Heard it in a Love Song
Heard It in a Love Song has a lot of charm to it. The characters are likeable and the romance they embark on is enjoyable, but one of their ex spouses is such a louse that I couldn’t believe that they’d ever have stayed married to the person for such a long time.
Layla Hilding is trying to scrape her life back together. At thirty-five, she’s trying to get used to being divorced from Liam, her cheating, financially abusive husband of ten years – and with the entire process of separation being acrimonious, she just wants a fresh start. Her music career never took off – she gave it up to please Liam and establish a career while keeping him in style – but that’s all over. Now she’s working as a music teacher at a local elementary school.
Josh walks his kindergarten-aged daughter to school every day, which is how he meets her music teacher, Layla. Now a single father to Sasha, Josh’s marriage of twenty years to his high school girlfriend, Kimmy, eventually shattered after her high-paying corporate job and his more blue collar home refurbishment job finally clashed, making them realize they’d outgrown one another.
Layla and Josh aren’t looking for commitment. In fact, they decide to keep things casual. But he’s inspiring her to write music again, and she’s made him realize just what he’s worth. Might they have found true love together?
Heard it in a Love Song is a solid, kind tale of two ordinary people with baggage who fall in love. I liked Layla, the also-ran rockstar, and her desire to be more, to do more, as she rediscovers the dream she’d given up. Josh is a good father and good at his job, but he’s mortal and human and that makes all the difference.
A lot of the novel is spent on the past, and on the relationships Layla and Josh left behind. While I found the sad, Kramer vs. Kramer-like marriage between Josh and Kimmy relatable and heartbreaking, and I enjoyed Sasha as a character, Layla’s relationship with Liam is so atrocious in general that I didn’t know why she married the man in the first place. He deprives her of her dreams, spends money recklessly, cheats on her endlessly, and brags recklessly – he’s rarely charming on-page and oft it seems like a total creep. Layla mostly seems to be hanging on hoping the relationship will stop sucking for most of the book, a relief she is never granted.
I wanted much less Liam and much more of Layla and Josh’s relationship, but a lot of it gets pushed to the back burner for their divorce dramas and Kimmy’s choice to re-enter Josh and Sasha’s lives to invoke custody drama (it really DOES feel like Karmer vs. Kramer). Layla and Josh grow up and towards each other and it’s lovely, but I wanted way more of that on the page.
Heard it in a Love Song is touching, the romance is lovely, but its lack of focus on the love story makes it a just-okay read.