Musical Chairs by Amy Poeppel

Musical Chairs

Musical Chairs: A Novel by Amy Poeppel
English | 2020 | Fiction > Chick-lit | ePUB | 2.4 Mb

The “quick-witted and razor-sharp” (Taylor Jenkins Reid, New York Times bestselling author of Daisy Jones & The Six) author of Limelight and Small Admissions returns with a hilarious and heartfelt new novel about a perfectly imperfect summer of love, secrets, and second chances.

Bridget and Will have the kind of relationship that people envy: they’re loving, compatible, and completely devoted to each other. The fact that they’re strictly friends seems to get lost on nearly everyone; after all, they’re as good as married in (almost) every way. For three decades, they’ve nurtured their baby, the Forsyth Trio—a chamber group they created as students with their Juilliard classmate Gavin Glantz. In the intervening years, Gavin has gone on to become one of the classical music world’s reigning stars, while Bridget and Will have learned to embrace the warm reviews and smaller venues that accompany modest success.

Bridget has been dreaming of spending the summer at her well-worn Connecticut country home with her boyfriend Sterling. But her plans are upended when Sterling, dutifully following his ex-wife’s advice, breaks up with her over email and her twin twenty-somethings arrive unannounced, filling her empty nest with their big dogs, dirty laundry, and respective crises.

Bridget has problems of her own: her elderly father announces he’s getting married, and the Forsyth Trio is once again missing its violinist. She concocts a plan to host her dad’s wedding on her ramshackle property, while putting the Forsyth Trio back into the spotlight. But to catch the attention of the music world, she and Will place their bets on luring back Gavin, whom they’ve both avoided ever since their stormy parting.

With her trademark humor, pitch-perfect voice, and sly perspective on the human heart, Amy Poeppel crafts a love letter to modern family life with all of its discord and harmony. In the tradition of novels by Maria Semple and Stephen McCauley, Musical Chairs is an irresistibly romantic story of role reversals, reinvention, and sweet synchronicity.

If a pigeon were to perch on the rusty air-conditioning unit in the window of 66 Barrow Street and look into the fourth-story living room, it might be under the false impression that Will was taking a nap. It was ten in the morning, and he was lying on the couch with his feet up, planning out his summer schedule and estimating his potential earnings. He wouldn’t make as much as, say, people with normal jobs, but with the trio on hiatus, he’d found opportunities to make some extra money doing commercial work, like recording a jingle for a low-testosterone ad at a studio in New Jersey. He’d performed at a B-list celebrity wedding the night before with a terrific ensemble—a last-minute invitation after their pianist called in sick—and it was a windfall.

Gounod’s Faust was playing on his iPad, and he was cross-checking a series of emails with the lessons and gigs he kept track of in his calendar, an old-fashioned, spiral-bound throwback he carried in the pocket of his button-down shirts. When he was certain everything was entered (in pencil so adjustments could be made), he moved on to the next business: scheduling a three-way phone conference around the insanely busy schedule of their new violinist, Caroline Lee, so that he and Bridget could welcome her into the trio and discuss logistics. She was out of the country for most of June, but when Will requested a few dates in July, she had never gotten back to him. Will hoped this wasn’t an indication of her level of commitment. He tried calling her manager, Randall Bennett, but the call went first to Randall’s assistant and then to voicemail. Instead of leaving a message, he sent an email to Caroline, copying Bridget and Randall to keep them in the loop.

Randall was obsessed with what he called their “platform,” so Will picked up his iPad and took a look at their website. It hadn’t been updated in years. It didn’t list upcoming performances and certainly didn’t invite visitors to purchase downloads with a click; neither Bridget nor Will knew the first thing about how to manage it. There were good pictures of them on the home page, but it was the wrong trio; Jacques appeared beside them, posing with his violin, not Caroline with hers.

Will had been sorry to see Jacques go last month. He and Bridget had become good friends with him over the past decade, but after Jacques and his wife had a baby, they moved back to Europe. He and Bridget had tried to change Jacques’s mind, making the case that Bridget had managed to raise two children in New York City, and they had turned out quite well, thank you very much, but Jacques had already decided: “Everybody knows France is ze best place on earth to raise a child.” Will didn’t know if this was true or not, but he thought the trio should have meant more to Jacques than a random opinion.

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