Book Review: The Lost Love Song by Minnie Darke

Book Review: The Lost Love Song by Minnie Darke

The Lost Love Song by Minnie DarkeTitle: The Lost Love Song

Author: Minnie Darke

Publisher: Ballantine Books – Random House Publishing Group

Publication date: October 13, 2020

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance

One Sentence Summary: Diana may be gone, but her love song lives on, and will do anything to work it’s magic to bring happiness back into the lives of those it touches, especially that of her beloved Arie.

As a musician (hobby, not professional), I couldn’t resist this one. Music and songs, how could I? I loved the idea of a love song making it’s way around the world, and could only wonder if it would ever make it’s way to the ears of the man it was meant for. This novel ended up being heartbreaking, but beautiful. I just wish I could have heard the love song for myself.

The Plot: A Second Chance at Love

Concert pianist Diana blew into IT tech Arie’s world like a force to be reckoned with. He understood her and was caught up in the whirlwind that was her for seven years. On the eve of her departure for her upcoming tour, after discussing marriage yet again, Diana begins to write a song. A love song. As her way of saying, yes, she’s ready. But, on a routine flight from Singapore to Paris, tragedy strikes and every soul on board is lost.

Arie is lost. Diana was his life, his world. Two years later, he’s still reeling from her loss, still clinging to the past, unable to move forward, unwilling to acknowledge it’s possible. Half a world away, struggling poet Evie is in Scotland. After years of traveling the world and never making it anywhere as a poet, a piece of music played by two teenagers on cello and flute tells her it’s time to return home.

Both struggling to figure out where to go now, Arie and Evie become unexpected temporary neighbors. There’s a spark, but Arie may be too unwilling to let go of the past to move forward and Evie is only willing to settle for a future. But, through it all, Diana’s song has been making it’s way across the world, on a mission to bring happiness back into Arie’s life.

The Lost Love Song is a very sweet story. At its heart, it’s about the ties people form and how music has a hand in shaping it. Not only is it about the love between Diana and Arie and Arie and Evie, but also musicians across the world, whether familial or romantic. It’s a beautiful story full of hope while also focusing on the process of grief, making it a little bittersweet. One thing I wasn’t a fan of was how slowly it went at first. It took forever for Arie and Evie to meet, but it allowed a good breathing space for them to develop on their own, for the reader to get to fully know them, before their stories meshed. Another disappointment was that there wasn’t more about the song going around the world. Told in interludes, the reader gets to meet various musicians around the world, their stories, and how the song impacts them, but it chooses to focus on only some of them instead of showing how it touches so many musicians everywhere and is passed along the way.

Similar to Something to Live For, it focuses mostly on the male. In this case, it’s mostly Arie’s story, though Evie does get to say a fair bit, especially as the story goes on. It doesn’t have the light fluffiness typical romance has. Most of the novel feels quite heavy as the characters’ grief is ever-looming and the disappointments many of them also carry never really dissipate. But the romance is sweet, meandering as usual but also straightforward with a worthy heroine.

The Characters: A Beautiful Triad

The Lost Love Song is about Arie, Diana, and Evie. There are a number of supporting characters from Arie’s well-meaning friends to Diana’s mother to the musicians who help move the song around the world. They are the supporting bass clef while Arie, Diana, and Evie are hard at work crafting the melody. They’re there to add depth, to help further express the three main characters, to show the effects of Diana’s song.

Even though Diana dies early on, she’s still a powerful force throughout the novel. A vibrant young woman with a passionate heart, her song carries her legacy, touching hearts and creating and mending relationships around the world. Arie was always her support, her stability, so it was interesting to see how he developed once the life was taken out of him. He’s incredibly steadfast and unwavering. Once Evie touches down in his life, he’s shaken and unsure, and much of the novel explores the small but mighty shifts in his life. Evie has been hurt, cast aside, and never seems to really get anywhere, but she clings to hope and knows what she wants and is unwilling to settle for anything else. Not quite the force Diana is, she’s more grounded while still believing in love.

The Setting: Mostly Australia

Most of The Lost Love Song takes place in Australia. At first, as a Northern Hemisphere inhabitant, it was jarring and difficult when it was summery in January and freezing in the middle of the year. I don’t think I ever fully acclimated, especially as the novel also takes the reader to Scotland and Canada, but I did like how it explored the world a bit, mostly in terms of weather. It also helped shape the power of a single song and how universal the feelings it evokes are.

Overall: Bittersweet

The Lost Love Song is a bit of a slow read. There’s a lot of grief to process at first, and it never really goes away. But it’s still magical in its own way as it shows how music can bring souls together. I loved the idea of the song drawing Arie and Evie together, of both of them recognizing it and having it in common, almost as though it was Diana guiding two worthy souls to happiness. There’s a healthy dose of kismet, but is handled so artfully that the story just winds together perfectly, as though everything in it really was meant to be. Once in a while it did seem a little unbelievable, but the characters really do a good job of pulling it together because of how well developed they are. Overall, a very sweet, albeit heavy, read.

Great if you enjoy: emotional reads; sweet romance; strong heroines; books from a mostly male perspective

Not great if you’re looking for: light, fluffy reads; humorous or funny reads; quick and easy reads; traditional romance/women’s fiction

How many cups of tea will you need?

4 cups will do

Get your copy (The Lily Cafe is NOT an Amazon affiliate)

Thank you to Netgalley and Ballantine Books for a free e-copy. All opinions expressed are my own.

Head over to the Bookshelf to check out my reviews of books from the Big 5 and self-published, indie, and small press books.

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