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The “quick-witted and razor-sharp” (Taylor Jenkins Reid, New York Times bestselling author of Daisy Jones & The Six) author of Limelight and Small Admissions returns with a hilarious and heartfelt new novel about a perfectly imperfect summer of love, secrets, and second chances. Bridget and Will have the kind of relationship that people envy: they’re loving, compatible, and The “quick-witted and razor-sharp” (Taylor Jenkins Reid, New York Times bestselling author of Daisy Jones & The Six) author of Limelight and Small Admissions returns with a hilarious and heartfelt new novel about a perfectly imperfect summer of love, secrets, and second chances. Bridget and Will have the kind of relationship that people envy: they’re loving, compatible, and completely devoted to each other. The fact that they’re strictly friends seems to get lost on nearly everyone; after all, they’re as good as married in (almost) every way. For three decades, they’ve nurtured their baby, the Forsyth Trio—a chamber group they created as students with their Juilliard classmate Gavin Glantz. In the intervening years, Gavin has gone on to become one of the classical music world’s reigning stars, while Bridget and Will have learned to embrace the warm reviews and smaller venues that accompany modest success. Bridget has been dreaming of spending the summer at her well-worn Connecticut country home with her boyfriend Sterling. But her plans are upended when Sterling, dutifully following his ex-wife’s advice, breaks up with her over email and her twin twenty-somethings arrive unannounced, filling her empty nest with their big dogs, dirty laundry, and respective crises. Bridget has problems of her own: her elderly father announces he’s getting married, and the Forsyth Trio is once again missing its violinist. She concocts a plan to host her dad’s wedding on her ramshackle property, while putting the Forsyth Trio back into the spotlight. But to catch the attention of the music world, she and Will place their bets on luring back Gavin, whom they’ve both avoided ever since their stormy parting. With her trademark humor, pitch-perfect voice, and sly perspective on the human heart, Amy Poeppel crafts a love letter to modern family life with all of its discord and harmony. In the tradition of novels by Maria Semple and Stephen McCauley, Musical Chairs is an irresistibly romantic story of role reversals, reinvention, and sweet synchronicity.


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The “quick-witted and razor-sharp” (Taylor Jenkins Reid, New York Times bestselling author of Daisy Jones & The Six) author of Limelight and Small Admissions returns with a hilarious and heartfelt new novel about a perfectly imperfect summer of love, secrets, and second chances. Bridget and Will have the kind of relationship that people envy: they’re loving, compatible, and The “quick-witted and razor-sharp” (Taylor Jenkins Reid, New York Times bestselling author of Daisy Jones & The Six) author of Limelight and Small Admissions returns with a hilarious and heartfelt new novel about a perfectly imperfect summer of love, secrets, and second chances. Bridget and Will have the kind of relationship that people envy: they’re loving, compatible, and completely devoted to each other. The fact that they’re strictly friends seems to get lost on nearly everyone; after all, they’re as good as married in (almost) every way. For three decades, they’ve nurtured their baby, the Forsyth Trio—a chamber group they created as students with their Juilliard classmate Gavin Glantz. In the intervening years, Gavin has gone on to become one of the classical music world’s reigning stars, while Bridget and Will have learned to embrace the warm reviews and smaller venues that accompany modest success. Bridget has been dreaming of spending the summer at her well-worn Connecticut country home with her boyfriend Sterling. But her plans are upended when Sterling, dutifully following his ex-wife’s advice, breaks up with her over email and her twin twenty-somethings arrive unannounced, filling her empty nest with their big dogs, dirty laundry, and respective crises. Bridget has problems of her own: her elderly father announces he’s getting married, and the Forsyth Trio is once again missing its violinist. She concocts a plan to host her dad’s wedding on her ramshackle property, while putting the Forsyth Trio back into the spotlight. But to catch the attention of the music world, she and Will place their bets on luring back Gavin, whom they’ve both avoided ever since their stormy parting. With her trademark humor, pitch-perfect voice, and sly perspective on the human heart, Amy Poeppel crafts a love letter to modern family life with all of its discord and harmony. In the tradition of novels by Maria Semple and Stephen McCauley, Musical Chairs is an irresistibly romantic story of role reversals, reinvention, and sweet synchronicity.

30 review for Musical Chairs

  1. 4 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    Do you know any book makes you uncontrollably cry and laugh at the same time? Your emotions are in everywhere: your smile keeps widen and your tears keep spilling, than you laugh out something till your abdomen hurts and later you start blowing your nose! This is one of those books help you awaken your soul! This is sentimental, entertaining, poignant, beautiful story with lots of lovely characters. But I have to warn you; it’s sometime hard to concentrate on your reading because too many charac Do you know any book makes you uncontrollably cry and laugh at the same time? Your emotions are in everywhere: your smile keeps widen and your tears keep spilling, than you laugh out something till your abdomen hurts and later you start blowing your nose! This is one of those books help you awaken your soul! This is sentimental, entertaining, poignant, beautiful story with lots of lovely characters. But I have to warn you; it’s sometime hard to concentrate on your reading because too many characters sit on the circle of musical chairs. You gotta pay attention each of the stories. They are memorable, likable and perfectly crafted characters. It takes place in old a little dilapidated place: most of the musicians, artists, creative people called it “home” in Connecticut. We’re firstly introduced with Bridget and Will (long- time friends since they were students at Julliard) Bridget plays cello as Will plays the piano. All those years they stuck together, became their confidantes and now things are changing, they’re getting older: Will is having hard time to find proper gigs to make ends meet and especially Bridget is worried about her life choices and she starts thinking maybe she has to be brave enough with her relationship Sterling who is novelist and think more seriously about him. Maybe he was her last chance. ( As for me the guy is scumbag who is looking for a new model of her mother and he was never a great candidate as a lover. I truly started booing at the parts his character appears) But as far as we can see her 20 something twins suddenly decide to spend their summer with their mommy and her scumbag, narcissistic lover decides that he doesn’t want to stay in relationship with her. And when she thinks she cannot take any more she finds out her 90 years old father decides to remarry! So we become observant of Bridget’s bumpy, entertaining, whirlwind summer adventure as if it’s a musical chairs play: participants start moving between chair to chair till the music stops so at this summer holiday so many different characters come into her life and leave again till her summer ends and her inner music stops. Interestingly Hudson was my hero. I adored his friendship with Will. Who am I kidding? I adore dogs and I confess most of the time I prefer sweet dogs over some people (they never makes you furious with their inappropriate and know-it-all comments, they’re always sweet, honest, loyal and ready to play, have so much fun!) But I think Isabelle, Nicholas ( because he is described as Colin Firth and throughout my reading I started daydreaming Mr. Darcy. Maybe I’m too superficial to like a character because of his description. Who knows!) and of course Marge were my favorites. (Marge is the key character, observing people’s lives and wanting the best for them: she is a person who can objectively see things about your life and when you ask for blunt, ugly truth, she may directly tell it to your face. She is definition of best honest friend you may ever meet.) Overall: It’s sweet, entertaining, emotional story about family dramas, relationships, friendship, loyalty and of course: there are lots of music!(I keep listening concertos during my reading to feel the rhythm of the characters and their interactions.) That’s the magical feel-good book you urgently need right now and I highly recommend it. Special thanks to NetGalley and Atria/Emily Bestler Books for sharing this lovely ARC with me in exchange my honest review. blog instagram facebook twitter

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    Every summer, I look forward to Amy Poeppel’s books, and this summer, with Musical Chairs, she has topped herself. Musical Chairs is another humorous story full of heart and lots of secrets. Bridget and Will are a power couple. Oh, wait, they aren’t a couple. They are just friends! But everyone thinks they should be a couple. They have had a chamber group together for over thirty years. Bridget gets dumped by her boyfriend via email, and her twin adult children arrive, all changing her plans for Every summer, I look forward to Amy Poeppel’s books, and this summer, with Musical Chairs, she has topped herself. Musical Chairs is another humorous story full of heart and lots of secrets. Bridget and Will are a power couple. Oh, wait, they aren’t a couple. They are just friends! But everyone thinks they should be a couple. They have had a chamber group together for over thirty years. Bridget gets dumped by her boyfriend via email, and her twin adult children arrive, all changing her plans for the summer. On top of it all, Bridget’s father is getting married, probably on her property. I love that Bridget is an “older” character and that characters of all ages are featured. Musical Chairs had me laughing out loud and shedding a few tears. It’s a beautiful story of finding happiness at any age. I was entertained, I was fully invested, and I left feeling hopeful and uplifted. I received a gifted copy. All opinions are my own. Many of my reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com and instagram: www.instagram.com/tarheelreader

  3. 4 out of 5

    Larry H

    4.5 stars. There's a moment in every Amy Poeppel novel where everything starts to go off the rails. Secrets are revealed, things which have remained unsaid for years are finally said, and confrontation and breakdown are brewing. In lesser hands, this situation can become farcical, melodramatic, almost ridiculous. But in Poeppel's hands there's a balance of pathos and clarity, hysteria and humor, and you realize why her books are so great (but I don't know why she's not famous). Bridget and Will hav 4.5 stars. There's a moment in every Amy Poeppel novel where everything starts to go off the rails. Secrets are revealed, things which have remained unsaid for years are finally said, and confrontation and breakdown are brewing. In lesser hands, this situation can become farcical, melodramatic, almost ridiculous. But in Poeppel's hands there's a balance of pathos and clarity, hysteria and humor, and you realize why her books are so great (but I don't know why she's not famous). Bridget and Will have been friends since college. They're so perfectly attuned to each other in so many ways, everyone always assumes they're a couple, but they've never had any more than a platonic, brother-sister relationship. And that's fine with both of them. The two are two-thirds of the Forsyth Trio, a classical musical chamber group of mild renown, which they formed during college at Juilliard. Their original third member, Gavin, who was the most talented of the three (and boy, did he know it), has gained some fame in the classical music world, but Bridget and Will have had group members come and go over the years, garnering modest recognition and playing small venues. It's not ideal, but it's always been just enough for the two of them. This summer Bridget is looking forward to spending time at her country home in Connecticut with her novelist boyfriend, Sterling. But Sterling's ex-wife has other ideas, and suddenly Bridget is facing a summer alone, as her house becomes increasingly shabbier. And then her grown twin children both show up from different places in the world. Both of their lives are in flux, so they seek the comfort of their family home to help ride the storm out. But by no means is this going to be a peaceful, relaxing summer. In addition to dealing with her children, Bridget and Will are in the midst of delicate negotiations with another musician to join the trio. At the same time, her famous father, now in his 90s, is getting married again, something she and her sister are utterly unprepared for. Throw in the reemergence of an old acquaintance and a whole lot of uncertainty about the future, and it's enough to make anyone crazy. I love tales of family dysfunction, and Musical Chairs has that in spades. But it also is an examination of the boundaries of friendship and how easy it is to intertwine your life with someone even if you have no interest in them romantically. It's also the story of how easy it is for secrets and things which remain unsaid to get in the way of relationships, and hamper you from moving forward with the rest of your life. And above it all, it's the story of the integral role music plays in the life of one extended family. As I mentioned at the outset of this review, I love the way Poeppel tells a story, the way she breathes life and heart into flawed characters you root for and empathize with even as you want to shake them for not telling the truth or telling someone how they really feel. There are things in the book which border on silly but somehow they work in Poeppel's hands. I really just enjoyed this story so much, even though there is a lot going on. I'd also encourage you to read Poeppel's earlier books, Small Admissions and Limelight . You'll see that her mixture of humor and heart isn't something she just stumbled into in this book. Check out my list of the best books I read in 2019 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2020/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2019.html. Check out my list of the best books of the decade at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2020/01/my-favorite-books-of-decade.html. See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com. Follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the.bookishworld.of.yrralh/.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Anne Bogel

    I thought this novel was so much fun! I really enjoyed Limelight but I think I enjoyed this new one even more. Bridget planned for the perfect summer ... but then it all went wrong. First her boyfriend breaks up with her, over email. Then her two twenty-something children, each dealing with their own crisis, invade her empty nest. And then the classical trio that is her livelihood comes unglued, and her aging father sets his own nearby house on fire. In the course of one short summer everything I thought this novel was so much fun! I really enjoyed Limelight but I think I enjoyed this new one even more. Bridget planned for the perfect summer ... but then it all went wrong. First her boyfriend breaks up with her, over email. Then her two twenty-something children, each dealing with their own crisis, invade her empty nest. And then the classical trio that is her livelihood comes unglued, and her aging father sets his own nearby house on fire. In the course of one short summer everything that can go wrong, does go wrong—and if she’s going to fix it, Bridget must fess up to secrets she’s buried for twenty years. It’s not the summer Bridget planned for, but it delivers the second chance she needs. Absolutely hilarious, with laugh-out-loud dialogue and a pitch-perfect ending.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Berit☀️✨

    Humor, heart, dogs, and sheep.Amy Poeppel has written a wonderfully whimsical story of family and friendship. Bridget is excited to spend the summer in her summer home in upstate Connecticut with her new boyfriend Sterling. A nice quiet summer with just the two of them. That is until Sterling ends things over email and Bridgets adult twins show up with crises and without notice. Not only that her 90-year-old father has just announced his pending marriage, and guess who’s hosting the wedding? Sud Humor, heart, dogs, and sheep.Amy Poeppel has written a wonderfully whimsical story of family and friendship. Bridget is excited to spend the summer in her summer home in upstate Connecticut with her new boyfriend Sterling. A nice quiet summer with just the two of them. That is until Sterling ends things over email and Bridgets adult twins show up with crises and without notice. Not only that her 90-year-old father has just announced his pending marriage, and guess who’s hosting the wedding? Suddenly Bridgets quiet summer has turned quite chaotic. Thank goodness for her good friend Will! Bridget and Will have known one another since college. Most people assume they have been romantically involved at some point, but they truly have only ever been friends. Bridget plays the cello, will plays the piano, and they make up 2/3 of a trio. It’s that third member, that third chair that keeps changing. Musical Chairs was the perfect title for this book not only was the trio constantly in search of the third chair, but the book itself had a constant changing of characters. At first I had a little trouble keeping track of who was who, but it did not take that long to get into the rhythm of the story. The book really highlighted the complexities and chaos of family life. Each character in this book brought something special and necessary to the table. There were so many humorous moments some involving sheep and chickens, some not. But my favorite moments of the story were when all these crazy characters were together, truly never a doll moment. Amy Poeppel’s descriptive writing style made me feel like I was right there with these characters. A well told story packed with characters I grew to adore. This book in emojis 🎼 🎻 🐈 🐕 🐑 ☔️ 🏚 🍷 *** Big thank you to Atria for my gifted copy of this book. All opinions are my own. ***

  6. 4 out of 5

    Theresa Alan

    4.5 stars rounded up. I loved Poeppel’s book Small Admissions. This has many of the same charms and humor and fully drawn characters. Bridget comes from money but is never annoying about it. She met Will when they were students at Julliard. She plays the cello and he the piano. They’ve stuck together for years through relationships to other people and many violinists in their trio. This summer, Bridget is hopeful that by spending some weeks away from the city, she’ll take her relationship with no 4.5 stars rounded up. I loved Poeppel’s book Small Admissions. This has many of the same charms and humor and fully drawn characters. Bridget comes from money but is never annoying about it. She met Will when they were students at Julliard. She plays the cello and he the piano. They’ve stuck together for years through relationships to other people and many violinists in their trio. This summer, Bridget is hopeful that by spending some weeks away from the city, she’ll take her relationship with novelist Sterling to a new level before a new violinist joins the group. She and Will are hoping this bright young woman will get her and Will out of the struggling-to-get-gigs funk they’ve been in. Sterling backs out of visiting the falling apart family home in the country, and suddenly her twin 20-something children show up entirely unannounced with crises of their own. The first part of the book was a challenge for me to get into because there are a lot of characters to keep track of and backstory to piece together, but as soon as soon as I figured out who was who, I really got into it and enjoyed it. There are a few coincidences that strained credulity, but they worked, so I didn’t mind. Another wonderful accomplishment from Poeppel. Thanks so much to NetGalley for the opportunity to review this novel, which RELEASES July 21, 2020.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    Summer was about to get complicated.... Hanging out in an old broken down estate in Connecticut....with no nonsense friends.....family.... musicians...artists... academic types...caretakers...dogs...cats...love...’love-nots’....egos....smooth talking types....chatter-mouth-neighbors...uncompromising characters.....each with a plate filled with struggles.... is smart and charming > a combination of fierce and tender. Amy Poeppel takes us ( the readers), on a journey of complex relationships, letti Summer was about to get complicated.... Hanging out in an old broken down estate in Connecticut....with no nonsense friends.....family.... musicians...artists... academic types...caretakers...dogs...cats...love...’love-nots’....egos....smooth talking types....chatter-mouth-neighbors...uncompromising characters.....each with a plate filled with struggles.... is smart and charming > a combination of fierce and tender. Amy Poeppel takes us ( the readers), on a journey of complex relationships, letting us see their shortcomings. Against daunting odds....everyone is tying to find their missing piece...a place they can call ‘home’. (with themselves). It’s filled with wonderful, captivating, imperfect characters. They made me laugh one moment - and almost cry other moments. Bridget wonders if she is too old to find her right people. “What if Sterling was ‘it’ for me, my last chance?”. Being serious a moment - I think this is a common thought for many people pass a certain age. Bridget has talents...( she also has challenges)...POOR GIRL....( I came to love her)... Bridget plays the cello. But with so many other concerns - I wondered how she could focus on anything other than her next glass of wine. Bridget was part of “The Forsyth Trio”. She’s was also part of her family’s history - no matter how much she wished she wasn’t. ( ie....her famous conductor/composer father Edward Stratton). Will was Bridget’s best guy friend, (since their school days at Juilliard). I loved Will too! He played piano - and had a great dog I came to adore named Hudson. As for the third person in ‘the trio’, .....ha, it’s just not a perfect science finding a replacement violin player. Like musical chairs....the position keeps changing seats. The number of other interesting characters rotate in chairs ALL SUMMER LONG! One of my favorites characters was Marge: Marge had superpowers. She took care of everyone’s needs. I soooo wanted her to come to my house - while we Californians are staying home - hoping to escape the coronavirus.( along with the rest of the world). Marge did the laundry, the mail, emptied bedroom trash cans, saw open laptops, but she had no need for snooping. She was a darn good cook too. It wasn’t as if Marge had psychic powers either, but knowledge did come to her. She was a woman I wanted to have my backside. “As for the Strattons, Marge had known before anyone else, for example, that Quinn would be a much happier, more satisfied person once she got rid of her jackass husband, Charles, and started focusing on her career. She’d known Isabelle would never last the year in Hong Kong. Just like she knew that Edward was up to something very, very big because there was an energy radiating off him she had never felt before. And that Bridget was grasping at straws‘s to give her midlife meaning, unaware that what she needed was change”. I agreed with what Marge thought about sterling ( the older man that Bridget fancied as her ‘it’ guy).... “Sterling was a weasel. He was one of those stupid men who thought he was smart. A weak man who thought he was tough. He had a fragile ego, and what he wanted was a mother, not an equal. His ex-wife, as far as Marge was concerned, could keep him”. Overall, I fell under the spell of Amy Poeppel’s writing charms, dialogue, and textured characters. I admit to taking a little longer to read this adorable delightful novel. The seriousness of our global crisis is always on my mind. I become more distracted when reading than before this crisis. Living in the hottest hit county in all of California is a little surreal to say the least. However....( and I mean this wholeheartedly), every time I did pick this book back up to read…it was engaging. I loved following along - getting to know these folks. Here is a little writing sample ... that I treasured: “Hudson ran out into the field, and Will walked with him in a big circle around the yard, stepping through tall grass with his hands in his pockets, sucking on a butterscotch candy. The moon was full, and it was hard not to be impressed by the ruckus coming from the thicket near the pond, cicadas or peepers or crickets or whatever critters carried on like this at night. And then there was the business with the stars overhead, scattered across the sky”. Thank you Amy....your charming book (first, but not last that I’ll read by you). Special thanks to my local friend - Lisa - my real friend - and reading buddy here in the Bay Area....( we lift each other up). It was our phone chat today that actually gave me enough refreshed circulation to even attempt writing a book report. Thanks Lisa - for helping me get off my ass! I hope I helped you today too - in other ways! I’m reading “David Copperfield” for my first time...but I’m slow.....( thinking about it when not reading it). Would love to hear from others who have read it. Any tips you have to offer about it....to finish or not...etc. I’m all ears.: With the OVERWHELMING thoughts about our current crisis —- [ literally I cry on a dime at any given second]....it’s just hard to experience any difference I can make writing a book review. I hope I’ve made a little difference. “Musical Chairs” is enjoyable ...( definitely it is).....but all I keep wanting to share with others is “BE SAFE”. DO NOT GET the coronavirus! Really...STAY HOME! Eat bonbons or something - play games - watch something silly on your TV screen.... Read when you’re up for it - do something else if not. “Musical Chairs”, isn’t a MUST READ....but it’s good! With SO MANY REAL - FRIGHTENING STORIES - happening in my neighborhood- I’ve never wanted to reach out and hug complete strangers more than I do now! I admire every reader who can plough through a novel these days without focusing challenges. Blessings to my friends and family. Thank you Netgalley and Atria/Emily Bestler Books Kudos to Amy Poeppel. This book will be released in July of 2020.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Camilla

    It's a miracle I finished this book. The only reason why I kept reading was that I actually thought it would get better at some point... but it didn't. This is about Bridget, a woman in her 50s (though this is not openly stated), who's going to spend summer away with her boyfriend, but he cancels last minute. Things start getting chaotic when her family members and friends end up spending vacation at the same house as her. Not only that, but her elderly father is also getting married soon. When It's a miracle I finished this book. The only reason why I kept reading was that I actually thought it would get better at some point... but it didn't. This is about Bridget, a woman in her 50s (though this is not openly stated), who's going to spend summer away with her boyfriend, but he cancels last minute. Things start getting chaotic when her family members and friends end up spending vacation at the same house as her. Not only that, but her elderly father is also getting married soon. When I requested this book, I thought it would be drama and romance heavy, but it wasn't. To me, it felt very uninteresting: there were way too many characters (to the point that it got confusing as names were dropped constantly), every mundane thing was described on page and not a lot of action goes on. I think it could've been edited to half its size and it wouldn't make much of a difference. This is a book I'll probably never think about again, so I don't even know who to recommend it to. (NetGalley ARC)

  9. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    This book sounded like my kind of quirky novel - convoluted family, lots of animals and all manners of relationships. But I initially had trouble getting into this one. There are a lot of characters and not all of them are likeable. Bridget, the main character, seemed a bit of a doormat. She’s also a procrastinator and it worried me that she was letting her summer house fall down around her. So, she wasn’t someone I initially bonded with. But I give Poeppel credit for making her characters reali This book sounded like my kind of quirky novel - convoluted family, lots of animals and all manners of relationships. But I initially had trouble getting into this one. There are a lot of characters and not all of them are likeable. Bridget, the main character, seemed a bit of a doormat. She’s also a procrastinator and it worried me that she was letting her summer house fall down around her. So, she wasn’t someone I initially bonded with. But I give Poeppel credit for making her characters realistic - flawed and struggling to find their ways no matter their age. And as the book progressed, I definitely came to care about each of the characters and what decisions they would make. The book is definitely sweet, sometimes overly so. There are several extremely humorous moments. I enjoyed the weirdly complicated situations that everyone found themselves in. So, if you’re looking for something light, yet moving, this will fit the bill. “Playing Synchronicity...reminds me that life is a perfect combination of chance and choreography. Much like the baroque dances. I had in mind when I wrote the piece. Imagine: a group of people come together and delight in the act of rearranging themselves into new configurations. One person turns, leaving a space, upsetting the arrangement, but the other dancers follow suit and they all align themselves anew. For a moment they are all are in motion, shifting with a chasse or crossover, until a new constellation forms and there’s a moment of equilibrium...before it bes again.” My thanks to netgalley and Atria Books for an advance copy of this book.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne Leopold (Suzy Approved Book Reviews)

    Bridget Stratton is single and is enjoying her life as a cellist in Manhattan. She has two adult children who are now involved in their own lives. She has a home in upstate Connecticut and is looking forward to spending time with her boyfriend Sterling. Her plans for the summer quickly change when they break up and her two children arrive in Connecticut seeking refuge from their own problems. Bridget always leans on her best friend Will for his advice and unwavering support. The two have played t Bridget Stratton is single and is enjoying her life as a cellist in Manhattan. She has two adult children who are now involved in their own lives. She has a home in upstate Connecticut and is looking forward to spending time with her boyfriend Sterling. Her plans for the summer quickly change when they break up and her two children arrive in Connecticut seeking refuge from their own problems. Bridget always leans on her best friend Will for his advice and unwavering support. The two have played together for over thirty years and their friendship has stood the test of time. With Bridget distraught over recent events, Will travels to Connecticut to lend his support. However, their relationship is tested when secrets from the past begin to surface. Musical Chairs by Amy Poeppel is her third novel. It depicts family and friendships at their best and worst moments. Life is messy so get ready for disagreements, arguments, and plenty of secrets.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    For someone who has spent more than half my life playing some form of music, much of it classical music, this book tickles my music-geeky heart in just the right way. The mile-a-minute references, the constant obsessions and discussions about renditions and arrangements, even the nerve-wracking sensations before auditions all hit a lovely and familiar note. Then again, Musical Chairs is also about professional musicians, hashing out the reality of a cutthroat and challenging industry that incites For someone who has spent more than half my life playing some form of music, much of it classical music, this book tickles my music-geeky heart in just the right way. The mile-a-minute references, the constant obsessions and discussions about renditions and arrangements, even the nerve-wracking sensations before auditions all hit a lovely and familiar note. Then again, Musical Chairs is also about professional musicians, hashing out the reality of a cutthroat and challenging industry that incites my personal no-thank-you, can’t-cut-it attitude. We’re talking Julliard here, and the closest brush I had to that was my flute teacher, an alumni of those hallowed grounds who absolutely abhorred my flute embouchure (only a year later, I ran away, tail between my legs). Undoubtedly much more successful, main characters Bridget and Will were rising stars of the Forsyth trio in their early Julliard days, only to have their violin player leave them for an Australian symphony a few years later. Though the missing violin spot has found numerous seat-warmers over the years, it is 30 years later that Bridget and Will are finding themselves unceremoniously jostled out of relevance, struggling to hold onto the place they have carved out in the chamber music scene. In danger of becoming true has-beens in their middle age, they are desperate to invite a rising star to revitalize their trio. Here comes a summer ripe for revelations, replete with: a 90th birthday celebration and a wedding for Bridget’s famous composer and musician father; an ever-shifting quagmire of broken, mending, or new relationships and marriages; a complete makeover of her Connecticut country home; and a multi-generational family reunion. Populated by a slew of characters, Musical Chairs tells a story as dramatic as Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Scheherazade” and as dynamic as Saint-Saëns's “The Carnival of the Animals.” Amy Poeppel writes flaws into each character; they are not wholly likeable, but their imperfections keep them from becoming caricatures. Though each is offered solo moments to shine, not every point of view is a perfect addition to the symphony. Introducing pieces of backstories and motivations from so many perspectives drags the pace down, especially early in the novel. Only later do they settle in to become a beautiful, messy harmony. With a book like this, I have to suspend some disbelief in order to let the more silly, romantic machinations toss me around, but luckily, Musical Chairs is anchored by an abiding appreciation for strong friendships, unconditional familial ties, and personal growth. Whether through romantic fulfillment, upholstering frayed relationships, or grasping at straws to define success and find direction in midlife, I found myself committed through swells of heartache and disappointments. On one hand, I have never thought 50 something year olds could be so preoccupied with romance, but who am I to think otherwise? Poeppel has envisioned a comic and heartfelt story in Musical Chairs while reaffirming a lovely place for the intricacies of classical music, pretension and all. Perhaps unbelievable at times, I still appreciated Poeppel’s subtle humor, never too affected as she presents an uplifting yet open-ended narrative on the promise of growth in midlife and beyond. Left with a smile and a contented sigh, I call this one a win for me. Many thanks to Netgalley and Atria Books for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  12. 5 out of 5

    ABookwormWithWine

    "What is life but a series of inspired follies? Never lose a chance: it doesn't come every day." I honestly have no idea what took me so long to read an Amy Poeppel book, but I'm so happy I read Musical Chairs right away. This book was charming, witty, endearing, and just a whole lot of fun. I absolutely adored Poeppel's writing style and I never wanted the book to end! Musical Chairs is very friendship/relationship focused, but it also has a lot about music in it which was fun and different to w "What is life but a series of inspired follies? Never lose a chance: it doesn't come every day." I honestly have no idea what took me so long to read an Amy Poeppel book, but I'm so happy I read Musical Chairs right away. This book was charming, witty, endearing, and just a whole lot of fun. I absolutely adored Poeppel's writing style and I never wanted the book to end! Musical Chairs is very friendship/relationship focused, but it also has a lot about music in it which was fun and different to what I usually read. I loved all of the characters, even Gavin though he was obnoxious at times. It's always so refreshing to read a book filled with likable characters and this book is exactly what I needed right now. It's a slow burn and did take me a bit to get into, but once I did I couldn't put the book down and it quickly turned from a 4-star read into a 5-star read. There are quite a few viewpoints and characters in Musical Chairs, but I didn't have a problem keeping track of them for the most part. They really kept me going and engaged, and I loved all of the family drama. There is also plenty of humor and it had me laughing out loud more than a few times. Lots of great one-liners and funny parts, plus the romances were adorable. This book made Poeppel an autobuy author for me and I can't wait to read her other books and anything she writes next! Thank you to the publisher for providing me with an advance review copy of this book, all opinions and thoughts are my own.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Bkwmlee

    This was such a charming, delightful read! I honestly can’t remember the last time I had so much fun reading a book (years at least!). From the story to the characters to the plot to the descriptive writing (and everything in between), there were so many things I adored about this book that I honestly don’t know if I can do it justice even with a lengthy review. Where do I even start? Ok, perhaps with one of the elements that made this story so good: the quirky, yet realistically drawn character This was such a charming, delightful read! I honestly can’t remember the last time I had so much fun reading a book (years at least!). From the story to the characters to the plot to the descriptive writing (and everything in between), there were so many things I adored about this book that I honestly don’t know if I can do it justice even with a lengthy review. Where do I even start? Ok, perhaps with one of the elements that made this story so good: the quirky, yet realistically drawn characters who, despite their flaws, turned out to be so endearing. I love the fact that the two central characters in this story, Bridget and Will, have such a unique, special, long-standing relationship — one that transcends both friendship and romance and instead is akin to family, with a shared bond closer even than siblings. To say that the family dynamics in this story are complicated is an understatement — I would say that “dysfunctional” is a better term to describe this family, albeit in a completely lovable and irresistibly charming way. I adored nearly every character in here (both human and pet alike, lol, though of course, special shout-out to Ronaldo, the funniest parrot on the planet in my opinion). Some would say that there were too many characters in the story and it was hard to keep track, but I was actually fine with it, as I appreciated the different perspectives that each character brought to the story. In fact, I’m glad the author, Amy Poeppel, structured the story the way she did — basically allowing us to see the various events from each character’s viewpoint while at the same time giving us insight into the characters’ backgrounds. The other thing I loved about this story was the humor. Most people may prefer “deliberately funny,” but I’m actually more of a fan of subtle humor — the kind that comes across so naturally that you don’t even realize how hilarious it is until you find yourself suddenly laughing out loud (and getting sideways glances from people around you). This kind of humor is extremely hard to pull off well, especially in written format where words always convey the intended emotion properly — yet Poeppel absolutely mastered it here! I don’t know how she did it, but she was able to make the story consistently funny in a thoughtful, respectful way, even while exploring some pretty heavy topics. Again, not an easy feat by any means. I talk about emotional resonance a lot in my reviews because this is a key component for me when it comes to reading. How does the book make me feel? What was the reading experience like? These (among others) are the types of questions I ask myself after each book and the answers help me figure out what rating best aligns with my feelings. One of the things that many of my 5 star reads have in common is that they move me to tears in some way (which isn’t easy given that I can be quite the cynic when it comes to emotions). With this book, while it didn’t move me to tears exactly (though a few scenes were mighty darn close to doing so), it did move me to (constant) laughter, which is even harder in my opinion given the type of humor I prefer. I also like the fact that there was depth to the story and, like many of the best books out there, a meaningful message that was both thought-provoking and poignant. My favorite scene is the toast that Edward Stratton (Bridget’s father) gives at the wedding, which, aside from being one of the most best scenes I’ve ever read in a book, also perfectly captured the brilliance that Amy Poeppel was able to achieve with this story: hilarious and heartfelt! The brilliance wasn’t just in the story though....the many nuances with the book’s title – in reference to a website, the menagerie of characters and their various positions as they go through life, the throwback to the actual music component in the story, etc. – and the way it tied into the story in such a significant way, also added a fun dynamic to reading this book. Obviously, I enjoyed this one tremendously and so of course would wholeheartedly recommend it! If you want a smart, well-written, hilarious story with lots of heart that also features a wonderfully eclectic group of quirky but lovable characters, Musical Chairs is all that and then some. Those who know me know that I’m a picky reader and usually very stingy with my 5 stars (case in point – out of the 38 books I’ve read so far this year, not including this one, I’ve only rated 2 of them 5 stars), but this book absolutely deserves it! And yes, I have every intention of going back and reading Amy Poeppel’s backlist, as I’ve been told her previous novels are great as well. Received ARC from Emily Bestler / Atria Books via NetGalley

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kristy

    A charming and delightful look at family and friendship Bridget and Will are the best of friends--and nothing more--despite what everyone thinks. For over thirty years, they've been the two long-standing members of the Forsyth Trio. The third founding member, Gavin, went on to great success and stardom, leaving Bridget and Will to fill the position with a rotating crew of musicians. Before starting up the trio again, Bridget plans on spending the summer at her country house in Connecticut near he A charming and delightful look at family and friendship Bridget and Will are the best of friends--and nothing more--despite what everyone thinks. For over thirty years, they've been the two long-standing members of the Forsyth Trio. The third founding member, Gavin, went on to great success and stardom, leaving Bridget and Will to fill the position with a rotating crew of musicians. Before starting up the trio again, Bridget plans on spending the summer at her country house in Connecticut near her father, the famous musician Edward Stratton. But things go awry quickly. Her boyfriend breaks it off with her; her twenty-something twins surprise her by returning to the house for the summer, bringing their chaos with them; and the older Edward announces he's getting married. Will and Bridget decide to relaunch the Forsyth Trio at the wedding, but it all hinges on getting Gavin to return--someone they've both been avoiding for quite some time. This is a charming and funny story. If it sounds all over the place, it's only because it's a reflection on Bridget's life, which is a total mess at the beginning of our tale. Each character in Poeppel's heartfelt tome is wonderful: real and true, standing out on the page as their own person. I fell easily for poor Bridget, hapless Will, the twins, and our host of side characters, ranging from Bridget's very New York-ish sister to Gwen to uppity Edward and his assistant to the local Connecticut townfolk who swarm to try to keep Bridget--and her cottage--from falling apart. There's a lot of focus on music here--with Bridget, Will, and Edward all musicians, and it makes for a different and lovely book. While plenty of serious things happen, overall this is a sweet and funny story. I found myself smiling and laughing often while reading. There are some downright laugh out loud scenes. Bridget's inability to master technology, coupled with the helplessness of her twins, allow for some wonderful moments. But what really shines through is how much everyone here loves each other--Bridget and her kids, the whole Stratton family, and Will, who is truly part of the clan. How nice to read a book where, even if everyone might fight a day, their compassion and caring for each other shines through. And, of course, I have a soft spot for any book featuring twins, so I enjoyed a prominent storyline featuring them. Overall, this is delightful book that offered a wonderful distraction to the woes of the world. It's a funny and kind look at family and friendship, and it simply made me happy. 4+ stars. I received a copy of this book from Netgalley and Atria/Emily Bestler Books in return for an unbiased review. Blog ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram ~ PaperBackSwap ~ Smashbomb

  15. 4 out of 5

    Toni

    4.5 Stars Remember playing the game ‘musical chairs’ as a child at birthday parties and the like, and as you went round, and the music stopped everyone clamored for a chair? Then as the game went on there were less and less chairs? Well, in some regards, that is how some of the characters in this book might feel both figuratively and literally. Like a chair was just pulled out for you but wait, where did it go, it was here just a minute ago? Bridget, our main character, feels like that almost all 4.5 Stars Remember playing the game ‘musical chairs’ as a child at birthday parties and the like, and as you went round, and the music stopped everyone clamored for a chair? Then as the game went on there were less and less chairs? Well, in some regards, that is how some of the characters in this book might feel both figuratively and literally. Like a chair was just pulled out for you but wait, where did it go, it was here just a minute ago? Bridget, our main character, feels like that almost all the time. Take this weekend, for example: just as she was packing and planning to drive up to her old farmhouse in Connecticut for the summer, she gets an email from her boyfriend, Sterling. The subject is what his ex-wife thinks is best for him, which turns out to be breaking up with her! What? And that is how he tells her he is breaking up with her, by email. There goes that chair again. Okay, she will relax at the house by herself with her best friend Will. Bridget and Will met as students at Julliard in NYC. Upon graduation, they, along with another student, Gavin, formed the, “Forsyth Trio,” a fairly popular chamber music trio, until Gavin left to become an International Violin Soloist. Now they seem to always be looking for his replacement. Will has his own room at Bridget’s house, so that will work out fine for two close friends. Until that is, her twin, twenty-something, kids show up from their individual homes. Is Isabelle, flying into JFK from France bringing tears and a broken heart. Next, her newlywed son, Matt drives up from Washington, DC. with his dirty laundry, and two large dogs having just had a huge fight with his husband, Oscar. Matt does not want to talk about it, but of course, Isabelle does! Next, Bridget finds out her elderly, wealthy, famous-conductor father, Edward Stratton, declares he is getting married again and planning a honeymoon trip around the world. Meanwhile, at her father’s home, ‘The Castle,’ a nickname Bridget came up with because of its ridiculous décor and formality, there are a few extra people. Along with the usual housekeeper and miracle-worker, Marge; there is a new assistant and a British writer, Nicholas Donahue, working on her father’s memoir. There are more but let us not confuse everyone now. The story, or should I say stories, oh do not worry they are not complicated, you will be able to keep up, begin when Bridget’s house loses electricity because of an appliance and some wiring, something like that. This will quickly lead to the discovery of all the repairs she has neglected over the years to hiring Kevin, a local handy-man type to fix everything. As the list gets longer, she thinks maybe she will sell the place, so she hires an architect to really do this right. Rick, the architect, notices that her barn, (lovingly called, ‘BatShit Barn’) could be eligible for a Registered Historic Site, so let us fix that too! Take a breath. Bridget holds her father’s wedding in the barn, which is transformed into a fairy tale, in the pouring rain, possibly a nor’easter. As a moat begins to form around the barn, Bridget dances with the British writer, Nicholas, quite cozily, while Will and Emma, the plant-storeowner, do the same. Everyone is having a good time and all the strain, and crises and different story lines merge joyously together at the wedding, as it should. But, not before Bridget and Will look over towards the open barn door, and see a gust of wind, lifts the canopy up and carries it away. It cannot all be perfect, that would not be real! Please read this marvelous book. Thank you Netgalley, Atria Publishing, and Amy Poeppel

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lucy

    This was such an enjoyable read! Bridget is set to have a fantastic summer. She'll be staying at her home in the Connecticut countryside, away from the noise and busyness of Manhattan. Her boyfriend Sterling will join her there, so they'll spend the summer together. Her twins are now in their 20s and living on their own. This is the perfect time for her to relax and focus on herself .... but the best laid plans don't always work out as expected. Unbeknownst to Bridget, what she thinks is the begin This was such an enjoyable read! Bridget is set to have a fantastic summer. She'll be staying at her home in the Connecticut countryside, away from the noise and busyness of Manhattan. Her boyfriend Sterling will join her there, so they'll spend the summer together. Her twins are now in their 20s and living on their own. This is the perfect time for her to relax and focus on herself .... but the best laid plans don't always work out as expected. Unbeknownst to Bridget, what she thinks is the beginning of her perfect summer is really the beginning a busy summer full of chaos, people, and unexpected news. It's a summer of musical chairs, with people constantly coming and going as their plans change throughout the summer. Certainly not the summer she anticipated, but definitely one she'll always remember! What made this an enjoyable read were the well-developed characters and varying plot lines. The book started out slow, but once the plot and characters were established it really picked up. This is a witty story about family and friends, and the value they add to one's life in spite of the chaos.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Donna Davis

    We need more writers like Amy Poeppel. Her previous novels, Admissions and Limelight, are whip-smart and hilarious; both involve well-developed characters stuck in odd but credible situations. Her new novel, Musical Chairs, shares these attributes, but it’s even funnier, and even more insightful. Lucky me, I read it free and early thanks to Atria Books and Net Galley. It’s available to the public August 1, 2020. Our protagonists are Bridget and Will; they are family to one another in the modern We need more writers like Amy Poeppel. Her previous novels, Admissions and Limelight, are whip-smart and hilarious; both involve well-developed characters stuck in odd but credible situations. Her new novel, Musical Chairs, shares these attributes, but it’s even funnier, and even more insightful. Lucky me, I read it free and early thanks to Atria Books and Net Galley. It’s available to the public August 1, 2020. Our protagonists are Bridget and Will; they are family to one another in the modern sense, the sense that sometimes we adopt our most important friends and declare them to be kin. They’ve been together as performers in the Forsyth Trio since college. Bridget has never married; Will is divorced. They have seen one another through thick and thin, and well meaning outsiders think they must surely harbor romantic feelings for one another. Will has no children, but has served as a father figure to Bridget’s twins, both grown. Summer is here, and Bridget is preparing to spend it in her summer house in Connecticut. Her boyfriend, Sterling, will be joining her; she thinks that he may be the one. But you know what they say about the best laid plans. Sterling dumps her on her ass without a moment’s hesitation, and both of her children descend on her unannounced. Her octogenarian father lands in the hospital. Nothing that happens is the way she had planned it. At the same time, Will has been looking forward to some time on his own in the city, but Bridget is in distress and so he drops his other plans for her. Not one thing goes as planned. I don’t usually enjoy books about rich people, and Bridget’s family is wealthy indeed. This one works for me because the disparity in wealth between Bridget and Will, who is an ordinary starving artist, is addressed in a natural, organic way throughout the narrative; but beyond that, I feel I know Bridget, and so she is not the rich woman, not the heiress, but instead she is Bridget, and she feels like a friend. We always forgive our dearest friends for things that are generally deal breakers with others. Finally, Poeppel has no tolerance for pretension, and more than anything, her honesty turns a good story into a terrific one. The pacing here never slackens; one crisis is nearing resolution when another one pops loose. At one point I am convinced that Poeppel is driving home a message about the destructive nature of secrecy, but by the ending I can see she’s done no such thing. Sometimes secrets are great. Sometimes they work out well. And sometimes they are only secrets for a while as their owner waits for an appropriate time to reveal them. The side characters here are brilliant as their perspective contrasts with that of the protagonists. The internal monologue involving Bridget and Will is personal, even intimate, and so we see everything as they do; but then Jackie, the ambitious young assistant that Edward has hired for the summer, looks these folks over and weighs in, and her observations make me laugh out loud. In fact, this book marks the first time since the pandemic began (at the beginning of March, here in Seattle) that anything I’ve read has made me laugh. It felt great! Then later, another side character’s pet parrot Ronaldo pipes up and it happens again. (My laughter woke my husband, and I was a little bit sorry, but also not.) The dialogue between Edward and Will near the end makes me shake my head in awe. At the outset, I am puzzling over the title. Musical Chairs turns out to be a website for job-searching musicians, but later I see a broader reason that this title was chosen. Throughout the chaos that unfolds for Bridget and Will this summer, the characters are constantly changing places, rotating, and assuming new positions, and it’s fine, because—and here’s our real message—change is not failure. The references to the musical “My Fair Lady” are icing on the cake. Highly recommended, and likely to be one of this year’s best books.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Fiona Davis

    Amy Poeppel does it again with a smart, hilarious story. I loved every page, every character. She sets a complex dance in motion where I never knew quite what was going to happen and the end was SO satisfying. Highly recommended.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    4.5 stars for being so enjoyable from start to finish! The characters were quite human, and I even laughed out loud at times. This made for the perfect close to my summer reading.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ink_Drinker

    Musical Chairs By Amy Poeppel Publication Date Aug 1, 2020, I thoroughly enjoyed every word in this book. Amy really has a way of bringing the characters to life. I was completely invested from the start and wanted to know what was going to happen next in this family. You can't really go wrong with a story of a modern musical family all staying in the same house for the summer. It was a light read which is perfect for the times. It gets your mind off more serious matters and you can relax for a bit Musical Chairs By Amy Poeppel Publication Date Aug 1, 2020, I thoroughly enjoyed every word in this book. Amy really has a way of bringing the characters to life. I was completely invested from the start and wanted to know what was going to happen next in this family. You can't really go wrong with a story of a modern musical family all staying in the same house for the summer. It was a light read which is perfect for the times. It gets your mind off more serious matters and you can relax for a bit. As with any family, there are break up's,, life decisions and a few accidents along the way. All makes for an enjoyable read. Thank you to Atria/Emily Bestler Books and Netgalley for an ARC of this book in exchange for my review.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    I have never read a novel by Amy Poeppel before but after reading MUSICAL CHAIRS I sure am glad that I did. I was hooked on these people from the very first pages until the very last. I felt like I was their friend and as I finished the book, I was a little disappointed that I had to move on with my life without them. I predict that many others will feel the same way. MUSICAL CHAIRS is so much fun and it has a beach read feel, with just a little more heart and soul. Wow, all I can say is, this s I have never read a novel by Amy Poeppel before but after reading MUSICAL CHAIRS I sure am glad that I did. I was hooked on these people from the very first pages until the very last. I felt like I was their friend and as I finished the book, I was a little disappointed that I had to move on with my life without them. I predict that many others will feel the same way. MUSICAL CHAIRS is so much fun and it has a beach read feel, with just a little more heart and soul. Wow, all I can say is, this story kept me giggling! You will find yourself laughing out loud as you are reading MUSICAL CHAIRS by Amy Poeppel . She will have your emotions all over the place. Once I started reading, it was very hard to stop! The twists and turns made it impossible to put down, as I had to know what was going to happen to Bridget! What an awesome story. All of Amy’s characters feel genuine and relatable and put your emotions on one heck of a roller coaster ride. As you are reading, you will find yourself cheering for all of them, praying they can work out their problems and be happy once again. Amy Poeppel does a fabulous job connecting so many different people in such a special way, and that includes all of the characters, not just the main two. MUSICAL CHAIRS is a funny story that will hold you hostage until the very last page. Once you start reading, it will be very hard to put down! You also won’t be able to stop yourself from laughing at Bridget and the situations she gets herself into! I felt a connection to each character in this story in different ways and couldn’t help but relate them to people that are in my personal life. Being able to relate and fully understand what they were all personally going through was sometimes heartbreaking. Amy Poeppel sure knows how to hook the reader with an awesome story. I can’t wait to read more by Amy. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Atria Books through Netgalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Judy

    An entertaining story that is heartwarming and sentimental. There are a lot of characters in this book and sometimes I had to stop and figure out who a character was and how that person fit, but its all good. The main characters are Bridget and Will who are long-term friends and are musicians who play in a trio together and live in New York City, but they don't have a romantic relationship. The story focuses on changes in their lives over a summer at Bridget's country home in a small town in Con An entertaining story that is heartwarming and sentimental. There are a lot of characters in this book and sometimes I had to stop and figure out who a character was and how that person fit, but its all good. The main characters are Bridget and Will who are long-term friends and are musicians who play in a trio together and live in New York City, but they don't have a romantic relationship. The story focuses on changes in their lives over a summer at Bridget's country home in a small town in Connecticut. I enjoyed the characters and the relationships were interesting. I also enjoyed all the animals: the dogs, cats, sheep. I also found Bridget's wealthy father very interesting at his advanced age with the changes in his life. This was a fun book and the first book I've read by Amy Poeppel. I will be picking up others by her as I enjoyed this one and some friends have recommended others. Thanks to Atria Books through Netgalley for an advanced copy.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    4.5/ 5 stars Musical Chairs is my first book by this author. And I really enjoyed it. I'm not exactly sure what genre Musical Chairs falls into. To me it felt like a combination between Women's Fiction and Chick Lit. The story focuses on Bridget, her friends and family. She is 50+ and has come to a crossroads in her life. The book takes place over the summer. And it was charming and funny and really fun to read. The main narrator is Bridget (3rd person POV). The second main narrator is Will (3rd per 4.5/ 5 stars Musical Chairs is my first book by this author. And I really enjoyed it. I'm not exactly sure what genre Musical Chairs falls into. To me it felt like a combination between Women's Fiction and Chick Lit. The story focuses on Bridget, her friends and family. She is 50+ and has come to a crossroads in her life. The book takes place over the summer. And it was charming and funny and really fun to read. The main narrator is Bridget (3rd person POV). The second main narrator is Will (3rd person POV). He is Bridget's best friend. But there are also a lot of other narrators that narrate only 1 or 2 chapters. Bridget has two kids, Isabelle and Oscar. She plays the cello in a trio (Will plays the piano in the trio). She has a rundown house in Connecticut where she is spending the summer. This book takes place over June, July and August. This is basically a summer full of surprises with so many people coming and going from her house. I really liked her friendship with Will. And everything to do with her father. The story was funny and very entertaining. And this was such an enjoyable read! Thanks to netgalley and Atria Books for allowing me to read this book.

  24. 4 out of 5

    RoseMary Achey

    Everyone has played Musical Chairs at some point in their lives-at a Birthday Party of Summer Camp. You know the concept-participants move from chair to chair until the music stops. Eventually someone is out or has to leave the game. In Amy Poeppel’s new novel Musical Chairs the title has a dual meaning. In addition to a game where people are moving about, musical chairs also refer to positions within an orchestra. Bridget Stratton our protagonist is a middle aged single mom of two adult twins. A Everyone has played Musical Chairs at some point in their lives-at a Birthday Party of Summer Camp. You know the concept-participants move from chair to chair until the music stops. Eventually someone is out or has to leave the game. In Amy Poeppel’s new novel Musical Chairs the title has a dual meaning. In addition to a game where people are moving about, musical chairs also refer to positions within an orchestra. Bridget Stratton our protagonist is a middle aged single mom of two adult twins. A classically trained cellist, Bridget is on a break from touring. Her summer plans are completely upended when both her children arrive on the doorstep of her crumbling Connecticut summer home just after her novelist partner decides he does not want to continue their relationship! To make matters worse Bridget’s eccentric 90 year old widowed father announces he is getting remarried. During this chaotic summer Bridget’s life is literally like a game of Musical Chairs...people come into her life and then out again. An easy read once you get the many characters/players straight I would characterize this book as light contemporary fiction that will cause you to laugh out loud. Musical Chairs will be published in late July-just in time for your summer break. Don’t miss this engaging, funny, and well developed novel.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    Musical Chairs by Amy Poeppel is a quirky indefinable book in the best possible way. Bridget and Will have been two parts of a musical trio since they left Juilliard. After a decade their original violinist, Gavin, moved on alone to huge success. Since then they filtered through a series of replacements. In midlife they find themselves at a crossroad with the trio. Do they take on a new high maintenance member that may bring exposure they want, or consider other options. At its heart Musical Cha Musical Chairs by Amy Poeppel is a quirky indefinable book in the best possible way. Bridget and Will have been two parts of a musical trio since they left Juilliard. After a decade their original violinist, Gavin, moved on alone to huge success. Since then they filtered through a series of replacements. In midlife they find themselves at a crossroad with the trio. Do they take on a new high maintenance member that may bring exposure they want, or consider other options. At its heart Musical Chairs is a book about family relationships, those we are born into and those we make ourselves. These relationships are exponential with a big cast of characters. I really appreciate Bridget is a woman of an age not often represented in fiction as leading lady. I knew I was going to like the book immediately. It took me well into the book to realize I really liked it, a lot. Any Poeppel’s writing is smart and extremely funny. I highly recommend for readers looking for a hidden gem. Many thanks to Netgalley and Simon & Schuster for the Advanced Reader Copy and the opportunity to review Musical Chairs. All opinions are my own.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kari Ann Sweeney

    This story hit all the right notes. See what I did there? A story set at a country house in CT over the course of a summer. A story full of deep seeded friendships and family in transition. But it isn't one of those big, sprawling drama filled family sagas. There is drama, but it is infused with humor and charm. I just felt so content the whole time I was reading this book. It was a satisfying blend of tension and levity. I found myself laughing out loud on more than one occasion. While it wasn' This story hit all the right notes. See what I did there? A story set at a country house in CT over the course of a summer. A story full of deep seeded friendships and family in transition. But it isn't one of those big, sprawling drama filled family sagas. There is drama, but it is infused with humor and charm. I just felt so content the whole time I was reading this book. It was a satisfying blend of tension and levity. I found myself laughing out loud on more than one occasion. While it wasn't a page turner, the very large cast of characters served as a steady beat that carried me through to the end. This was my first Poeppel title and now I can't wait to explore her backlist.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    Unfortunately, this one was a did-not-finish for me. I got 25% through it and still wasn't connecting with the characters or feeling myself drawn into the story. It's very disappointing because the premise was so promising. Unfortunately, this one was a did-not-finish for me. I got 25% through it and still wasn't connecting with the characters or feeling myself drawn into the story. It's very disappointing because the premise was so promising.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Nusrat Mahmood

    Musical Chairs Most common party game for children – musical chairs. Music on -you go round and round to sit on a chair whenever the music stops. You do not choose but to survive you sit on whichever chair you get. A survival game of moving in and out constantly, giving your place to other to keep the game going on. Amy Poeppel writes a beautiful emotional story of family, friendship, motherhood and finding path. This is my very first book of hers and I cannot say enough thanks to Netgalley and A Musical Chairs Most common party game for children – musical chairs. Music on -you go round and round to sit on a chair whenever the music stops. You do not choose but to survive you sit on whichever chair you get. A survival game of moving in and out constantly, giving your place to other to keep the game going on. Amy Poeppel writes a beautiful emotional story of family, friendship, motherhood and finding path. This is my very first book of hers and I cannot say enough thanks to Netgalley and Atria/Emily Bestler books for sending me an ARC copy in exchange of an honest review. Review: There are so many characters in this book and considering the book size, the writer pulls out almost everybody’s individual tale of passion, messing up, emotions so perfectly. Bridget and Will are the main focus and reading about their friendship is a delight for all the readers I must say. Over the years, they have become each other’s confidence still they do not come in each other’s way. When a friend becomes family, a beautiful story emerges and same happens in this book. In spite of social differences their friendship blooms like flowers in spring. Extra point goes to Amy for not turning this relation to anything other than friendship, for not bringing the clichés in our life. This book is a beautifully depicted modern family life story which I already can see streaming on any digital service with a brilliant cast. I would give my money to see it on big screen even. The way Amy portrays the relations is so practical and heart warming also very much alive. The dilemmas, the anxiety, the jealousy – all come in this novel are written with such care which gives the picture a realistic touch. There are characters the writer has touched and let go but still they have so much to tell. Merge is one of them. The nanny and housekeeper was the person who is very observant, work very silently, knows everything about everything in the house and throw you in a clear space with ugly truth when you ask her something. There are beautiful and adorable animals that you want to hug and want them in your house. The dog named Henry makes the book fudgy enough to read it way past my bedtime. The subtle touch of humour in the writing works great for me. It keeps the story sharp and real. I laugh reading some situations, some character’s thinking process but the humour was just perfect there. It’s like the very delicious tea. Not too milky, not too sweet – delivered with right consistency and right amount of liquor. There are so many chances to explore the space of the relations and those are undoubtedly what keeps me going. It is a book that I do not want to finish early. I want to savour every chapter with warm delights. This well developed, warm plotted book will be released in late July. A warm book in warm time indeed.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Carol (Reading Ladies)

    Thanks #netgalley #atriabooks @atriabooks for my complimentary ARC of #musicalchairs by Amy Poeppel upon my request. All opinions in this review are my own. Bridget and Will are best friends, professional musicians, and are two thirds of a struggling chamber trio. It's summer and Bridget is reeling from an unexpected breakup and Will is her "break-up buddy." Bridget heads for her family's vacation home in upstate Conneticut, but complications include the search for a third chamber member, a summ Thanks #netgalley #atriabooks @atriabooks for my complimentary ARC of #musicalchairs by Amy Poeppel upon my request. All opinions in this review are my own. Bridget and Will are best friends, professional musicians, and are two thirds of a struggling chamber trio. It's summer and Bridget is reeling from an unexpected breakup and Will is her "break-up buddy." Bridget heads for her family's vacation home in upstate Conneticut, but complications include the search for a third chamber member, a summer house that needs significant repairs, two young adult children descending on Bridget's lovely summer plans with problems of their own, a strained friendship with Will,secrets and misunderstandings, a famous father who unexpectedly announces his intent to marry again, and Bridget offering to host the wedding. Obviously, this is not the summer that Bridget envisioned. But maybe it will be salvaged in unexpected ways. Although the writing includes some humor and is fast-paced, there are many characters to track in the beginning that caused me to think I should be taking notes! Once everyone is introduced, connections made, and individual situations are revealed, I enjoyed the story more. The characters are realistic, sometimes quirky, and mostly likable. In addition, I appreciate that Bridget is a character in her 50s. In this complicated family/friendship drama, there are secrets and dysfunction....and there is a lot going on! Musical Chairs is engaging and heartfelt, and fans of Amy Poeppel with enjoy this new release. If you are looking for romance, that is not the focus of this story even though relationships are formed. Readers who are musical will especially enjoy the musical references and discussions. For more reviews visit my blog www.readingladies.com

  30. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

    I want to begin by thanking Netgalley for allowing me to read and review this absolutely delicious novel. During one summer in Connecticut, the family of the world famous maestro, Edward Stratton is completely upended, reconfigured and moved toward a perfectly lovely future. Poeppel has managed to create a novel full of delightful eccentrics. Though I generally don’t like novels with a great many characters, the author is pitch perfect in her depictions and leaves plenty of space to develop them I want to begin by thanking Netgalley for allowing me to read and review this absolutely delicious novel. During one summer in Connecticut, the family of the world famous maestro, Edward Stratton is completely upended, reconfigured and moved toward a perfectly lovely future. Poeppel has managed to create a novel full of delightful eccentrics. Though I generally don’t like novels with a great many characters, the author is pitch perfect in her depictions and leaves plenty of space to develop them, especially the main characters, Bridget and Will. Every part of this novel is richly drawn and easy to visualize. Though it can’t be classified as humor, I found myself laughing out loud at some of the moments. I must admit to liking the fact that the clearly middle aged heroine, Bridget, was moving towards new horizons. This is a bright, engaging and enjoyable novel. I’m smiling as I write this review and can’t wait to recommend it to all my book clubs.

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