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The Idea of You

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Solène Marchand, the thirty-nine-year-old owner of an art gallery in Los Angeles, is reluctant to take her daughter, Isabelle, to meet her favorite boy band. But since her divorce, she’s more eager than ever to be close to Isabelle. The last thing Solène expects is to make a connection with one of the members of the world-famous August Moon. But Hayes Campbell is clever, winning, confident, and posh, and the attraction is immediate. That he is all of twenty years old further complicates things.

What begins as a series of clandestine trysts quickly evolves into a passionate and genuine relationship. It is a journey that spans continents as Solène and Hayes navigate each other’s worlds: from stadium tours to international art fairs to secluded hideaways in Paris and Miami. For Solène, it is a reclaiming of self, as well as a rediscovery of happiness and love. When Solène and Hayes’ romance becomes a viral sensation, and both she and her daughter become the target of rabid fans and an insatiable media, Solène must face how her romantic life has impacted the lives of those she cares about most.

372 pages, Paperback

First published June 13, 2017

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About the author

Robinne Lee

3 books1,977 followers
ROBINNE LEE is an actor, writer and producer. A graduate of Yale University and Columbia Law School, Robinne was born and raised in Westchester County, New York. Robinne has numerous acting credits in both television and film, most notably opposite Will Smith in both Hitch and Seven Pounds. She recently completed shooting Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed, playing Ros Bailey. Robinne currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two children. The Idea of You is her first novel.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 6,098 reviews
Profile Image for Robinne Lee.
Author 3 books1,977 followers
May 28, 2017
So, it appears this is indeed really happening. Just pinching myself. And perhaps freaking out a little. Yikes!!
September 1, 2022
****4.25 STARS****

This book is not for everyone. It's an either you love it or you hate it type of book.

Unfiltered review... https://wp.me/p7ZSCH-4cd
5 Minute Book Review Podcast... https://wp.me/p7ZSCH-4cj

Solène is beautiful, smart, and sexy. She is also 39 years old and someone most 20 year old pop stars are quick to look past. Except for Hayes, a sexy British boy band member who finds himself gravitating to Solène.

They say opposites attract and if we are going by age differences here Solène and Hayes are complete opposites. Plus, Solène has a 12 year old daughter who happens to believe she is in love with Hayes herself, as many other young girls around the world.

So, what’s a woman to do when she finds herself in that situation? Of course. . . sleep with him – too bad that decision was going to change to course of their lives that no one could have predicted. The real question here was, how much would that decision affect those they loved as well?
“You afraid?” He asked.

I nodded.

“So am I. But I’m all right with that. If I get hurt, I get hurt. It happens, right? Someone always gets hurt. But I don’t want to miss out on us because I was afraid.” – Hayes

I can’t remember the last book I read that made me want to find a way for two people to be together when the odds were stacked against them so much. The author does such an amazing job of creating the world of Solène and Hayes. I honestly felt like I was there with them as they traveled throughout the world getting lost in themselves together – or at the idea of each other.

But sometimes age isn’t just a number, sometimes it’s just a life fact. That same life fact caused a lot of hurt and turmoil for the ones around Solène and Hayes. . . and each other. At times, The Idea Of You was so painful to read. I shed real tears.
“How did we get here? This was only supposed to be lunch, remember? This was only ever supposed to be lunch.”

“You,” he said, his voice frayed, foreign.


“You. You let me unfold you.” – Solène/Hayes"

At some point, this story stopped being cliche or taboo and became a pure love story. The author takes us on the same path as Solène and Hayes as though we were living it right along with them. Their love, their passion, their pain, their heartbreak becomes the readers same love, passion, pain, and heartbreak. This story goes far beyond the stigma of age, it’s a true and pure love story. It just happens to be a love story of an older woman and younger man. When an older man becomes involved with a younger woman, it’s accepted. When an older woman becomes involved with a younger man, it’s frowned upon.

Do I recommend this book? Yes, I do. Just know that this book isn't for everyone. You have to go into it with an open mind.
Will I read another book by this author? Yes. If she decides to make this one into a duet, I will scream will joy.

Follow all things messy. . .

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Profile Image for Bibi.
1,282 reviews3,268 followers
July 8, 2021
I've lost count of the number of times I picked up and set aside this book, ultimately deciding that a DNF was the right course of action.

Seeing as how the older woman-younger man trope is one of my all time favorites, frankly, I was surprised at how much I disliked the plot, including its main protagonist, Solene.

She being a 39 year-old mother who happened to be French-American, who also owned a successful art gallery who fell helplessly in love with a 20 year old pop star. You know what? It was all just too much.

And pretentious.

Additionally, it's a premise that has been done before (and done better, IMHO) by Dee Ernst with A Different Kind of Forever.

So, yeah, DNF @ 50%.
Profile Image for Christy.
3,814 reviews32.4k followers
June 13, 2018
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The Idea of You is a fabulous forbidden love story. I listened to this book over a week ago and I still find myself thinking about it. There is something to be said about a story that stays with you like that. Also, the audio book was fantastic (the author narrated it herself) and I would highly recommend listening if you like audio books.

Solène is a divorcee with a teenage daughter. She is independent and runs her own art gallery. Solène has drive. She always has. I love that about her. One night, she finds her self in Vegas with her teenage daughter, Isabelle, and Isabelle's friends to see the biggest boy band out there. This boy band is a full of charming, twenty something British boys. The very last thing Solène expects to happen is to forge a connection with one of them.

Hayes Campbell is enamored with Solène from the moment he lays eyes on her. Being together seems impossible for this pair, but they can't stay away from one another. They're drawn together. Navigating this relationship has so many obstacles and more consequences than either one of them can imagine.
“You afraid?” he asked. I nodded. “So am I. But I’m all right with that. If I get hurt, I get hurt. It happens, right? Someone always gets hurt. But I don’t want to miss out on us because I was afraid.”

I loved Hayes and Solène together. When they were with each other, you could almost forget that Solène was twice Hayes age, or that there were so many things in their way. I just wanted them to be able to work it out. Overall, I felt that Hayes was much more mature than the average 20 year old male, and I think that helped. This story captivated me from the start. It made me feel, gave me anxiety, and broke my heart. Still, I'm happy I read it. It was a beautiful and emotional experience that I won't be forgetting any time soon!
Profile Image for ✰ Bianca ✰ BJ's Book Blog ✰ .
2,150 reviews1,205 followers
October 22, 2022

Solène is 39. Mom to 12-year-old Isabelle. Divorced. Art Gallery owner. And right now she's backstage at a Las Vegas concert hall seeing him for the first time: Hayes. Twenty-year-old pop superstar; singer in the boy band AUGUST MOON!
This boy has put his mega-flirt-hat on and Solène can't help but flirt back! She could be his mother!!!

But can an almost 40 year old lady and a world famous superstar half her age have anything real and lasting? Solène's daughter and the rest of the world think NOT - once they find out....




I loved this book!

I knew from the sound of the blurb that I was probably going to like it - because there's nothing I love more than Rock Star Romances! BUT - this was sooo much better than I could've ever hoped for. I was a tiny little bit skeptic about Solène being so much older than Hayes, but pfffff, once I met both of them, I didn't care about the age difference at all.

I'm 39 myself and I just jumped right into this book and became Solène for a few hours! I was right in there living this amazing adventure. All those amazingly adorable & sexy & emotional & just beautiful moments in hotel rooms in New York City, at a pool in the South of France. All the ups and downs of such a complicated new love. All those new feelings and fears.

I just loved reading this story. Poor Solène is feeling all those things you would think she is feeling... that she's way too old, that it's going to hurt her daughter, her family, her business, that she'd be ridiculed by friends and the media. But Hayes is so much more mature than that number 20 in his passport might let you think at first. He's so sweet and kind and sincere and British - let's not forget the sexiest things about him: his posh, sexy, British accent! And his young, mega-hot body!! No wonder she couldn't resist, but the longer it goes on, the harder it gets ... this wasn't supposed to last. This was supposed to only be ... lunch. ☺

We hope all through the book that there will be a happily ever after, but of course we're also not really sure if Solène and Hayes ending up together would be that HEA for everyone involved. But we sure hope so. But we know what happened with Demi & Ashton! ☺☺☺

The story has all the amazingness of a rock star romance, but we also have so much more in there. Life as a divorced mom. A business owner. A woman in the Los Angeles business world. The whole fantasy part of it: that this would never in a million years happen to us. But we can still hope that it could ... Thank you for that Robinne! (Not that I plan on seducing a boy half my age any time soon! For my tastes he could've been a bit older ;) or just make me a bit younger!)
There's sooo much in here; if this was a movie you wouldn't know where to look first! I also realllly want this to become a movie one day!!!

It's definitely a book that stays with you for a while. I was up until 3am to finish it - and now - a day later, I still get these images in my head. Scenes from the book. Hayes smiling by the pool in France. Solène and Hayes walking through whatever city they were in at the moment. The phone calls - the texts - the sexy times. ☺ *sighs* I never wanted this story to end!

Robinne managed to create an amazingly beautiful story! So perfectly written too! And it's her first!!! Jeez - I'm almost afraid to see what will come out of Ms. Lee's typewriter next!!!☺☺☺

THE IDEA OF YOU was such a beautiful & sunshiney lovestory. About finding yourself again - starting the next chapter of your life - hard decisions - beautiful places and people. Amazing book. Run to your nearest amazon for your own Hayes, because this one is MINE!!!


P.S. I will put a few thoughts into a Spoiler thingy - my thoughts about the end - Happy or not? And about a few other little things! Please don't read it if you don't want to be spoiled!

P.P.S. Yes, I have to admit that I imagined Harry Styles while reading. Only without those weird tattoos. I was never a fan of him and his boyband years, but he's definitely making up for it now with his new amazing song, so it felt totally okay for me to see Harry in Hayes! It's also totally okay for a 39-year-old blogger to fantasize!☺☺

P.P.P.S. Did you know that fictional Hayes and Solène have their own real-life twitters??? Check it out - they're posting real Hayes and Solène-y things! I LOVE IT!

P.P.P.P.S. I also LOVE the cover. The colors, the lipstick, the Hayes-in-the-glasses-detail. LOVE IT!


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Profile Image for ~IreneOust~.
509 reviews784 followers
July 26, 2017
Once in a while a book comes along that renders you speechless. Because it tells a story so compelling, so thought provoking, so emotional and so exquisitely written that you are left reeling. For DAYS after you've finished. 'The Idea of You' by Robinne Lee is one of those books.

To say I was blown away by EVERYTHING about this story would be an understatement. It checked off every single box I need for a book to be an exceptional read. Angst. Humor. Amazing dialogue. Unique subject matter. Pop culture. Love story. Depth. Amazing leads and phenomenal supporting cast. But most of all, it brought on the feels. So many feels. I don't think I've even been this anxious reading a book ... ever. And I say this in the most flattering way possible. The story kept me on the edge of my seat till the very last page. A roller-coaster of emotions only added to an already amazing reading experience.

This is one of those stories that offers so much food for thought that one can't simply review it and move on. Or maybe it's just me. I finished this days ago and I am still thinking about. Thinking about how, in this day and age, the doubles standards are alive and well. Thinking about how people will always have an opinion and how everyone is always so quick to judge you without having walked a mile in your shoes. Thinking about how much we, mothers, sacrifice for our kids.

I think it's safe to say I won't be getting over this read any time soon. It's just one of those stories that makes it's way into your heart and stays there. Permanently. Whether you like it or not. I urge everyone, especially everyone in their late 30s and on, to read this book with an open mind. If nothing else, you'll enjoy the scenery.

And in conclusion I want to say that, even though it's only July, 'The Idea of You' is my pick for BOOK OF THE YEAR 2017. That's all.

Till next time ...

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Profile Image for Patty ~ Wrapped Up In Reading Book Blog.
1,260 reviews9,961 followers
August 5, 2017
*****FIVE+++++++++ STARS*****
{Book Gifted to me by my Bestie Boo}

He leaned into me then, his mouth near my ear, his breath hot on my neck. The thought occurred that I would miss this when he moved on. When he was with someone ten years my junior, and I was somewhere invisible. I was going to miss his hands. This.

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I had seen this book starting to generate a buzz on Goodreads and I have to say that my interest was piqued as I’m always in search of a good romance between an older woman and younger man. I want to say a huge THANK YOU to my Bestie Boo for gifting this book and urging me to drop everything and read it. She was right! This book was captivating! The romance was breathtaking and oh so very heartbreaking. I know this story is going to haunt me for quite some time. It felt so real! For just a little while it was wonderful to live in the world of these two beautiful characters whose love for each other was beyond magical.

Soléne Marchand is a single mother of a beautiful thirteen-year-old girl. At nearly forty, her life is pretty fulfilling and rewarding. She owns a successful art gallery with her best friend. It brings her great joy but it is one of the reasons why her marriage ended a few years back. Her husband was not supportive of her need to have a career. Her love life has been non-existent since her divorce but that's all about to change drastically when she ends up chaperoning her daughter and a few of her friends to an “August Moon” concert in Las Vegas. The girls all had backstage passes and during a meet and greet Soléne comes face to face with the extremely beautiful lead singer, Hayes Campbell. Sparks fly right from the start between them. Soléne is just a little thrown off kilter when she learns he’s twenty—nearly half her age!

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The two manage to find time here and there when Hayes is able to be in Los Angeles during breaks in their world tour. Hayes and Soléne have an undeniably intense chemistry but neither of them could have anticipated that what was building between them was like nothing else they had ever experienced before. Their passion for each other was bordering on obsession and out of that came a love that was so overwhelming and ultimately they were consumed by it.

They travel to some of the most beautiful and romantic destinations across the world during August Moon’s tour and while they’re able to spend some stolen moments enjoying each other’s bodies and getting lost in their passionate affair, things are far from perfect. Soléne is constantly reminded of their age difference and having to deal with many obsessed fans, and also the horrible backlash via social media. She’s also been keeping her relationship with Haye’s a secret from her daughter because her little girl has quite the teenaged crush on Hayes.

While Soléne has been keeping in the back of her mind the knowledge that their time together will ultimately come to an end, Hayes has been falling just as hopelessly in love with her as she has been with him. He sees Soléne as his FOREVER. At times I felt that he was so much wiser than his years and then on other occasions, he was very much a young boy with a romanticized view of life.

This story was incredible and I enjoyed the hours I spent getting swept away by this captivating romance. I wished for rainbows and unicorns. I was left in tears. The author did an outstanding job with this book. I love it when a book can make me feel so intensely and I know in my heart that this is one I will read time and time again.

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EXQUISITE! I will always love Hayes but I will also always admire Soléne for her extraordinary strength of character and selflessness.

I HIGHLY recommend this one!
Profile Image for Mali Mor ❤️ The Romantic Blogger.
422 reviews525 followers
August 14, 2020


39-year-old Solène Marchand is divorced and a mother of a 13-year-old girl. She takes her daughter and her friends to Vegas to watch their favorite boy band show, "August Moon" and at a behind-the-scenes fan meeting, she meets Hayes Campbell, the 20-year-old band member. 🔥

Hayes is mature and sensitive with lots of charisma - and I loved it - it's been a while since I've read about a hero that does not fall into the "pop star" clichés. 👏
Despite the huge age gap (19 years!!!) there is no denying the chemistry between the two, but what begins as a harmless flirtation, soon becomes a secret relationship in which Solène finds herself wanted again... 😍

📚 “𝐈 𝐜𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐛𝐞 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐦𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫, 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐤𝐧𝐨𝐰.”
“𝐁𝐮𝐭 𝐲𝐨𝐮’𝐫𝐞 𝐧𝐨𝐭.”
“𝐁𝐮𝐭 𝐈 𝐜𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐛𝐞.”
“𝐁𝐮𝐭 𝐲𝐨𝐮’𝐫𝐞 𝐧𝐨𝐭.” 📚

There are lots of reasons why they should not be together - Hayes has millions of fans and his life is a public matter - what will everyone think? They come from different worlds and the age difference between them is significant, so how can they overcome the obstacles...? 😱

This is a complex and emotional love story. The fun, pain and the dramas were brilliantly presented, because when I started reading, I did not think I would be convinced that a successful 20-year-old man could fall in love with an older woman... but I totally felt it. 💝

📚 “𝐃𝐨𝐧’𝐭 𝐠𝐨 𝐟𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐢𝐧 𝐥𝐨𝐯𝐞 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐦𝐞, 𝐇𝐚𝐲𝐞𝐬 𝐂𝐚𝐦𝐩𝐛𝐞𝐥𝐥.”
“𝐈’𝐦 𝐧𝐨𝐭 𝐠𝐨𝐧𝐧𝐚 𝐟𝐚𝐥𝐥 ��𝐧 𝐥𝐨𝐯𝐞 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐲𝐨𝐮. 𝐈’𝐦 𝐚 𝐫𝐨𝐜𝐤 𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐫. 𝐖𝐞 𝐝𝐨𝐧’𝐭 𝐝𝐨 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭.”
“𝐘𝐨𝐮’𝐫𝐞 𝐚 𝐛𝐨𝐲 𝐛𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐦𝐞𝐦𝐛𝐞𝐫.”
“𝐖𝐞𝐥𝐥… 𝐈 𝐠𝐮𝐞𝐬𝐬 𝐚𝐥𝐥 𝐛𝐞𝐭𝐬 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐨𝐟𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐧.” 📚

And even though there were some editing problems, the writing was great and the characters were well-developed (and this is the author's first book!!! 👏). However, there were times when I felt like the writing was too formally and there were parts where the descriptions were a bit exhausting - but compared to similar books, I did not want to stop... I just had to know how the story would end. 💝

My main problem was that I couldn't imagine Hayes, because it was clear from the start who he was written about: a guy in the world's most famous British pop band, has curly hair and dimples, loves older women, share's artistic photos on his Instagram and has a problematic relationship with the rest of his band members. Hmm... sounds familiar?! (not yet? just look at my edit. lol) 😂😂😂

📚 "𝐘𝐨𝐮 𝐝𝐨𝐧'𝐭 𝐰𝐚𝐧𝐭 𝐦𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐬𝐞𝐞 𝐰𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐥𝐢𝐯𝐞? 𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐡𝐢𝐝𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐨𝐯𝐞𝐫 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞? 𝐀𝐧𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐛𝐨𝐲 𝐛𝐚𝐧𝐝?"
"𝐘𝐞𝐬. 𝐘𝐨𝐮'𝐯𝐞 𝐟𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐝 𝐦𝐞 𝐨𝐮𝐭. 𝐈'𝐯𝐞 𝐠𝐨𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐁𝐚𝐜𝐤𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐞𝐞𝐭 𝐁𝐨𝐲𝐬 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐚𝐭𝐭𝐢𝐜."
𝐇𝐞 𝐩𝐚𝐮𝐬𝐞𝐝 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐚 𝐬𝐞𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐝 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐧 𝐛𝐞𝐠𝐚𝐧 𝐭𝐨 𝐥𝐚𝐮𝐠𝐡. "𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐁𝐚𝐜𝐤𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐞𝐞𝐭 𝐁𝐨𝐲𝐬? 𝐇𝐨𝐰 𝐨𝐥𝐝 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐚𝐠𝐚𝐢𝐧?"
"𝐒𝐡𝐮𝐭 𝐮𝐩, 𝐇𝐚𝐲𝐞𝐬." 📚

Hayes may be young, but he's not a kid. He traveled the world and experienced a lot - but I liked that he was sometimes presented as just a 20-year-old guy, so we won't forget their gaps.
I liked that there are no chapters - but places that Solène visited: Las Vegas, New York, the Hampton's, Japan and more...
I liked the conflict: why in our society is it normal for a man to love a younger woman, but the opposite is not acceptable?? 😬
And... even though not everyone will agree - I really liked the ending. 💥

The book addresses important issues: our obsession with celebs, the disadvantages of fame (and not as a positive thing), double standards and different expectations from men and women... and of course, unconditional love. 💝

I'm so thirsty to talk about this book, the message behind it and its crazy ending - that I still have in my mind even MONTHS after I finished reading it!!! 😱
I'm sure a lot will raise an eyebrow, but if there's one thing we're all looking for in a book, is originality. I'm tired of reading about the same patterns and clichés - and in this book, there are none.
So while it was not perfect, I have no doubt that it's a book I will never forget. ❤😍


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Profile Image for Sophia Triad.
2,239 reviews3,454 followers
September 16, 2018
I had so maaany expectations from this book and in the end I did not really like the story.
If you follow my reviews, you will probably have noticed that I don't mind big age differences between the two main characters of a romance story. I actually prefer older women-younger men stories and 15-20 years are definitely a good age difference for me ;)

So, why did I not like the story???


***some spoilers***

There is this 40 years old woman so French, so sophisticated, so educated, so beautiful, so perfect, so world travelled, so indifferent (especially to her teenager daughter that she has just started realising that she is a woman).
And there is this 20 years old man so British, so famous, so rich, so mature for his age, so pretty, so perfect, so world travelled, so unconcerned about how his decisions can influence so many people (the fans that they never expect that their idol can behave like a human being, and also his older girlfriend who is full of fears about what people think).

Thus in the whole book you have these two people who meet other people who are friends with other people and who live the high life who travel all around the world who make love like they don't care and there is no tomorrow.
Until they have a few moments of tension.
And then they are back meeting other people who are friends with other people and living the high life keep travelling all around the world and making love like they don't care and there is no tomorrow.

And there are the discussions about art, the chic dinners, the flutes of champagne, the french, the swimming pools.

Apparently none of these two lovers will be crumpled and brought to his/her knees (except maybe in the end Haynes and this happens with so much coolness and detachment that I wanted to scream).

And then there is the actual ending, which made me want to throw my ebook reader to the opposite wall. This is not a way to end a romance novel!

So, I was actually wondering why there is all this drama in the first place? It was just a trivial fling after all.
Profile Image for KAS.
317 reviews3,130 followers
April 25, 2019
4 Swagger!! Stars

As per the blurb, this is an older woman/younger man romance, but oh my, so much more! Lust and passion! Trials and tribulations! Heartbreak and consequences! Yep, it is all in here!! Throw into the mix the H is a worldwide sensation pop star who is so darn charming, and you have quite the interesting storyline, quite an engaging read!

”What are you thinking?” He smiled that disarming smile.

”I want to know what your intentions are, Hayes Campbell.”

”What are your intentions? Did you come here to sell me art?”


”Hmm...” he said, without breaking eye contact. “Well ... I came to buy whatever you’re selling.”

In that moment, it didn’t matter how old he was or how many fans he amassed. In that moment, he had me. And I realized that in just knowing that I could have a fling was not going to be enough.

Thank you, Bozica, for recommending this book! I enjoyed and will undoubtedly have a “Hayes” hangover :)
Profile Image for Jennifer.
1,727 reviews6,663 followers
July 28, 2019
“The fact that we continuously equate beauty and desirability with youth. That we beat ourselves up instead of embracing the inevitable.”
I really needed to read this book. The messages portrayed were incredibly validating and empowering. I am approaching middle age much too quickly for my liking while simultaneously residing in an area highly populated with university students. I do not recommend the combination. There are times when I feel completely invisible. No, I don't need to turn heads for self-worth, but I think we can all agree that as human beings it's nice to be registered. To be seen. It's been an eye-opening experience about how our world works, about double standards, about undervaluing women, and these are the messages threaded throughout Robinne Lee's debut novel.

In The Idea of You, our divorced, almost forty-year-old heroine is romantically pursued by a famous young man many years her junior. Everything's legal, don't worry, but the age difference is on everyone's mind and that is the focal point of this book. It creates internal/external situations that promote self-reflection, and when we acknowledge our own judgments we can start to change them. It teaches that women remain desirable, strong, and sexually viable as they age: there is no end date. It calls out gender-based double standards. It empowers women to block out all the patriarchal noise and build the life they want. When we change our thoughts, we change our world. This. This is what I needed.

With gorgeous settings, soul-soothing art, and a perspective I didn't expect, The Idea of You was a surprisingly sophisticated romance that I thoroughly enjoyed. I'm almost sorry I didn't read it sooner but timing is everything, right? Check it out.

My favorite quote:
“I turned forty. And the world did not end. The firmament did not move. Gravity did not suddenly forsake me. My breasts, my ass, my eyelids were all pretty much where I’d left them the night before. As was my lover.”
Profile Image for Melanie A..
1,064 reviews396 followers
July 10, 2019
5+++ STARS!! [My FAVORITE book of the last few YEARS!!]
"If I get hurt, I get hurt. It happens, right? Someone always gets hurt. But I don't want to miss out on us because I was afraid."
Before I begin this heartfelt LOVEFEST, let me say that I get that this book is not for everyone . . . but holy cow, was it ever for me! This book made my heart sing. This book made my soul cry. This book pulled me into its depths and didn’t let me go – not even when it was over. I loved EVERY.SINGLE.WORD.

Honestly, the premise didn't thrill me but I wasn't opposed to it . . . Solene takes her 12 year old daughter and her friends to a meet-and-greet for their favorite boy band. The last thing she expects is to attract the attention of one of the members of the band. Hayes Campbell may be beautiful, but at 20, he’s nineteen years her junior.

OH HOLY WOW, The Idea of You was not what I was expecting. IMO, this was contemporary romance at its absolute best. Its pages were filled with an intelligence, sensuality, and intimacy that I could not get enough of.

Like every great book, the writing is the core of its beauty. The dialogue between Solene and Hayes was superb; the playfulness, the intensity, the tension . . . their differences and their love all played out within the subtlety of their words.
"It’s only been two weeks," I said.

"For you it’s been two weeks. For me it’s been ten cities.” He reached for my hand then. Suggestive.

"Well, if that’s how you’re measuring time –"

"Ten cities . . . What, thirteen shows? Three hundred fifty thousand screaming girls . . . who were not you."

"No. I’ve never been a screaming girl."

"Well, we’ll have to change that, won’t we?"
I also loved how the mood of the writing changed to reflect every stage of Solene and Hayes's relationship - from the sweetness of the beginning…
Oh, to have captured the expression on Hayes’s face when he glanced up to find me. Joy, surprise, promise, and disbelief all rolled into a singular moment.
…to the high of newfound emotion…
For a moment, he held my gaze and I felt that distinct rush. The realization that this attraction had ceased to be just physical. That somewhere I’d crossed over. That I liked him.
…to the melancholy when things became more complicated…
I drew him, naked, lying on his stomach, a peaceful expression on his boyish face. His beauty was so exquisite it was unnerving. And I knew, even then, that I was capturing something unspoiled and consummate.
And I SO loved that this author had so much to say about being a woman in a society that judges everything from appearances to sexuality, aging, and parenting. Like I said in the beginning, this book had some real depth to it, and I could go on and on about how much I loved that, but I won't bore you with my political views, lol. Because, truly, at its heart, this was a love story between two people who were at very different places in their lives.

The juxtaposition of their ages can be seen throughout the story. It had its wonderful moments...
That was part of the beauty of Hayes being twenty. That occasionally we saw the world completely differently, and at times it was refreshing.
...and its frustrating moments...
I wanted to hit him. For being so fucking stupid. For exposing us like that. But what good would it have done? It's not as if he were solely to blame.
But in the end, love is still love no matter what age you are . . . which brings us to that ending:

Under no circumstances should you enter this spoiler if you don't want to know.
Profile Image for Brandice.
857 reviews
December 22, 2020
This Book! After her ex-husband changes his plans last minute, Solene Marchand agrees to take her daughter Isabelle to a concert and meet-and-greet with boy band, August Moon. What she doesn’t expect is to hit it off with lead singer, Hayes Campbell, who is 20 years old. She’s 39. ⁣

The Idea of You follows Hayes and Solene’s tumultuous relationship (or as the book blurb aptly describes it “clandestine trysts”) sneaking around across the globe while August Moon tours and Hayes fulfills endorsement obligations. Solene must balance being a mom and co-owner of an art gallery while spending time with Hayes. Once their relationship is revealed publicly, Solene has to face the impact it has on others, including Isabelle. ⁣

I got sucked into this immediately! At parts, my interest waned slightly as I felt it became repetitive — Yes, Solene is older. Yes, they can’t keep their hands off each other. Yes, other people are judging them. At the same time, I couldn’t get enough of this story.

I’m still not sure how I feel about the ending though I appreciate that The Idea of You went well-beyond a traditional romcom or stereotypical story most of us have already seen played out.
Profile Image for Chelsea (chelseadolling reads).
1,478 reviews19.3k followers
August 10, 2021
In my time on the book internets, I have been recommended this book more than any other. It's an age-gap, Harry Styles inspired romance; what more could I possible ask for?????? A lot, apparently. This book was a pretty big let down. I *get* why this book is so loved by so many, but for me this ended up being pretty much the antithesis to what I had hoped it would be. Everything about this just took itself too seriously for my liking, and the relationship between Solene and Hayes honestly just felt more predatory than empowering to me and I am so bummed that I didn't love this!!!

With that being said, if anyone has any recs for other older woman/young man romances that were done better, I am very open to suggestions! I think this is a trope I could love, but this particular one just didn't do it for me
Profile Image for Penny.
740 reviews209 followers
April 15, 2020
I have no idea how to rate this book. Do I hate it, or do I love it. What I know for sure is that it didn't leave me indifferent. I am hesitating between giving it 1 star or 4 stars, it is so confusing...

This is a very slow story, specially the first half. I was a little bored and almost quit it, but I continued, and towards the last 20% percent or so it started to get more intense and emotional, which I always love to feel. Basically, almost the entire book is a build up. Nothing really happened and yet the whole thing was overly dramatic. I could say I only actually enjoyed a small part of the book, although it was an intense part. It ended leaving me full of feelings, that is for sure. That end...I don't know. I feel anger and understanding. I think I hate it, but I also believe the book would have been weaker and more mediocre without that end, so, although it angers me, I think it needs it.

Audiobook: The way the audiobook is narrated gives you an underlying sense of tragedy. It is kind of preparing you (from the very moment you start listening) for the end. I wound't know if this is a good thing or a bad one.

P.S.: I truly dislike the cover. I would have never picked this book up if it wasn't because of several recommendations. The cover puts me off completely.
Profile Image for Sabrina.
3,233 reviews1,934 followers
June 13, 2017
NOW LIVE! *Paperback currently cheaper than Kindle*
Amazon Kindle * Amazon Paperback

I honestly don't know what it was about this blurb that had me so interested, but I'm really happy that I read this book. I'm usually never eager to pick up a book with an older heroine but something about this called to me and I couldn't stay away.

I loved the emotions that this book brought out in me. A woman nearing her 40's and a Rockstar half her age? You can only imagine the skeptics that were there and ready to criticize them. But I loved how they handled it and the strength that they showed with their relationship.

I really liked reading about both of these characters, no matter their ages, and I'm glad I didn't let the age-gap stop me from picking this one up. My 3 Star rating comes from the ending and I just wasn't satisfied with it so it made my rating go down some. I wish I could have rated it higher since I liked these characters so much, but the overall happy feeling of the book lessened at the end.

Bottom line, this is an emotional and intriguing story that I would not hesitate to recommend.
Profile Image for Robin Hill.
Author 3 books286 followers
July 3, 2018
I'm going to have to sleep on this...
UPDATE: I slept on it. Some.

This book is pure perfection and I read it every spare second I had, and some I didn't. It's that good. Get over the age thing and go for the ride. The h's insecurities bring her down (age-wise) and the H's life experience elevates him. They meet in the middle and it works, yet there's that underlying "gap" that's always there. But the brilliance of this book is that, at its core, age isn't the issue. Celebrity is. And the question becomes, should two people who are TRULY in love, let something like that get in their way? Yes. When there's an innocent child involved.

And now for my highly spoilery rant. Rant over. Thanks for listening.
Profile Image for Bookphenomena (Micky) .
2,417 reviews384 followers
July 22, 2021
Beware of sparks
Discomforting swooning
Tragedy felt on the horizon
Please Sir, can I have more?

I think that less is going to be more with this review. The Idea Of You blew me away, discomforted me, challenged me and devastated me. And yet, I loved every minute of the ride; I couldn’t look away as I devoured it page by page, waiting for the impending car crash.

I don’t want to give a thing away beyond the blurb. The characters, Hayes and Solène transfixed me with their story and their pairing. They glued me to the page, the strangeness of their match felt less strange with each page until you were convinced they should be together.

“So this is what twenty looked like. That sweet spot between adolescence and the moment things began to unravel.”

There were other characters in this story but it’s very hard not to feel anything but absorbed by Hayes and Solène. The complications and angst were intense so that I don’t think I will recover for a while. Plan to shelve your life when you pick this up.

The writing in this book is sublime, seamless and this is a writing debut. Robinne Lee is an author to look out for. As many readers of this book will say, I want need more, just so that I can keep on breathing.

Find this review at A Take From Two Cities Blog.
Profile Image for Korrie’s Korner.
1,066 reviews13.6k followers
March 7, 2023
I am definitely licking my wounds today with this book. So heartbreakingly good!! Definitely a 5⭐️read. What I loved about this is :

Reverse age gap. This is my first older woman/younger man story.

Harry Styles (whom I love) is the muse in this boy band, and the object of Solène’s affection..although he pursued her, and at 20 years old!

This book gave me butterflies and full on feels. It was real life, and just so painfully tragic, but so beautiful. Hayes Campbell stole my heart, and made me squirm. He was the personification of sexy, and so masculine beyond his years. The way he always said “hiiii” made me melt. I didn’t want this to end, but alas—all good things must at some point.
Profile Image for Gitte TotallyBookedBlog.
1,969 reviews942 followers
July 4, 2017

5 Fabulous stars!

“Don’t go falling in love with me, Hayes Campbell.”
“I’m not gonna fall in love with you. I’m a rock star. We don’t do that.”
“You’re a boy band member.”
“Well…I guess all bets are off then.”

Rock stars – we can’t help but fall in love with them, and you’d be hard pressed to find a man as soulful and beautiful as Hayes Campbell, the twenty year old singer with boy band, August Moon as he falls for 39 year old divorcee, and mother of a 12 year old daughter, Solène Marchand.

“What is it you want from me, then?” Solène
“Everything.” Hayes

As soon as this book hit our radar, we knew we had to read it! A tumultuous rock star romance, with an age gap is exactly the type of read we devour and wow! We were completely floored by this story; easily becoming swept up in its honesty and raw emotion and by the striking prose of first time author, Robinne Lee. It’s hard to believe this is her first published novel, because Robinne Lee, delivered it all in The Idea of You. We swooned, we laughed, loved and oh boy did we cry! We felt everything and found Solene and Hayes story to be captivating, incredibly heartfelt, moving, candid, unique and sincere. This author writes with a knowledgeable and beautiful prose that encapsulated everything we love, but rarely find in this trope. Impressive to say the least.

“You. Are fucking everything to me, I’m not going anywhere.”

The synopsis tells you all you need to know to decide if this books piques your interest, but we promise you, what you’ll find between the pages is so much more than a rock star meets girl story. So much more and we feel the best way to experience it is spoiler free. We urge you to simply allow Hayes and Solène’s love story to unravel before your eyes and experience the truthfulness and emotion as the story slowly builds, holding you captive until the very last page, as Solène and Hayes’ love story climbs to its crescendo.

‘The thought crossed my mind that this could be dangerous. Not the ill-advised sex with the just out of his teens pop star, but the cuddling. The lying there, drinking in his scent, watching his chest rise and fall, allowing myself to bask in my own happiness. I could fall in love this way.’

Their initial attraction is physical, a chemistry that ignites when they meet backstage after an August Moon concert, Solène attended with her daughter and 2 of her friends. We did, at first, wonder what so enamoured the sweet, wise beyond his years, Hayes to pursue the somewhat aloof Solène so vigorously, but we trusted the author to slowly reveal all. Of course, Solène oozed beauty, poise and confidence, but what did Hayes see behind Solène’s facade that made him so desperate to woo her? Despite the obvious physical connection, we knew there was more, and as we delved deeper into Hayes persona, it all became clear. Hayes’ emotional maturity belied his cheekiness and his 20 years. Hayes was an old soul and this young man matched Solène emotionally, intellectually and physically. Their building relationship was a thing of beauty setting the foundation of friendship to lovers and beyond. It was quite simply, breathtaking, passionate and heartfelt.

“How did we get here? This was only supposed to be lunch, remember? This was only supposed to be lunch.”
“You,” he said, his voice frayed, foreign.
“You. You let me unfold you.”

Whilst we may not have completely warmed to Solène, we absolutely related to her feelings, and the way in which Robinne Lee identified this character; her struggles, her insecurities, her torment, her sacrifices and the vilification she received because of the age difference between her and Hayes, was exceptional. We understood it all completely and perceived the reason we found her to be aloof was her upbringing and the fact that Hayes was such a beautiful, warm, sensitive and honest character who wore his heart on his sleeve. He was something else, this man!

“This is insane. You realize that, right?”
“Only if someone gets hurt.”
“Someone always gets hurt, Hayes.”

As the story drew to a close, we reflected on what we’d read wanting to give this author a standing ovation for many reasons. For delivering believable characters, for not succumbing to standard story clichés, for having the ingenuity to deliver this story honestly, warts and all. We really couldn’t have asked for more. The banter between Hayes and Solène was witty, naughty and sincere making us grin from ear to ear. The passion was explosive, sensual, hot and thankfully not always over descriptive yet always moving, passionate and sexy as hell; not once did we feel inclined skim the intimate scenes as we’ve found ourselves doing recently. And the emotion…oh God the emotion, well, tears fell freely that’s for sure. At times uplifting, painful and certainly worth every tear. See full review here

“You want to be kissed, Solene? You think you can handle that?”

THE IDEA OF YOU is available to purchase below:
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Profile Image for Emma Scott.
Author 42 books7,705 followers
January 29, 2021
Back in 2019, when we were allowed to socialize with other human beings in close spaces, I was at Book Bonanza and sat on a panel with the author of this book. I’m a little bit glad I hadn’t read this book at the time, because I probably would’ve been made an undignified spectacle of myself, gushing over it. I don’t know why it took me so long to read it, and I don’t even know why I was spurred to pick it up. But I bought the paperback one day and I’m so, so glad I did.

This book is decadent. It’s like a refined, elegant meal that you can’t stop eating. I love both the hero and the heroine. I don’t think you could’ve had another heroine other than Solène. You had to have someone as sophisticated as she, and even as wealthy, or else the entire book would be Hayes’ love interest gawking and staring at the wealth around her instead of the celebrity, which is what ultimately drives them apart. You also needed someone who is able to travel to these far-flung locations in order to have their trysts to make it remotely plausible. I thought it was brilliant.

Now, as for the ending… I did not like it. But I didn’t not like it because of what the author wrote. I didn’t like it because she was accurately portraying the world in which we live in. Up until that point, Lee had been so meticulous and authentic in her storytelling. To suddenly stop and dump an implausible HEA on these two would’ve felt jarring, I think. The problem is not that she chose to have them go their separate ways. The problem is society behaves exactly as how it does in the book. It’s perfectly OK for her ex-husband to marry someone 10 years younger and start another family basically. But for a woman, with a man who is 20, it’s just different. I think Robinne Lee is absolutely right in having Solène tell Hayes that he doesn’t know what he wants yet. He’s going to change so much in the decade between 20 and 30, that it will ultimately end up in heartbreak. I honestly can’t see how it would not. And I know some people will say “well this is fantasy, it’s a romance, it should end with a happy ending.” As someone who has written a nontraditional HEA myself I respect this kind of storytelling. I respect authenticity over anything else and honoring what a story needs, versus what an audience expects.

The reason for the 4.5 and not a full five because there were some plot points that kind of faded out without being resolved. I had expected a bigger blowup with Oliver. I expected a rift would have formed with him because of how he had been hitting on Solène and it would threaten the band. Also the book had no climax. There was no monumental moment of build up and then release. I think something with Oliver would have fulfilled that, with more to do with his weird behavior toward her and less so with the Penelope stuff.

But honestly, these are super minor in the grand scheme of the book that I felt was magnificently written. And having met the author, I can tell you that her writing is elegant and thoughtful and beautiful as she is. I’m glad the universe finally whacked me upside the head with her book and told me to read it. (At a time when I can fangirl from a safe distance ☺️)
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
July 11, 2021
I think this is definitely a Marmite book, it’s not going to be for everyone. Luckily for me, I really enjoyed it!

The idea of you follows Solène a 39 year old single mother who falls for Hayes, a 20 year old and a member of one of the biggest boy bands in the world.

I was never fully sold on the relationship between Solène and Hayes. It was extremely believable and very well written, but the age gap made it difficult for me to be 100% comfortable. Age gap aside, the connection between the characters was electric and profound. As a warning (or a clincher for those that love it), this novel is extremely steamy!

I think the biggest thing that jumped out to me about this book was the portrayal of how the world treats celebrities. The cyberbullying and abuse that they and their loved ones face was amazingly demonstrated in this novel. It really makes you think about what you say and how you act. I think it can be really easy for people to forget that celebrities are human beings who deserve respect and privacy. I felt this was a really important message that I haven’t seen in any other books.

I would recommend this to anyone who likes reading steamy romances (as long as you don’t mind the age gap). I want to thank Penguin publishers and the author for allowing me to read a copy of this book and give my personal thoughts.
Profile Image for Dilek VT.
1,543 reviews1,405 followers
Shelved as 'undecided'
February 28, 2018
I wanna read it so much ... so so much... but the non-hea ending stops me.

Maybe the writer makes it a duet one day and gives them their belated HEA and then, I will read it...
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Wil Loves Books!.
1,120 reviews461 followers
October 8, 2020

“I love you,” I said.
“I wish you were here.”
“I am,” he said. “In your heart.”

I've been hearing about this one for a while but haven't had the chance to read until now. And I'm still trying to process what I read and whether I liked it or not. And I will apologize in advance for going in tangents, cause I will.

Who am I kidding? I liked this, I basically devoured it. If you know me, if you really know me, you know about my insane love for boybands. My first introduction to boybands came at a very early age since, growing up, my parents next door neighbor was the manager for a little (NOT) Latin American boy band called "Menudo", and well, I was lucky enough to meet and become friends, and sometimes even more, with a lot of them, especially one in particular when I was 17, lol. I spent countless hours of alone time with them, doing typical teenage stuff, more concerts that I can remember and a lot of backstage time, lots of times. To this day, I'm still friends with some of them. I love me some English bands too, from New Kids, to BSB to NSYNC seen them all multiple times, in multiple cities, in the height of their fame. Recently, it was One Direction with my teenage daughter, 4 years in a row, 4 different cities, so much fun. And so you get the idea, I don't claim to be the boyband expert, but boybands are my jam, probably something I will never grow tired of, especially since NKOTB, BSB and Menudo are still touring :)

So of course I saw the appeal of this story, older divorcee mother, falling for the uber famous 20 year old lead singer of the biggest boy band in the world back then (this book came out in 2017 but the references to certain things, like her being 16 during NKOTB's Magic Summer tour, and references to the World Cup, place the book around 2014) makes it for some delicious and interesting read. Was I blow away? Sadly no, because I didn't find it at all original or maybe because I wasn't that impressed? Maybe because I have a pretty good idea of how boybands operate. Or perhaps because I couldn't quite connect with the heroine. Back in the NSYNC days I used to read a lot of fanfiction. Really good fanfiction I might add and this book was not far from those stories I used to read for free. So to me, this is what this book is, fan fiction, especially One Direction fan fiction, sorry not sorry, let's put it out there. It is well written, not going to lie, and engaging, and highly entertaining, but come on, the similarities to One Direction are so many. It's not even AU a la Anna Todd, this was almost cannon. The book follows a pretty similar tour schedule than 1Ds at the time and also has these little things like the band recording the album on the road, and the band filming and later premiering a rockumentary, a la One Direction's This is Us. Actually, the author is even pretty blatant about it:

“We’re doing a movie. Like a hybrid between a documentary and a bunch of tour footage. A rockumentary, if you will. Or a popumentary”—he smiled— “because it’s us .

Get it? 1D's movie was This is Us, lmao. Oh and the main guy, the obvious Harry Styles inspired character is called Hayes. BTW, Harry Styles once dated Caroline Flack, 15 years old his senior, when he was about the hero's age, so there's that too, lol. So yep, this is totes inspired in 1D and the author probably watched This is Us several times. Hey, no judging, I've watched it more times than I will admit to.

So, back to the book, I will tell you what I loved, what I liked and what I didn't love.

What I loved:

-The love affair, I loved all aspects of this affair. The fact that this 20 year old boy was so in love with this 39-40 year old woman was enthralling, interesting and definitely refreshing to read. The whirlwind, the cities, everything was awesome. I wish there were more books like this, rather than the opposite which is becoming a trend in romance.

“I could be your mother, you know.”
“But you’re not.”
“But I could be.”
“But you’re not.”
He held my gaze, smiling his half smile. I felt it then, that little flip-flop in the pit of my stomach that told me that whatever this twenty-year-old was doing, it was working.

“I like you, so fucking much. I don’t give a damn what you were doing in the nineties. Or anytime, really …

-The whole boyband dynamics, Hollywood dynamics, etc. Although the author used way to many acronyms and obscured references that might get lost if you're not completely pop-cultured, she totally got all the dynamics and the references to a T. Not surprised since she's an LA based actress. I loved all of it.

“This is why they love you, isn’t it?”

-The secondary characters. Especially Oliver, give me more Oliver please.

-Hayes! Hayes was just beautiful, caring and wise beyond this years. He was a true fantasy come to life and the reason why I kept reading the book. Loved. Him.

“I’m falling in love with you. I’m just going to put that out there, because I can. Because you told me I couldn’t if I was sleeping with anyone else, and I’m not, so there you have it…”

“I’m really happy when I’m with you. I get the feeling you feel the same way. And if that’s true, I don’t think you should give a fuck about what people may or may not think of our age difference. Furthermore, if our ages were reversed, no one would bat an eyelash. Am I right? So now it’s just some sexist, patriarchal crap, and you don’t strike me as the kind of woman who’s going to let that dictate her happiness. All right? Next issue…”

“You like me.”
He paused for a moment, upsetting our usual back-and-forth. “I love you,” he said. Without qualifiers, without conditions. He allowed it to sit there and wash over me. Warm, like the Caribbean sun. “You don’t have to say anything,” he said; apparently, I hadn’t.
“Just know that I do.”

What I liked:

-The ending. Yep, I know a lot of people hate it, but I'm totally on board with the ending. I think the best decision was made considering the situation and that otherwise, it wouldn't have been realistic. However, this will make for an amazing sequel, if the author so desires. Maybe a few years down the road. One of my favorite books is The Education of Caroline by Jane Harvey-Berrick, which is the sequel to The Education of Sebastian. It's set 10 years after the first book and is absolutely fantastic. It would also benefit from some male POV as well. A sequel set in the future would make for an amazingly angsty and memorable read, definitely looking forward to the possibility.

-The art and social themes. Very cool and interesting. I love great research.

-The writing. For a debut book, the writing was engaging and the book was exquisitely edited. I would definitely read more books by her.

“I want to know what your intentions are, Hayes Campbell.”

  “What are your intentions? Did you come here to sell me art?”


  “Hmm..." he said, without breaking eye contact. “Well … I came to buy whatever you’re selling.” In that moment, it didn’t matter how old he was or how many fans he’d amassed. In that moment, he had me. And I realized that just knowing that I could have a fling was not going to be enough.

I kissed him. He tasted of rum and lime and sugar and happiness. And I wanted to lock it away and remember it forever.

-Some aspects of Solene. I loved her relationship with her kid. I loved that she gave herself the chance to love Hayes and I loved her boldness at times.

How the fuck had I gotten so lucky? How, in this great world, had we found each other? And how, I wondered, when the time came, was I going to let him go?

What I didn't love:

Ok, I don't want to criticize the book, after all I liked it and I gave it 4 very solid stars, but this could've been a 5 star had the heroine been a little more...relatable. But the whole thing, especially the main character, was very...pretentious. This in turn makes the book, and again the main character, completely unrelatable, especially considering the target audience. I get it she's extremely sophisticated, Ivy League educated, and OMG let's not forget she's French (it's mentioned way too many times), none of that bothers me, but the name dropping and the snobbish writing, was a turn off. I believe that you can completely be sophisticated without sounding pretentious. She sounded like a snob, time and time again, and I rolled my eyes a lot. The name dropping was extreme and not subtle. She definitely didn't need to mention her Celines, and Hermes and Lanvins, etc all the freaking time.

"proffering my purse: the Céline hobo bag in chamois, perfect for everything but holding a change of clothes."

"I was going to cry. Here. In Balthazar. Under the gold lights and the oversized French mirrors. My avocado and poached eggs on toast were getting cold."

"It was sublime, my dress. Lanvin."

"Where did you get this dress? "Balmain"

You get the idea peeps, I rolled my eyes hard a few times. You can completely get the point across without sounding pretentious and over descriptive. But what it really does, is that it totally disconnects you from the idea that you could relate to Solene, and instead portrays her as some sad poor little rich girl and that fantasy just dies. Pretentious indeed. I associate name droppers more with reality stars and less with wealthy, sophisticated women. Like Jamie Johnson's dad tells him on The One Percent, wealthy people should never talk about how wealthy they are. So, I couldn't stop picturing Solene as one of those Real Housewives of the OC, and less like Cheryl (aka Liam Payne's baby mama also older than him), Caroline Flack or the coolest and my favorite cougar Sam Taylor-Johnson. Meaning, Solene came off as not young or relatable a lot more times than I liked. Which is a total shame because Solene had some great moments and had she'd been less pretentious, this book could resonate more with so many more people. To me, she needed to sound a little more down to earth. And don't get me wrong, I get it, the author wanted to convey that her appeal was her sophistication, and she has said that Hayes own pedigree was important in establishing why he was appealing to Solene (although I'm not entirely convinced that's true, he was young, hot, virile and exciting and he was definitely not a name dropper!), but it just came up snobby, pretentious and highly unrealistic.

Overall , this was a solid read. I will definitely remember it and I'm looking forward to the possibility of a sequel. But sadly it didn't move me or gutted me or the sort, like I expected it. It was just fun and entertaining while it lasted. I definitely recommend it if you're looking for something a little different (unless you read 1D fan fiction all the time), although St. Martin's is doing this book a disservice by pricing it that high. However, I will disclaim in a spoiler tag that So keep that in mind and read at your own risk.

“What took you so long?”
I laughed. “I was just making sure it was you, and not the idea of you.”
Profile Image for Jan.
880 reviews169 followers
July 7, 2019
2.5 stars. A difficult book to rate. All the way through, I felt uncomfortable with the basic premise. I've enjoyed books with older woman/ younger man before, although it's not my fav trope. e.g. I really liked Nia Forrester's The Fall, but in that one the age difference wasn't so great, and the H, though younger, was a still mature man who knew himself. And there you have it - that's what my problem boils down to - the HUGE age difference. The h in this book is LITERALLY well and truly old enough to be the H's mother. She's about to turn forty (but luckily still extraordinarily beautiful....). And the H is 20! Yep - not even old enough to legally drink. Hmmmmm.

I think I would have liked this book a whole lot more if the age difference wasn't so vast. I kept bumping into it all the way through, and I kept thinking, no, that's just wrong. Ewww. No!!! I know it's part of what creates the basic tension of this book, but for me it was too much.

Hayes is gorgeous. He's in a hugely successful British boy band, and is hot, sexy, clever and arty. And he is attracted to older women. Mommy issues maybe? This is kinda hinted at but never really explored.

Solene is divorced and has a 13-year-old daughter who happens to have a crush on Hayes. Oh yeah, it's gonna get messy. Thinking about it, Solene was one of my problems with this book too. Because she did not have much personal strength, a quality that I admire. Having just reread Mariana Zapata's Kulti which has one of the best h's in Sal Cassilis, who is full of inner strength and integrity, Solene in contrast seemed weak and self-indulgent. She was the mature one in this relationship, but she didn't step back when she should have. It was going to blow up in everyone's faces. She knew that all along, but did nothing to stop the train wreck that was coming. And the feeble excuses she kept making as to why it wasn't the right time to tell her daughter about the relationship. Weak.

The writer did a decent job of moving the story along, although I did get a bit sick of the sex scenes (Weird, IKR?). Yeah, Hayes is 20 and has a high sex drive, but some of the semi-public scenes etc. Really guys? You couldn't wait, even though you'd been together for months? Hmmmmm. And he's 'ready for action' again after 3 minutes? *cue eyeroll* And he gave Solene eight orgasms one night? *cue eyeroll* And promised her nine the next night? Riiigghhhtttt. As a reader, I don't need that kind of crap. I was convinced he was sexy. No need to go OTT.

By about 2/3 of the way through it was starting to drag a little, and yes, I did do a bit of skimming. But the ending was a reasonable one for the story, although it did feel a bit rushed.

But I'm afraid I just couldn't get over that age difference. It didn't work for me. Inconsistent of me maybe, as I would possibly find an older man/ younger woman easier to accept? But with this age difference? It would have to be a pretty great writer to make it not seem creepy.

I just kept wishing Solene wasn't quite that much older than Hayes. Yeah, she was supposed to be so beautiful, but Hayes needed someone a good ten (or more) years younger. I understand his character's frustration with the young models and groupies he had previously hooked up with. He was too mature for their obsessions with Instagram etc. But Solene could have been his mom...... just no.

So, if you can deal with the age difference (which plainly I couldn't), it's not a bad book. Not brilliant, but reasonable. And yeah, Hayes is a super hottie, so there is that. And there have been lots of rave reviews. But it just wasn't for me.
Profile Image for Amy.
1,874 reviews1,880 followers
June 13, 2017
All of my reviews can be found on www.novelgossip.com


When I first read the blurb for this book I have to admit that I did (wrongly) assume that it would be one of those cliched, happily ever after love stories. It was far from it, instead it was a genuine, raw and honest look at a “taboo” relationship that explored some really cool themes and smashed some well known stereotypes, especially ones towards women.

I liked the structure of this, it was divided into sections based on where Hayes and Solene were traveling at the time and they visited some really amazing and exotic locales as he toured with his band and she raced off to meet him whenever she could. This definitely isn’t a typical romance novel, besides the obvious age difference between the two leads, there was more intelligence and sophistication here, both in the authors writing style and in the characters themselves.

Both Solene and Hayes were complicated characters individually and their relationship itself was complex as well. She’s a divorced mother to a teenaged girl and when the media gets wind of their romance, their lives are effected in a deep and profound way. Hayes was a really mature guy for a twenty year old and there was much more substance to him than I was expecting there to be. I can totally see why Solene was charmed by him!

This was definitely an alluring and risqué read, there are some steamy and passionate love scenes and Hayes and Solene’s chemistry was smoking hot. Watching her transformation throughout the book was a beautiful thing to witness, when it starts she’s a strong, independent business woman, but she’s lost a vital piece of herself along the way. By the end, she had embraced her sexuality as a middle aged woman and found a new type of self confidence she was lacking before.

Lee also explored some common stereotypes that most women face at some point in their lives and she really focused on the age old double standard where older men date much younger women and no one bats an eye while an older woman dating a younger man is frowned upon and judged harshly.

This was one of those books that just begs to be made into a movie, I can only imagine that it would be stunning! The ending was really bittersweet and emotional and I’m not sure whether I loved it or hated it to be completely honest. But the book itself was great and I’m extremely impressed this is Lee’s debut, I think she has a juicy, sexy hit on her hands.
Profile Image for Betül.
987 reviews238 followers
July 7, 2019

I was excited to read this book because of all the 4-5 star reviews. However, I ended up disliking it a lot. I really liked how it started, but after reading 25%, it went downhill. The 20 year old Hayes (who was part of a boy band) was seriously immature, I couldn't stand him at all. He seriously had some mommy issues. His clingy behavior didn't do it for me. As for the 39 year old Solène, mother of a 12 year old, she could've made some better decisions. It was obvious she was living her life and forgetting she had a daughter who was being impacted by her stupid decisions. I didn't believe in their love, it felt like two teenagers who fell in love for the first time. At times she was like his mom and lecturing him on things. She had responsibilities but was traveling around the world to meet up with her boy toy.

First she had no time for her daughter because of work and than she had no time for her because of Hayes. I did not feel any connection to her, and I was not rooting for their love either. Both of the main characters were annoying and I couldn't stand them. Only reason I didn't DNF this book, was because I wanted to find out how it would end. So why not a one but two star rating?
Profile Image for Meagan (Meagansbookclub).
360 reviews1,776 followers
June 2, 2022
Gave myself a star just for finishing this Harry Styles fan fiction hot garbage of a book.
Profile Image for The Book Bee.
564 reviews265 followers
January 29, 2019
"The way he touched me: unhurried, focused, exact. He knew precisely what he was doing."

I finished The Idea of You and I’m not sure I ever walked away from such an amazing book.....with a painfully broken heart. How do you rate a book that left you heartbroken? How do you rate a book that put you in a tailspin, but you wouldn't change anything about the story, no matter how heartbreaking it was? Truthfully, it was five brilliantly told stars.

This is the kind of book that the romance world grabbed onto and you either loved it or you hated it. I have seen many a discussion about this one and while it's not technically a romance, it's a complete story of love and the intricacies behind it when you have circumstances beyond your control. Two worlds colliding causing massive upheaval. BUT!! It provided a love that was both smile inducing and heartbreaking. A journey is worth a thousand memories, right? Who are we to dictate how a love story unfolds? It hurt. I'm not going to lie. It physically hurt my heart when I closed this book. I was quite melancholy by the time I was done, and then....I just sat there. I thought, I hurt, I thought some more, I smiled at the memories.....but I walked away with a soul deep pain in my heart that felt physically real. But I also smiled to myself knowing that the love they got to experience was probably once in a lifetime.

"But I don't want to miss out on us because I was afraid."

I loved that Lee provided this bubble that we got to hide in while Solène and Hayes were together. They were in their own little world, and the love was unguarded and alive. You could feel it and sense it and I loved that I felt that power of their attraction. But, the reality of the situation was always there, providing some painful and emotional turmoil within their real worlds. The harsh reality behind the perplexity of not only their love, but their relationship as well, was an eye opening look into fame and how it can and does affect others.

It’s no secret how it ends, and I’ll admit having that ruined for me by some folks really sucked - no lie. So, I went in for the journey of an undeniable love and a story that I was sure to feel. I am so glad I took that journey with Hayes and Solène. The retrospect. The memories. The whirlwind. The love. It was beautiful and painful. Unknown, but pure. If I disregard every love story that doesn’t have that perfectly buttoned up ending, I would probably miss out on some amazing journeys through love. I don’t know how it would have hit me not knowing the ending, but I know how it hit me knowing - and it was intense. My eyes were misty and my heart was truly broken.

This book will not be for everyone. I've definitely heard the pros and cons and the anger and the love from both sides - and once again, it's a very lively conversation that I willingly have over and over. I don’t fault anyone for needing a HEA and I never would. We all read differently, but knowing how it affected me , even knowing somewhat how it ended, it didn’t take away from the story for me. But I would be remiss if I didn't mention that I honestly wish I could reread it for the first time and NOT know how it ended. To experience the full affect and hit....

This review is entirely subjective, based on the content and the outcome and what it did for me. Having said that, my personal feelings on it can and will differ from many others. The true definition of a romance book is clear; that a HEA/HFN is required. This was a love story. This was a journey and I loved the entire thing. The whole darn thing.

Seeing the video trailer that was originally posted on YouTube punctuates the pain. It reinforced the strength in Lee's words and how she brought the book to life. I almost had tears watching it and remembering the despair and the agony I so legitimately felt. But I also smiled seeing how well she told this story and how well it translated onto the screen. I am very excited to see this book made into a movie!

And in all actuality, I think the ending was the perfect statement and quite fitting. It punctuated the heartbreak I very much still feel. I still feel that pain, the longing and the desire for a happier ending. I still feel the sadness of their story and the anguish I felt after I closed the book. But , I loved the book and cannot recommend it enough.

This was a love story....not necessarily a romance.

"I'd been so intoxicated. By his smell and his taste and his touch."

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