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Play for Me: A Novel
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Play for Me: A Novel

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  64 ratings  ·  32 reviews
It happens without warning: At a folk-rock show at her son’s college, Lily becomes transfixed by the guitarist’s unassuming onstage presence and beautiful playing—and with his final note, something within her breaks loose.

After the concert, Lily returns to her comfortable life—an Upper West Side apartment, a job as a videographer, and a kind if distracted husband—but she
Kindle Edition, 231 pages
Published April 21st 2015 by She Writes Press
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3.80  · 
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 ·  64 ratings  ·  32 reviews

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Jenni Ogden
Jun 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This is a story of second chances. Lilly is content, she thinks, or thinks she should think, although obviously experiencing the first pangs of the “empty nest syndrome” as her son leaves for college. And then she falls, heavily, adolescently, for a hippy musician (as we all do at least once but sometimes more frequently). The truth of this, that even very n mature, sensible women can suffer these crushes, is honestly portrayed, and even if this particular musician doesn’t rock every reader’s bo ...more
Kamy Wicoff
Apr 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't have an empty nest yet, but from the opening pages of this book I felt completely sympatico with the heroine of this thoughtful, moving story about midlife and personal evolution. I also truly admired the author's ability to write beautifully and evocatively about music, something that is very hard to do! Enjoyable and thought-provoking read.
Aug 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review for Chick Lit Central (

I felt the constant struggle within Lily. Recently an empty-nester, there’s a void within her that she has suppressed for many years. Her son’s new life at college has reminded her of the life she had given up when she’d decided to leave behind her own passions in order to take care of her family. There is something about the music, touching parts of her soul, making it an instant obsession. The reality of what’s right and wrong becomes blurr
Apr 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a great book! I sat down yesterday to read a few chapters of Play With Me, and to my surprise, finished it before the day was through. Lily's life and adventure captivated me from beginning to end - I didn't want to put it down. I found myself chuckling early on in the book - realizing how often I could relate to Lily's comments. I hated for it to end, it's the kind of story that really gets you thinking, and stays with you long after you've finished.
Dec 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This novel sings! When empty-nester Lily hears a duo perform in concert at her son’s college, she is captivated by the guitarist, the lure of music and the magic of performance. Keating writes about music with the knowledge of a music critic and the soul of a musician; she totally drew me into Lily’s life-changing enchantment with music and those who create it.
Apr 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I devoured this terrific novel on my flight home from CA, barely lifting my head until the moment we touched down. What a well-written, expertly paced, and utterly immersive book. At many points I actually forgotten I was reading, that is how vividly the story unfolded for me. I can already picture how this would translate beautifully to the big screen. Brava, Celine!
May 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Interesting book regarding morality and fidelity. It is a page turner and I read this book in one day. Celine Keating is a beautiful writer who keeps the story interesting, characters real, and the reader involved. Great book and I give it a 5 star rating. Thanks Goodreads!
Nadene  (Totally Addicted to Reading)
Play for Me by Celine Keating is not a novel I generally read. Now and then, I will read a book that brings me outside my comfort zone and I concluded that this book was going to be one for this year. My choice to read this book arose after reading the blurb, which I found fascinating. I was curious to find out what could inspire a woman to leave her husband of 23 years to pursue what she was convinced was a long-lost dream. My feelings on this book are variedI started out liking it, but by the ...more
May 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Is Lily having a mid-life crisis? If not, why would she uproot her life of comfort and success for a folk-rock guitarist? This is just what she does after attending a concert at her son’s college. She uses the pretense of making a film of the band, to join them on the road.

It doesn’t take long for Lily’s once strong ethical compass to go askew and for sparks to fly. A musician’s life is usually a difficult one, even that of a famous one. JJ is certainly not famous but he is young and talented. H
Tammy Hetrick
Sep 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Who, of a certain age, would not relate to this story? It's as though Keating has a lens into my own fantasies about being swept up by a provocative guitar player in a hip band! But she also has a lens into the trepidation we all feel if/when faced with actually stepping into a fantasy, and she uses this lens to tell Lily's story authentically. Solid writing and honest characters make Play For Me a great read.
Apr 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
From the first sentence of this book, when Lily watches her son's "loose, jaunty shamble" as he walks away from her and into his new life at college, you know you're in the hands of a masterful storyteller. PLAY FOR ME is a real, deep, wrenching and often funny novel about a woman's midlife romance. A great read -- highly recommended.
Nicole Waggoner
Jun 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While I am far from the empty nest stage of life, I was drawn into Lilly's story from the first line. Play for Me is well-written and insightful. Keating strums the ties that bind and the limits of fidelity and personal growth like a guitarist moving through a ballad. I recommend this book to anyone who's ever asked 'what's next?'.
Aug 22, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2 stars for the plot/characters that I didn't connect to but the writing was very good! I highlighted several quotes about marriage and motherhood.
May 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Celine Keating's novel is set in New York. The primary character is Lily, who lives in downtown Manhattan. She has a job, she has good friends, and she has a loving husband and a son. However, somehow something seems to be missing.
The story is eloquently spun, set within one year of Lily's life, beginning with the season of autumn. She and her husband are on their way to bring their son to college for his first year. During that trip Lily is mesmerized by a folk rock duo she hears at his school
May 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Play For Me centers around Lily who becomes distraught after sending her only child, Colby, off to college. To make her feel better, Colby invites his mom for a visit and during that visit he takes her to a James Taylor concert where up-and-coming folk rocker Blaise Raleigh would be opening. During Blaise's performance, Lily becomes captivated by her guitarist, Jackson Johnson (JJ). At the end of one particular song, the last note that JJ played seemed to shoot like an arrow straight to Lily's h ...more
Jul 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Such a great read with a stunning conclusion! I honestly expected to take my time getting through this one but once I started I couldn't stop until the end. I wound up getting through it in only a few hours time. I'm not even much of a reader, so you know it has to be good if I can say that!

From the get-go the books main character, Lily pulled me in. Lily leaves her job and her husband to join a folk-rock band after she sees them playing at her son's college. She becomes sort of hypnotized by t
Danielle Urban
May 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Play for Me by Celine Keating is a contemporary piece written mostly for women. I can feel the main characters' emotions as the scenes played out...I also noticed that the writer's book held her passion for music. Deep, entertaining, and well-told. As I followed the main character, Lily, I got lost within her story. She goes out doing what she loves and ends up entangled in her own problems. Decisions have to be made....and the consequences are intense. Making the novel's atmosphere that more el ...more
Aug 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars
Julie Failla Earhart

Lily’s story opens with Lily and her husband, Stephen, dropping their only son, Colby, off at college. Lily isn’t ready for an empty nest; Stephen is. Stephen has his work as a planner for the city of Manhattan. Lily creates educational and business videos for a small Manhattan firm. She struggles with her newly empty life.
Colby invites his mother to a James Taylor concert. Lily jumps at the chance to be with her son. However, it’s the opening band that changes Lily’s life forever. The guitaris
May 08, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Note: This ebook was provided by She Writes Press in exchange for an honest review.

Play for Me is a novel by Céline Keating about a woman named Lily whose life goes in a completely different direction when she hears the guitar playing of a musician named JJ. She has what appears to be the ideal life but to her, it has lost meaning when her son Colby goes off to college. It's almost as if she loses her purpose, no longer able to be the mother she was when Colby was living at home. Even as her hus
Oct 29, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I started this book and it really was a surprise to me, this book was one I didn't want to put down. The main character sends her son off the college and she is alone at home with her husband. She goes to a performance and the guitar player her spins his web with his music. She can't get him out of her head and she goes to a second performance. She finally puts in for time off work, she works as a videographer and tells her her husband that she has decided to travel with the band and tape them a ...more
Heather Alderman
I would actually give this 3.5 stars, I almost "really liked it" but would get frustrated with the main character at times. I was intrigued by this story since I first learned of it a couple of years ago. I could identify with some of what the main character was going through, but could never really sympathize with what she did and why. I would like to read more from this author.
Vicki Carbone
Nov 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lily! What are you thinking? You have a wonderful marriage with Stephen, a great son in Colby and (lucky you!) an incredible relationship with him -- amazing, given that he is now beginning his own life in college, and a wonderful job. And now you want to throw it all away for what you know will be a precarious relationship, at best, with JJ. If it sounds like I'm talking to a real person, it's because Celine Keating has created such amazing characters. The plot is great, rich in detail. The dia ...more
Aug 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I won this book in a Dear Reader contest.

Lily goes to visit her son at college and they go to a concert where she is taken with the guitar player. When she returns home she cannot get him out of her mind. She is a videographer who uses her profession to get close to him. I think she was going through a mid-life empty nest crises and needed the excitement he offered. He was younger than her so maybe she was looking for someone else to take care of. The problem is that she is married and she comp
Jun 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
At the beginning of the story, I thought this was just another story of a mid-life crisis. The story of Lily is so much more than facing the empty nest. Lily is going through the painful process of reinventing herself and it is so easy to relate to her at this phase of her life. Celine Keating has created a great character in Lily. Thanks to Celine for this Advanced Readers copy and Goodreads for this giveaway.
Nov 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
On the surface, this story revolves around the main character's midlife struggle with who she is and what she wants her future to be, which includes her attraction to a cool guitar player. But it's more than the man that draws her. Keating deftly explores the human need for and impact of music itself - where does it touch us and why? Her prose is emotion-packed. I enjoyed reading this book.
Rebecca Coffey
Jul 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel reminded me of Erica Jong's Fear of Flying. No, the husband isn't boring and self-absorbed. But this is the story of a woman at a moment when her reason for living has moved on without her, and she needs to find what to care about again. It's a "grab your joy" or "make your own joy" novel without a tidy ending (thank goodness). BTW, every sentence is a pleasure.
May 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Play For Me is a compelling women's fiction story that easily draws the reader into the drama and emotions that come with the complexity of life, the dynamics of relationships, learning to confront one's past, making choices, and moving forward. Set in New York City, the reader can't help but get drawn into Lily's story as she discovers that the empty nest lifestyle is not what she wants, so she embarks on a personal midlife journey of self-discovery and a chance to follow her desire and find ha ...more
Cristina B
Aug 25, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: not-gonna-finish
DNF at 54%. I didn't like anything about this book, except maybe the poor husband.
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Celine Keating is an award-winning author living in New York. Her second novel, Play for Me (2015) was an International Book Award finalist in literary fiction, as well as an Indie Excellence and a USA Book Award finalist. Her first novel, Layla, published in June, 2011, was chosen by both HuffPost and Poets & Writers as a must-read book, and was featured in the summer issues of Poets & Wr ...more
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