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The Lost Love Song


The Lost Love Song

Following the release of her debut, STAR-CROSSED, Minnie Darke returns with THE LOST LOVE SONG, a tender and harmonious tribute to the powers of love and music.

Every great romance kicks off with a meet-cute, and this book is no different. When famous concert pianist Diana steps into Arie’s office in the IT department, he is sure that she is there to complain about Wi-Fi or missing emails. When she asks him to lunch instead, it is love at first sight, and the two are not without one another ever again, despite well-meaning jabs from Arie’s friends about “punching above his weight” or thinly veiled criticisms from Diana’s mother. For seven years, they maintain a great love that runs parallel to Diana’s passion for the piano, with Arie never once becoming jealous of her success and Diana never forgetting Arie for the glow of the stage.

"...a wholly satisfying, truly magical novel as smartly written as it is romantic and tender, and perfect for fans of Love Actually and ME BEFORE YOU."

However, on the night before she is set to leave for a tour in Singapore, the two argue about Diana’s hesitancy to get married, despite their buying a house and being engaged for years. Unable to explain away her fear or put into words how deeply she cares for Arie, she writes the most beautiful love song that her skilled and careful hands know how to play. But technical issues turn her plane ride home into an unspeakable tragedy, and she never makes it back from her tour. And Arie never hears his love song.

Fortunately, Diana’s song did not go down with her. When she was still in Singapore, she finished the tune on her hotel’s piano, catching the ear of a visiting businessman who became entranced with the melody. Exhausted and drained, Diana left her manuscript book at the hotel, where the man pocketed it in hopes of returning it to its owner one day. Unaware of Diana’s fate, he returns to Scotland, where the real magic of THE LAST LOVE SONG begins.

In Scotland, we meet Evie, a struggling young poet who has lived as a bit of a nomad for the last few years, having departed her beloved Australia for adventure. Trapped in a loveless maybe-relationship, Evie slogs away at bars and cafés, visiting poetry libraries and bookstores, and hoping for inspiration. With nothing to call her own, she decides it is time to go back to Australia to find love, home and a sense of belonging. One night she hears a beautiful song played by a young flautist and her boyfriend, a couple so hopelessly, undeniably in love that it gives Evie just the push she needs.

Back in Australia, Arie is continuing to live with his grief. Little does he know that a part of Diana has lived on and traveled the world --- fascinating some, uniting others and motivating the rest to do more. Weaving together seemingly disparate characters, storylines and settings, Darke pens a harmonious and moving love story full of second chances, loss and the courage to move on.

With its compelling combination of magic and love, THE LOST LOVE SONG reads like a holiday romance in all the best ways. Darke is a clever constructor of novels; she excels at dropping in little side plots and subtly tying them into the larger narrative. Though it is Diana’s love song that brings the characters together, it is the author who skillfully highlights how one piece of art can influence so many people in surprising ways. I loved watching the path that Diana’s song followed, jumping from ear to ear and making every character stop and listen. Equally powerful was the effect that the song had on each person who heard it, and how it seemed to respond to what he or she needed --- be it love, bravery or inspiration.

It should come as no surprise that you’ll have to suspend your disbelief a bit to follow along as the love song travels the world. Some scenes are overwritten and contrived, which does a disservice to the magic that the book produces. The writing of the final third especially could have been tightened to let Darke and Diana’s creation fully shine. That said, THE LOST LOVE SONG remains a wholly satisfying, truly magical novel as smartly written as it is romantic and tender, and perfect for fans of Love Actually and ME BEFORE YOU.

Reviewed by Rebecca Munro on October 30, 2020

The Lost Love Song
by Minnie Darke

  • Publication Date: October 13, 2020
  • Genres: Fiction, Romance, Women's Fiction
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books
  • ISBN-10: 0593160339
  • ISBN-13: 9780593160336