Layla Hilding is thirty-five and recently divorced. Struggling to break free from the past—her glory days as the lead singer in a band and a ten-year marriage to a man who never put her first—Layla’s newly found independence feels a lot like loneliness.
Then there’s Josh, the single dad whose daughter attends the elementary school where Layla teaches music. Recently separated, he’s still processing the end of his twenty-year marriage to his high school sweetheart. He chats with Layla every morning at school and finds himself thinking about her more and more.
Equally cautious and confused about dating in a world that favors apps over meeting organically, Layla and Josh decide to be friends with the potential for something more. Sounds sensible and way too simple—but when two people are on the rebound, is it heartbreak or happiness that’s a love song away?
From the bestselling author of The Girl He Used to Know comes a love song of a story about starting over and second chances.
Tracey Garvis Graves is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary fiction. Her debut novel, On the Island, spent 9 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, has been translated into thirty-one languages, and is in development with MGM and Temple Hill Productions for a feature film. She is also the author of Uncharted, Covet, Every Time I Think of You, Cherish, Heart-Shaped Hack, White-Hot Hack, The Girl He Used to Know, and Heard It in a Love Song. She is hard at work on her next book.
When I first started this story, I had trouble sticking with it. I'd put the book down and forget about it. It seemed pleasant enough while I was reading it but didn't grab me and and certainly didn't pull me back to it when I set it down.
But I stuck with it and got used to the fact that Layla and Josh were going to go off into memory land, in the middle of conversations with people. Just zone out and off they'd go, lost in their head full of memories. It seemed strange to be viewing their "today" through the filter of their "pasts" but I know we all do that, can't help doing that. This just seemed to separated from how life really works, these little memory vignettes. My brain is too much a mess of unsorted data and memories to work like that but I guess that would be how you'd portray it in a book.
Ok, enough about how scatterbrained I am! I did enjoy this book, once I got going and got hooked. Once I got into the groove of the way things were going to work, that this wasn't really a romance at all but, instead, self examination and self improvement for the future, to avoid making the same mistakes again, I was all in. I like smart, relatable people and I do think both Layla and Josh are smart, relatable, and likeable. I wanted what was best for them and what was best for each of them might not include the other, forever or for long. I like how Layla works her way back to what she always wanted to do but also realizes that the more she wants now can include what she already has. Josh knows what he doesn't want anymore, even if he isn't sure what he does want, other than his daughter in his life, as much as possible. I ended up really enjoying the book and a plus is a cute dog named Norton.
Publication: November 9th 2021
Thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for this ARC.
Two broken hearted, vulnerable characters who have been gathering through hell to hold each other for having their second chance of happiness: this is quiet brief summary of this beautiful, heart breaking story which brings out ugly tears of yours! Don’t forget to stock lots of napkins, paper towels and any kind paper products to clean your running noses and ruined eye makeup ( trust me you don’t like look raccoon. )
There are two things are a little bothering for you:
If you wish to read a heart wrenching, angsty, intense love story, this book is not great choice for you! It’s more like second chances of happiness, self growth, pursuing your dreams, lost opportunities and rekindling hopes story! Both of the characters were well crafted, genuinely portrayed but their blossoming romance is not the main subject the book is focused on.
That’s also bringing out other thing the readers may be bothered: there are too many time jumps and flashbacks in this book which makes the entire conjuncture a little complicated. In my opinion most of them worked quiet well and gave us enough clues to fix the entire puzzle, learning more about main characters’ past stories. But some of them were thrown into the equation out of nowhere and confused my mind.
But I have to admit this is one of the best books which reflects ugly face of divorce so realistically. It’s impossible not to empathize with the characters and what they’ve been getting through.
Layla hardly gathers her broken pieces, working as a elementary music teacher and after the divorce, she got used to live in her own shelf, staying away from things make her happy, making sacrifices.
Her path crosses with Josh whose kid is a student of her class, dealing with his own ugly divorce. She dog-sits to help them and their blooming friendship naturally turns into romance. The music’s magical tunes help them release their restrained negative feelings they bottled up for years and they learn to trust each other to find their well deserved second chances. The promising tone and realistic story telling of the book were its strengths I truly enjoyed.
Jumping time lines and lack of romance may be disappointing factors affect you enjoy your reading but I truly advise to take a chance on this emotional, well written story. It really shakes you so hard, awakening so many feelings and the music is real magic!
I plan to get this audibook version as soon as it releases. I am so curious about the songs and performances.
Overall: it’s great sentimental, touchy, soul shaking experience with well developed characterization which made me round up my 3.5 stars to 4 musical, divorce wars, self destruction, reborn, deserved happiness stars!
Special thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for sharing this digital reviewer copy with me in exchange my honest opinions.
the simplicity of this story is what makes it work so well.
so rarely is there a romance novel that isnt flashy, that doesnt rely on drama and miscommunication. this is a simple story of two people who find each other whilst in a transitional period and how they make room for each other in their lives. no gimmicks, no obstacles, just two people who fall for each other and work at starting a relationship.
i think fans of ‘daisy jones and the six’ will enjoy the music aspect of the story and fans of jodi picoult will appreciate the realistic feel of the characters and life stages. overall, a sweet addition to TGGs bibliography!
thank you so much, st. martins press, for the ARC!
This was an entertaining read. What a RETRO cover - I don't know what to make of it!?!
After reading On the Island and The Girl He Used to Know, also by Tracey Garvis Graves, I jumped at the chance to read this ARC when it became available on NetGalley.
. . . . .
Layla and Josh are each trying to finalize their divorces in their respective long term relationships.
Layla's marriage was a sham from day one, and Josh and his wife, Kimberly, grew apart and wanted different things from life now.
Garvis Graves takes us through Layla and Josh's journey away from their spouses - toward each other! And what a bumpy road that was. I liked that there was no "insta-love" happening here. There was definitely mutual attraction between the two, but this story takes place over a year or more: from first day of Kindergarten jitters for Josh's little girl to the glory days of summer vacation and a bit beyond. During that time, Layla and Josh become friends, then something more, as they each overcome their emotional battle scars (and, FINALLY, with great relief, delete their online dating APs!)
They truly like each other's company and (despite a few issues - she is his daughter's Kindergarten music teacher and his divorce hasn't been filed yet) - they decide to just let things progress... slowly. Their "friendship with potential" was a fun read. You really wanted these two damaged people to heal with each other. As Layla and Josh tried to fill those lonely hours during the initial stages of their respective breakups, I kept hoping that these two decent people would get over their emotional traumas and move toward each other. They really made such a cute couple - they were so supportive of one another.
Characterization and dialogue in this story were good, as usual, but there was a fair amount of telling and not showing in some places. There were also some scenes between Layla and her friends that seemed more like filler and didn't do much to advance the plot, but, overall, this was an interesting, well-written story. It was very topical and anyone who has had to get back out there after a broken relationship will fully relate to Layla and Josh's story. I loved all the musical references and Layla's total immersion in her performances (although I am not a big 70's fan, sorry!)
. . . . . .
I'm rating this slice of life, second chance at love story a 4 out of 5 very entertaining stars! My thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
Thank you to everyone who adds Heard It in a Love Song to their shelves. I appreciate it so much.
I was asked during a recent book club Zoom meeting how similar this book was to The Girl He Used to Know which sparked the kind of discussion I love. I replied that all of my books are different but also similar in that they adhere to my tagline of ‘contemporary fiction with a happily-ever-after.’ However, plotwise this book is quite different. In The Girl He Used to Know, we had two main characters who had a history together and were giving their relationship another try. I find second chance love stories fascinating because they require both characters to grow and change and compromise and find their happily-ever-after together, despite what occurred in their past that led to their breakup. Using a dual timeline allowed me to show the reader both periods of time so they could see for themselves how the characters had changed.
In Heard It in a Love Song, I once again used a dual timeline. But this time, I showed the separate pasts of the main characters (who are both recently divorced) so that readers could see what had gone wrong in their marriages and how this might affect them as they brought their history into a new relationship in the present. I wanted to write a relatable friends-to-lovers story that would resonate with anyone who’s ever found themselves on the other side of a breakup and wondered, now what?
As a huge fan of On the Island, I jumped at the opportunity of reading Heard It in a Love Song.
Layla is a thirty-five-old woman recently divorced. She is still healing, her divorce took a toll on her. Her ex-husband never supported her dream of becoming a professional singer so for all the years they were married, she had to give it up. Now, she has decided to sing for herself. She changes her basement and makes it her studio. A place where she can play her guitar and sing her music without a disapproving glance or an explanation needed.
Josh is an electrician. He recently separated from his high school sweetheart. He is in his 40s and has a daughter who is going to kindergarten. Josh shares custody and loves the time he spends with her. Yet, his free time is another matter. He would like to have someone he can share things with.
Layla works at the school. She is the music teacher. She's also at the receiving end of drop-off time at school. Here is where she starts interacting with Josh when he drops his daughter every morning. Soon thereafter, a friendship with potential ensues.
I liked the story. It's more about realizing what your dreams are and resuming them. It's also about moving forward after a failed relationship and rediscovering who you are on your own. Learning to enjoy the time alone.
I wouldn't call this a romance per se since I felt the romance was secondary at times. Both Layla and Josh were cautious despite their attraction. They knew they wanted to avoid making a mistake in their new relationship. I liked their growth from strangers to friends to something more.
This was a buddy-read with my friend, Jayme.
A complimentary copy was provided by St. Martin's Press via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
“Every New Beginning Comes From Some Other Beginning’s End” from Closing Time by SemiSonic
As with the wonderful “The Girl He Used To Know”, Tracey Garvis Graves brings us another story about personal growth, and second chances.
Superman hid behind the persona of the mild mannered reporter, Clark Kent.
AND, Layla, once a pink haired rock and roll Goddess, hides behind her strawberry blonde ponytail and glasses, as she teaches music to elementary school children. She was once strutting across stages, one song away from making it big, but she gave it all up to marry Liam.
Josh, married his high school sweetheart, Kimmy, but they are separating after 19 years of marriage. His daughter, Sasha, will be starting school this year, and be assigned to Miss Layla’s class.
We learn through flashbacks, about how those relationships began and ended, and in the present about a possible new beginning between Layla and Josh IF each is ready to move on from past regrets.
If you have survived the break up of a marriage or other long term commitment, you will find these relationships authentic, and unlike a lot of romance books that are really just “lust stories” this is a “love story”-just as much about learning to love yourself as it is about loving others. It didn’t touch me emotionally in the way that “The Girl He Used To Know” did, but it did resonate.
Layla had aspirations to break into the music industry. Her band was quite successful, with a devoted local following. In order to make ends meet Layla gave up her first love of performing and began teaching kids music in the local elementary school.
Josh married his high school sweetheart. Never imagining that as they grew up, they may also grow apart. But here he is after 20 years of marriage, now facing life as a part-time single dad.
Turns out, Josh and Layla share a common interest. Josh’s daughter happens to be one of Layla’s students.
Is this just a rebound infatuation with no real future? Or do they have a chance at something so much more?
I listened to the audio and absolutely loved the narration by Andi Arndt. She did an amazing job giving life to the characters and telling a beautiful story of friendship and love.
4.5 stars rounded up I really enjoyed this low-key, slow burn romance. I liked it in part because it’s much more where I’m at in my life with relationships to men than some romances where boy meets girl but some fairly stupid obstacle keeps them apart until much further along in the book. In this case, they are both ending marriages. Josh’s 20-year marriage isn’t completed yet. There is paperwork to be signed and custody arrangements for their daughter to be ironed out. Layla’s papers are signed, but her douchebag ex-husband Liam chooses to make things as hard as possible as she tries to get back to living.
Layla is an elementary school music teacher, and when Josh drops his daughter off at school each morning, they chat. The conversations get a little more serious after Josh adopts a senior dog and learns that Layla is willing to dogsit when he’s out of town. As they become friends and commiserate over their friends setting them up on blind dates or god forbid encouraging them to try dating apps, their friendship grows into something more. But this relationship is the first for both of them after their several-year-long marriages—are they just each other’s rebound romance before they’re ready for something more serious—if they’re ever going to be able to trust another and themselves again?
Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to review this novel, which RELEASES NOVEMBER 2, 2021.
Sometimes Love Can Be Found in the Most Unexpected of Places.
Layla is an elementary school music teacher who is newly divorced and is trying to make a fresh start.
Josh is a single dad, who is recently separated from his wife of twenty years.
Every day, Josh walks his daughter to school, and every day, he chats with his daughter’s music teacher, and each day Josh and Layla wonder about each other until the day one soul reaches out to the other.
A relationship that builds like a slow song until it reaches the crescendo.
Told in alternating chapters by Layla and Josh, “Heard It in a Love Song” by Tracey Garvis Graves, allows you to get to know each character in the past and the present while each develops feelings for the other.
If only this had led to my caring for the characters. For some reason, however, the way this story was told didn’t lend itself to my feeling invested in either Layla or Josh’s life stories or in their romance and I cannot put my finger on exactly why that is. All I can say is that, in the end, something was missing. That said, while I didn’t enjoy the romance, I really liked the musical aspect of the story and was wholly immersed in it. This was the 7th book that I’ve read by Tracey Garvis Graves and I will be anxiously awaiting her next release.
Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press, and Tracey Garvis Graves for the arc.
At our house, song lyrics and movie lines are sprinkled in with our dialog. There is always a song running through my head as I go about my day. Whenever I think of this book, I hum the title to the tune of "Love You Like a Love Song" by Selena Gomez & the Scene. Do you think I could get her to change her lyrics? Probably not. Anyway, this is not an exciting book. There are no care chases or mysteries to solve. Still I found it to be so enjoyable to spend time with the characters. I was hooked from the beginning. Who was Layla on stage with? What song were they singing? Why didn't she want to continue doing whatever she was doing? My format choice for this book was audiobook. I was hoping there might be some music bonus content. Unfortunately there was not. And as other reviewers have commented (like my GR friend MarilynW) it was a bit confusing at first as the characters were constantly reminiscing about the past. Sometimes I took me a minute or two to realize we were no longer in the present. In the print version I understand there are italics for those sections. Perhaps the audio version could have windchimes or some other sort of gentle sound to indicate the character's thoughts jumping to the past. Overall, I really liked the story and the way music especially brought Layla out of her shell. Josh sounds adorable as all get out. Love, love, love the cover.
Thank you to Macmillan Audio and NetGalley for a DRC in exchange for an honest review.
Layla Hilding is a 35-year old elementary school music teacher who is recovering from her recent divorce. She’s still trying to get her equilibrium, come to terms with the choices she made during her ten-year marriage and determine what it is she wants for her life. Josh Summers is a 37-year old electrician and father of 5-year old Sasha. He’s in the middle of his divorce from his wife of twenty years (she was his high school sweetheart) and they share custody of their daughter. He’s clear he wants to end a marriage that wasn’t working for either of them but never envisioned being with anyone but Kimmy. Josh is comfortable with his direction but does long for some companionship. He sees Layla every morning when he drops Sasha off at school and a friendship begins to bloom.
This isn’t the kind of story with a lot of drama, angst or action. It’s one involving two adults trying to redefine their present while figuring out what their new futures are going to be. Before Layla married husband Liam, she was the lead singer in a local band that had quite a following in their small town of Rochester, Minnesota. She once had visions of being a rock star but somehow abandoned her dreams after getting married. Josh loved the life he and his wife had created but she never seemed to find her own footing or niche. It wasn’t his idea to leave but he agreed it was the right thing to do. Layla and Josh were two people who weren’t actively looking for someone, neither really ready to even explore that, but somehow settled into a friendship that gave each of them the space to find their individuality.
I adored both of these characters who never really understood how extraordinary they were in quiet ways. They were honest with themselves, which was mature and refreshing, and had no fear of being honest with each other. Layla’s musical spirit oozed out of the pages, her utter joy in performing hard to not experience. Josh chose his craft because he liked it and was comfortable in that choice, making no excuses for opting out of higher education. Both shoulder responsibility for the demise of their marriages, too. The story alternates between their points of view, with transitions in the middle of the present to past memories that were significant markers. It took a bit of an adjustment to follow along but I came to love it. I got to a point where the characters lives became so interesting I couldn’t put the book down. This is one of those thoughtful journeys with deep meaning without being heavily weighted. I loved being part of the exploration and experiencing how these two came to embrace themselves and each other.
Tracey Garvis Graves is one of my all-time favourite authors. She can take me into a world she has created anytime! Her stories are real, thought-provoking and wonderfully captivating. Heard It In A Love Song sends an important message, is a novel I didn't want to end, and couldn't stop listening to. Both main characters Layla and Josh are navigating through their respective divorces. They are starting new lives and become friends. I really enjoyed that their relationship developed slowly and naturally. We are able to see how their marriages failed through flashbacks which only adds to the story. A wonderful story about healing and self growth, finding yourself, and finding love and happiness again after divorce. Narrator Andi Arndt is superb!
Thank you to NetGalley and Macmillan audio for an arc of this audiobook in exchange for my honest review.
Layla is trying to start over after an acrimonious divorce with her husband. Now she’s working as a music teacher in an elementary school, putting her lifelong ambition of being a musician behind her. Josh is now a single dad, after recently splitting from his wife of nearly twenty years, and is trying to come to terms with this new stage in his life. When he meets Layla at the school entrance gates, sparks fly, but neither of them are ready for a new relationship. Or are they?
I fell in love with Garvis Graves after reading “The Girl He Used to Know”, and I expected great things from this novel as well. I did not find the connection to Layla as I did to Annika (from “Girl”) , but that did not make her less charming or likable. Layla finds her escape through music, and she also uses it to connect to people. With “Love Song”, Layla must decide if her dreams of ten years ago are still as important as building a strong relationship with a partner and there are parts of Layla that anyone can relate to. Both Josh and Layla have good chemistry together and when their Hallmark-movie, saccharine-sweet relationship develops, you know the ending is going to be a happy one.
“Love Song” is told in alternating viewpoints (both Layla and Josh) so the reader gets to know each character as their own person and both partners as a couple. The narrations also take place in present day, with snippets of their past relationships with their exes. I didn’t mind this format, as the narrators and the time periods were clearly identified.
Overall, Garvis Graves provided an entertaining romantic fiction novel about starting over, living your dreams, and what really matters. It’s a lighthearted, fun-to-read story with sweet characters that will definitely provide a relaxing escape from reality (which is what we all look for, is it not?) Garvis Graves delivers another lovable novel that will surely be an instant favourite.
Heard it in a Love Song is one of those books I would struggle to classify as a romance. It's almost like a coming of age story for adults. Layla and Josh are both recently divorced and not only do we get their present which is them becoming friends than very very slowly becoming more, we get their pasts as well.
I usually like having a characters backstory, but I wish so much of the book wouldn't have been flashbacks of Josh with his ex and Layla with her ex-husband. I could have cut that part in half, but that's just personal preference. By the time this couple was together I shouted finally!, then the book was pretty much over.
If you're looking for a story that's well written with a lot of character growth and finding yourself, this might be the perfect read for you! It wasn't exactly what I was looking for, but I still enjoyed it for the most part.
Audio book source: Netgalley Story Rating: 3 stars Narrators: Andi Arndt Narration Rating: 4.5 stars Genre: Contemporary Length: 8h 20m
HALF of this entire book is about the main character's previous marriages and why they didn't work out. I literally could not have cared less about their exes lol. I wanted the actual romance to happen but even that was underwhelming.
The book is an enjoyable and easy read with a wonderful friends to lovers love story. And slow burn romance fans rejoice, this book is for you. Also, lately I’m really into romance books about musicians. Singing and songwriting is such a passionate talent and I loved how deeply Layla cared about her music. Moreover I really liked the idea of a music teacher getting back into the music business.
Both, Josh and Layla’s story is all about new beginnings in a very touching and honest way. We get to read about the past and the present. And the reasons why both are at the beginning of something new. None are ready to jump in heads first, they have their doubts but are also hopeful for the future. I thought the slow burn was very well done, in a believable way.
The backstories, about their former relationships and why they failed, sounded realistic and were incredibly fleshed out. Maybe a little bit too fleshed out. Most of the time, their past was told in flashbacks. In rather long, drawn out flashbacks. I would have actually enjoyed the book more if more pages would have focused on the couple in the present times, instead of the past. But it also gives the book a different feel, which is something good!!
As always books by Tracey Garvis Graves are well written and unique in an ocean of romance novels. And that’s exactly what I’m looking for. An enjoyable book, low on drama, that will provide an easy escape and great writing. Also, who doesn’t believe in second chances.
___________________________________ I received a copy of this book from the publisher for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.
After having read The Girl He Used to Know... I squealed with excitement when I received a copy in the mail of her newest book!
The simplicity of this story is what makes is so beautiful! This is a story about two people that find one another through a transitional place in their lives. They slowly build a connection with one another and fall in love.
It's a second chance at happiness, self growth, building your dreams, and finding a love that makes your heart swoon.
But, the blooming romance is not the focus of this story. I was a bit confused about having a lot of flashbacks in the story about the characters' past leading up to their present life. But, there were some that were just thrown randomly in the story and it threw me off a bit and was confused.
This was a definitely unique and refreshing look on a romance story.
Overall, Tracey has such beautiful writing and is so well crafted. She is quite high on my love of authors!
Thank you so much to St. Martin's Press for my copy in exchange for an honest review.
How do you know when your heart is ready for a second chance? Heard It in a Love Song might have the answer, if such an answer really exists.
Layla (no, she wasn’t named for the Eric Clapton song) has been licking her wounds since her 10-year marriage ended. She works as a music teacher but remembers all too well her time as the lead singer of a band. Her friends want her to get back out there and start dating, but the thought of starting over doesn’t appeal to her in the slightest.
Josh and his wife, whom he met in high school, recently separated after 20 years of marriage. He never thought there would be anyone for him but her, but now he devotes himself to shared custody of their young daughter, Sasha, who attends elementary school where Layla teaches.
Layla and Josh strike up conversation as he drops his daughter off at school every morning. Little by little, they start looking forward to seeing one another, and as their interest grows, they both wonder if they’re ready to start dating again.
Does everyone get a second chance at love? How do you know if it’s real or just a rebound romance? Could the right person come along at the wrong time?
Tracey Garvis Graves is an engaging storyteller (I loved her last book, The Girl He Used to Know) and you definitely find yourself rooting for these characters. There are a lot of flashbacks which come randomly in different chapters, as they trace Layla and Josh’s previous relationships, but sometimes I wished we could just focus on the story at hand. Still, this is an enjoyable story and I love any book that deals with music in whatever form.
Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for the complimentary advance copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review!
Both have just recently returned to life as a single person. Layla just got divorced from Liam - her husband of ten years. And single dad Josh is divorced from Kimmy - who he met in highschool. Layla and Josh meet at the school where Layla teaches music and where Josh's little girl has just started Kindergarten. Both are not really ready for a new relationship. Especially not a rebound thing. And anyway, Layla doesn't have time and energy for a new love. She's busy getting back the music that got lost in her marriage. Music used to be her life. And now she's finally allowed to play her guitar again - she even builds a little music room in the basement of her new little house. But Layla and Josh cross paths a lot ... What to do? Try being just friends? 😎
What will happen to Layla + Josh? Will there be a Happily Ever After? READ THE BOOK TO FIND OUT! ☺
Well. I loved this. Was it Women's Fiction? Or a mature romance? No idea, but I liked it a lot.
This was obviously somewhat of a slow romance thingy, especially since it's not really a typical romance at all. It's a real life story. A find-your-happiness-again-after-divorce book. Heal and find your passion and joy for life again. And then ... then maybe finding love again - but the forever and ever kind this time.
I really loved Layla and Josh and the kid and the dog. They would be such an amazing family - but of course it might take us a little while to get to that happy end. They all have a lot of healing to do. But the reader loves being part of that journey!
What bothered me a bit at first - and which always bothers me in books - are the going-back-in-time chapters. No idea why I don't like those. We need to know what happened in their pasts, but it always stops my reading-flow of current events. I want to know what happens now and what will happen in the future - I don't want the past to get in the way of my enjoyment of the love story! But anyway - it wasn't too bad now that I'm done with the story. 🤣
And another tiny little thing. The cover is super beautiful... but... without reading the blurb, I would expect some kind of hippie, Woodstock, drugs, music romance set 50 years in the past. And we get the music parts, but there's only a tiny amount of seventies music - these are eighties/nineties kids. I think the cover is a bit misleading. I would've loved to get that same woman but sitting with a guitar in her lap, photographed from behind with some fairy lights and a glass of wine next to her. That would've been Layla. But pfft - what do I know - the cover is so pretty and the story was beautiful too!
I also wouldn't mind if Hollywood would come and made something out of this book.
HEARD IT IN A LOVE SONG was such an amazing life + love story! A book so full of real life and music and healing and loving. Just beautiful! READ IT!
-Sometimes it took a while to figure someone out even if that person was yourself.
Layla Hilding is a newly single woman living in Rochester, Minnesota who is recently divorced and learning to put herself first. She's thirty five and finally beginning to feel like herself again after years of putting her hopes and dreams aside. For so long she'd loved fiercely in a way where nothing else mattered, but she was unhappy. The former lead singer of a popular band was suddenly at a crossroads personally and professionally. Now she's trying to leave the past behind and embrace her new career as an elementary school music teacher. She's enjoying her freedom and building the future she wanted. While doing her soul searching she unexpected meets a man named Josh Summers who makes her feel the first flutters of interest for a man again. She loves her independence, but also can't deny she enjoys his company. They have a lot in common and can relate to one another since they are at similar stages in life. Both are in their late 30's, and navigating divorce and starting over. As a connection grows strong feelings develop. Friends turn into more, but their timing is off and it's complicated. Is it just fun and romance, or will their journey lead to true happiness?
-There was nothing quite like that spark, that crackle of electricity when you realized the man you were sitting next to was someone you had chemistry with.
Heard It In A Love Song by Tracey Garvis Graves is a heartwarming, single dad, slow burn, friends to lovers romance about self discovery, second chances at love and fresh starts. It's about the different seasons of our lives and how we change over time, and that love finds us when we least expect it.
4.5 Stars for Heard it in a Love Song (audiobook) by Tracey Garvis Graves read by Andi Arndt.
This was a wonderful slow burn romance. The characters were great. I really appreciate the inclusion of a blue collar character. An electrician and an aspiring singer sound like a perfect match to me. It would have been a full 5 Star book for me if the author could have stuck to one timeline I’m getting a little tired of bouncing back and forth.
Layla Hilding is trying to move forward after her divorce from Liam. She thinks back on her glory days as a singer in a rock band and yearns to be back performing in front of an audience. She is now an elementary school music teacher. Josh Summers is waiting for his divorce from Kimberly to be finalized and is also trying to look ahead. He is father to Sasha, who is a kindergartener in Layla’s school. Layla and Josh, both in their 30s, meet at the school and slowly form a friendship. They are not ready to enter into new relationships but both are hopeful they will get a second chance at love and happiness.
Through flashbacks, their backstories are told and reveal how their once loving relationships with their spouses failed. Author Tracey Garvis Graves presents the stories of two deteriorating marriages and the tough road to taking a chance again on love. It’s a moving story that shows the pain these likeable characters have gone through. The story is at its best when it focuses on Layla’s love of music. Her passion for performing felt very real and the original music was a nice element as well as the references to popular bands and musicians.
Many thanks to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for the opportunity to read Heard It in a Love Song in advance of its November 9, 2021 release.
This is a wonderful book. This is my first read by Miss Graves and boy it won't be my last. The cover is cool.
The story..... inspiring. The journey for Josh and Laila is long and heart breaking. What I like from this book is how relistic is the journey. The journey of pain, frustration, disappointment, hurt to finally give yourself a chance to be yourself.
Heard It in a Love Song is a powerful story for broken hearted out there.
Layla is recently divorced after a ten-year marriage to a man who never truly appreciated her and subjected her to constant financial and emotional stress. Once a lead singer in a rock band, Layla is now an elementary music teacher struggling to find her place in the world. One thing that brightens her day is her interactions with Josh, the father of one of her students. A single father, Josh was married to his high school sweetheart, Kimmy, for nearly twenty years. He too is trying to find his way now that he's single. Both wary about getting back into the dating grind, Layla and Josh decide to be "friends with potential." But with all their baggage, are they destined for heartbreak?
"And she wasn't lonely, not really. Layla had been lonely for years while she was married, and she'd take being alone over lonely any day."
I didn't dislike this book, but it wasn't the sweeping romance I was hoping for. This one redefined slow burner, as Josh and Layla sloowly made their way toward one another. Most of this is the format--told from both Layla and Josh's point of view, each chapter breaks off to delve into how that particular's character's marriage fell apart. So we may get a few moments of them in the present and then--boom--it quickly flashes back to Josh and Kimmy in high school or Layla and her ex-husband, Liam, meeting when Layla is singing in her band. Each piece is just a snippet, slowly parsed out per chapter and building up to the end of the marriage, so both the past and the present is a build-up. I admire the style, but wow... everything takes time. A lot of time! It made the story feel quite plodding at times.
And, I just couldn't quite find the spark between Layla and Josh. Individually, they were great people, and I liked and rooted for their characters to move on from their past relationships. Together, I just didn't feel that they had "it"--that special something that really makes you want a particular couple to succeed. I certainly desired for each to find themselves again, but I didn't necessarily need it to be with one another. I did, however, have great fondness for Norton, the older dog Josh adopts, and whom Layla often dog-sits. So there you go.
This isn't a bad book, and I know lots of people who enjoyed it. It received a 3-star rating from me, which is *not* a poor rating. It just wasn't what I was hoping for, and I had wanted more passion. But if you enjoy a character-driven read, especially one that really delves into the characters' pasts, you'll find a lot to love here. (Also the cover is simply gorgeous.)
I received a copy of this book from St. Martin's Press and Netgalley in return for an unbiased review.
This was great! This is the second time that I have picked up a book written by Tracey Garvis Graves and I have been very impressed with her work so far. When I found out that Andi Arndt narrated this book, I knew that this would be a book that I would want to listen to. I just loved the characters and appreciated all of the music references. This was an enjoyable read from beginning to end.
This was a wonderful story of moving on. Layla works as the music teacher at the local elementary school and is recently divorced. Josh has just separated from his wife and is just trying to figure out how to take care of his daughter and move forward with his life. Josh and Layla meet through the elementary school and develop a friendship that has a lot of potential. Layla and Josh were great characters and I liked seeing them together. They are both recently leaving a marriage and I liked learning how things went wrong for them in their prior relationships. They both seemed determined to take things slow and not hurt each other.
I really enjoyed Layla’s journey back into music. When she was younger she was part of a pretty successful local band and had big dreams but responsibility got in the way. It was great to see her pick up a guitar again and do something that she was passionate about. I really liked all of the music references and could really imagine her up on the stage in front of a crowd.
Andi Arndt is one of my favorite narrators and she did an amazing job with this book. I loved the voices that she used for each of the characters and really felt like she brought them to life. This book was really a joy to listen to because of the wonderful narration.
I would definitely recommend this book to others. I thought it was a wonderful story about learning to move on with enough romance to keep things interesting. I will definitely be reading more of this author in the future.
I received a review copy of this audiobook from Macmillan Audio via NetGalley.
Initial Thoughts This was great! Layla and Josh were great characters and I liked seeing them together. They are both recently leaving a marriage and I liked learning how things went wrong for them in their prior relationships. They both seemed determined to take things slow and not hurt each other. Layla's journey back into playing music was great and I loved the fact that I actually knew all of the songs that were talked about in this book. Andi Arndt did an amazing job with the narration of this book which only added to my enjoyment.
**ARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review**
Heard It in a Love Song was one of my most anticipated reads of the year, however, it unfortunately didn't blow me away. This is not a romance novel in my opinion. It definitely had romantic elements but the main focus was how both the characters Layla and Josh were handling their post-divorce lives and how they got to this point. I didn't like how much time we spent in the past, I personally didn't really need to know so much about their past marriage. The back and forth felt a bit chaotic and took me out of the story. It made it difficult for me to connect to the characters as a couple. Also I didn't think we spent enough time in present time for me to believe in their relationship. I really enjoyed the parts where they got to know each other and I just needed more of that.
If I rated this book as a romance novel then I would give it two stars, but as a women's fiction I would rate it three stars. I really liked the characters but I just wasn't able to connect to them both as individuals and as a couple. There was no passion between them, and the story felt impersonal. Overall I thought the story was okay, and I was able to finish it so something kept me intrigued enough to keep reading. My biggest problem was the layout of the story and the flashbacks just ruined it for me. It just absorbed a huge chunk of the story and hindered me into connecting to Josh and Layla as a couple. Furthermore, it felt like the flashbacks were added randomly right into the middle of the chapters, which ruined my focus. I did think the personal growth was great for both of the characters, and I enjoyed seeing them take a step towards the next chapter in their lives. This isn't my favorite by this author but I do look forward to her next book.
I absolutely loved “The Girl He Used To Know,” so when I saw this on NetGalley, I immediately requested it, and was so thrilled and thankful to St. Martin’s Press via NetGalley for approving! This is amazing, and so much more than a second-chance love story. It follows Layla, a recently divorced music teacher, and past rocker chic, -and single parent Josh, who’s waiting on paperwork for his own divorce from his high school sweetheart. They meet at Josh’s daughters school drop-off every morning, where Layla is her music teacher. A friendship blossoms that has them questioning if they’re ready for something more, or is it too soon. They both have the same thoughts about not jumping in to a relationship too quick the second time around. With their lives starting over post-divorce, both are coming to terms with their new independence, being alone and for Layla, -finding what she wants most in life. I enjoyed the flashbacks of Layla and Josh’s previous relationships, and the references to musical lyrics and bands that put me in mind of Daisy Jones and the Six. Not to be missed!
What a beautifully written story of two people processing the loss of their marriage and what moving forward looks like.
Layla was certainly the type of heroine that many will be able to relate to. The problems within her marriage were those that are shared among many others. Her journey to rise up and find out who she truly is, and what she wants, was filled with growing pains as she struggled with every step forward. I found her to be extremely likeable.
Josh was in a situation that had me wondering how it was all going to work out. There is definitely a sense that anything could happen between him and his wife. This author does not allow him to take the easy way out nor was he created in a way that’s commonly found among romance heroes. Yes, I liked him, but I was constantly on edge regarding how this was all going to turn out.
The main bulk of this story consists of back-flashes that reveal the relationship Layla and Josh had with their spouses. It highlights all the good, the bad and the ugly before moving this couple into the here and now and their own build up into a new relationship. There isn’t a lot of time spent on this development but it was written in a way that it felt organic when they finally took a serious step forward.
Definitely a book that’s light on romance and heavy on emotion.