This is for readers of my new release, Imperfect Harmony, who want to hear the songs and music that are referenced in the story.
Imperfect Harmony, tells the story of two lost souls, John and Rhys, who connect and find happiness again through their shared love of music. During the course of the story I mention several songs/tunes that are important to the story. I’ve included a couple of excerpts below. So if you don’t like reading excerpts in advance, skip those, or save this post for after you’ve read the book!
Rhys is a choir leader, and the two men meet when John is persuaded to join the choir by his neighbour. Both men are also musicians. Rhys plays the guitar, and John plays violin and piano. But John has avoided music since the loss of his partner two years before the story begins. Rhys helps John reconnect with his love of music, and this a big part of the healing that takes place for John in the story.
In chapter one, during John’s first choir session, Rhys teaches the group a song, which moves John almost to tears:
Gradually, as John became more confident in what he was singing, he found he was able to listen to and appreciate the sound of all four parts. For the second time that night, he found the hairs on the back of his neck tingling with a rush of pure emotion—joy at the beauty of the sound mingled with a sense of loss so strong that his chest ached.
His throat tightened as hot tears pricked his eyelids. He swallowed hard, unable to sing past the lump in his throat. He felt his face flush, mortified at his loss of control in such a public setting.
Just then, Rhys looked directly at him and his face softened. The empathy in his eyes only made John feel worse. He jerked his gaze away to stare at a knot on the wooden floorboards and forced himself to start singing again. He was a little hoarse at first, but soon the notes came again as he got a grip on himself.
By the time Rhys called “Last time through,” the wave of unwelcome emotion had passed. As the last notes died away into silence, John was able to relax and smile with the rest of the group as chatter broke out around him.
I couldn’t find a version online like the one in my head (this is a song I learned at a singing workshop a few years ago), so I recorded one. Sorry for the scratchy quality but I managed to get one without any people or cats being noisy in the background!
John and Rhys bond through performing at an old folks’ home together. Here are two of the songs that John and Rhys sing for the residents at Beech House:
Danny Boy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xulhCoqbXk8
You Make Me Feel So Young (I love this one. It reminds me of my mum, and it’s another sweet, uplifting song that suits this story well, given the characters’ age difference): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZNIKZdoehE
The loss of John’s music is a running theme in the story, and there is a very significant scene where he’s finally ready to play his violin again:
“Can I…?” John lifted his bow again. “There’s something I need to do.”
Rhys nodded mutely. He felt privileged at being present for this moment. It was like witnessing new life, a flower opening in time-lapse photography, the arrival of spring, the rebirth of something magical. Whatever John needed was fine with him. Rhys set his guitar aside, leaned back in the chair, and waited.
John started slowly, quietly. Rhys recognised the tune although he couldn’t place it. Haunting and heartbreakingly beautiful, the music grew to fill the room. It cut through Rhys making the lump grow in his throat and tears prickle in his eyes. The melody wasn’t in a minor key, yet there was somehow loss woven into every note—sadness, and a yearning that was almost unbearable.
But there was hope there too, and as John drew out the final notes, Rhys was left breathless, wanting, and full of too many emotions to name.
A single tear slid down John’s cheek as the last note died away.
This is the tune that John plays in that scene.
Ashokan Farewell: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9N__4oE0Afs
And finally… the song that the choir performs in the epilogue. I love this song, it’s so full of hope and seemed like a perfect note to end the story on 🙂
I Can See Clearly Now: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSsqWHtg7Ig
Imperfect harmony can still be beautiful…
John Fletcher, a former musician, is stuck in limbo after losing his long-term partner two years ago. He’s shut himself off from everything that reminds him of what he’s lost. When his neighbour persuades him to join the local community choir, John rediscovers his love of music and finds a reason to start living again.
Rhys Callington, the talented and charismatic choir leader, captures John’s attention from the first moment they meet. He appears to be the polar opposite of John: young, vibrant, and full of life. But Rhys has darkness in his own past that is holding him back from following his dreams.
Despite the nineteen-year age gap, the two men grow close and a fragile relationship blossoms. Ghosts of the past and insecurities about the future threaten their newfound happiness. If they’re going to harmonise in life and love as they do in their music, they’ll need to start following the same score.
Length: 66,000 words approx
Cover art by Garrett Leigh
Universal Amazon link (should open in your region): http://mybook.to/ImperfectHarmony
NB: This book will be exclusive to Amazon for 90 days from release, before going wide to all major retailers.