I can't say that I've had the pleasure of reading good ole Jane Austen's Persuasion to follow along this story with, but it was still an enjoyable read for me. From what I hear, readers said Tracey Martin did a swell job at it. Though I am jealous of readers who have read Persuasion, because I get off (not in a dirty way, guys) on retelling of classics myself, I still appreciated Another Little Piece of My Heart nonetheless.
Claire, our leading lady in the story and her band, had recently finished high school in hopes to attend Brown in the fall. Basically, all plans goes to crap. Her dad lost his job, they are selling their house, her college plans are put on hold, she has to share her red Miata with her sister when she gets her license, her father may or may not be dating his secretary, and they have to stay with her aunt, uncle and cousins in New Hampshire for a month. It's not how Claire expected her summer to go. Oh, and her band is breaking up without warning. That's not even the worst of it. Once she's there looking for a summer job, her past rears its ugly head. Except that head is anything but ugly. He's the ever-so-gorgeous and famous rockstar, Jared Steele, Claire's first and only love. The one who wrote a nasty hit single about her and her red Miata, because he misunderstood the reason behind their break up. They haven't seen or spoken to each other since their breakup two years ago, so you can imagine their surprise when they bump into each other in the tiny college town. He's there with a friend for a month to get some inspiration for his next album.
Along the way, we get glimpses of how they met and in their relationship and the future they once planned together all the way up until the break up as Claire reminisces from time to time. And in such a small college town, being in mutual social circles, they find themselves spending a lot of time around each other. It's kind of hard to escape. A lot of working, hanging out, date nights, family time, music writing and playing, a concert, and a camping trip fills the story. The times that Claire and Jared do interact on good terms thanks to their love of music, they bond when Claire's song hits a snag. That was a sweet moment, and they easily fall into old ways trying to finish working on that song. Their interactions that brought up old times, like their old game of "huns" or anything music, are few and far in between, but it was enough to know that they still have love for each other, no matter how hurt they are and how much time has passed. All this time, Claire has been working on a song that has been bugging her but can't seem to get it right. In the end, music has the power to bring people together.
Jumping into this book, I thought that this story would be emotionally heavy because of Claire's mothers passing, but she had passed before the story started. Claire reminisces a bit about her mom back when she was alive, and I can see why Claire wasn't so emotional about her. Then I thought there would be a lot of pushing and pulling and malicious antics once the couple reunited after all these years, but there wasn't any (minus one comment from Jared). I also expected there would be a lot of temptation to get back to where they once were, and much to my surprise, Claire and Jared were pretty platonic at most until the very end. In books with similar situations, I found myself thinking that this story would be revolved around the reconciliation and second chance romance. But the secondary characters were very much heavily involved in the story, and I loved that. They are so essential to the story as well as in Claire's life. So I guess you can say that everything I assumed about the story was all wrong. I almost wished that I had read Persuasion before, but pushed that thought aside because I loved how it turned out to be so different than I had anticipated.
I found myself kind of frustrated with Claire at times because she let others walk all over her just to appease them, and in return she gets hurt and ends up hurting others. But I also hurt with her. I was frustrated with her father even more so. Family is a touchy subject. It's not perfect. Claire's family is one of many that some people really do deal with. It's an unfortunate case, but at least they honestly care about Claire's well-being and future. Some don't even care at all -- not even about their safety or whereabouts. Yes, Claire's parents' heads weren't in the right place in terms of what matters to Claire, but their hearts were. It's still no excuse for what they thought she should and shouldn't do with her life. If they truly cared about Claire's feelings, they wouldn't have pressured and encouraged her to break up with the love of her life. You've got to make mistakes in order to learn. It's a part of life. If you're not making mistakes and learning from them, are you really living? Her parents were practically asking her to break her own heart by breaking the heart of a boy who holds hers. I mean, I understand where Claire is coming from when she explains that when you're mom is dying, you would do anything for her, but that was just too much. There has to be a line somewhere. Now if Jared was a terrible person and boyfriend, then I'd be on the parental unit's side. But their assumptions about him couldn't be more off. I kept mentally yelling at Claire to follow what her little heart desires, because we only get one life and it should be filled with happiness and love. I was glad when she finally listened and stopped denying her heart.
One of Claire's friend, Kristen, that I couldn't connect with her more. Even over the phone, which is most of her presence in the story. She reminds me of myself, because I answer the phone with the same lines as she had. We also share another thing, and that is psychology. I love dumping a load of psychology BS on my friends too, in hopes that they would take something from it and apply to their life if my words of wisdom doesn't help. So I understood all the psychology she threw at Claire. I know that we'd get along if she were a person in real life.
The music that Tracey Martin mentioned in this book which are important to the characters, were impeccable, I've got to applaud Martin for her music taste. My first love is music, so, just like Claire and Jared, music is what solidified my connection with the characters and the book in its entirety. Like with books, I completely immersed myself in this one and got lost in the music that they shared and created. It's also a part of the reason why this book is so close to my heart.
This may not be important to anyone else, but Claire and I have the same birthday (although a few years apart), so I fangirled a little more having learned that. I love it when I share a birthday with a characters in the books that I read.
I was bummed to say the least that we don't get a chance to dive into Jared's mind, as the entire book is in Claire's POV. I would love to know what was going through his head and heart. Apart from wanting a longer ending, that was my only problem with this story. I wish there was an epilogue or a novella, so we can get more of them. I thoroughly immersed myself, heart and soul, in the sweet lyrical love story that is Claire and Jared. It proves that music really can heal and mend you together.