. Friends since childhood, the two have watched their relationship blossom into a long-distance romance. Lilia, a cellist, attends graduate school in Boston while Matt lives in Pennsylvania, where his company, Knowledge Portal, is a leader in math and science education software. During a performance in Boston, Lilia catches the eye of Eduardo Santana, an acclaimed pianist and composer. He is writing a score for a new film and approaches Lilia with an offer to audition for the orchestra that will play the music. Lilia is conflicted by the proposal because she will need to move to California. Matt has problems of his own in Pennsylvania. His brother, Paul, a recovering addict, has moved back home, and Matt’s business partner wants to enter the online competitive gaming market. Matt is supportive when Lilia is accepted into the orchestra, but the distance puts a strain on their relationship. As they face professional stress and personal tragedy, and Eduardo’s campaign to seduce Lilia intensifies, they wonder whether their love will survive. Carr’s (The Bennett Women, 2015) novel is fast-paced and satisfying and could be enjoyed as a stand-alone. The author is adept at rendering a vivid portrait of Matt’s and Lilia’s distinctive worlds. Matt is passionate about STEM education while Lilia’s string-instrument talents lead her to California playing alongside the best musicians in the industry. The couple are surrounded by strong supporting characters, including the dashing Eduardo and violinist Mei Li, whose desire to become a mother culminates in a health crisis. Although the dialogue occasionally lapses into exposition (“Anyway, we’ve known each other since we were kids,” says Matt. “Having our grandparents live next door to one another”) and some of the subplots are resolved a little too conveniently, the story is well-developed. Ultimately, Carr demonstrates a knack for creating appealing and nuanced characters.
A poignant romance that explores the complexities of a long-distance relationship.