Book Review: A Song of Secrets
Happy New Year! My first read of 2023 was a great one to kick the new reading year off right. A Song of Secrets is the first book I've read by Jayci Lee, and I loved it so much, I already have two more burning holes in my shelves and my TBR.
A Song of Secrets is a second-chance romance between two Korean-American musicians.
The last person Joshua Shin wants to see at the fundraiser he attends in his sick grandfather's place is the cellist of the world-renowned Hana Trio, the ex who broke his heart ten years ago, cellist Angie Han. He's on the way to becoming the next CEO of his family's company, and the last thing he needs is a distraction, especially when he's already keeping a secret of his own.
Seeing Joshua at the fundraiser for the struggling Chamber Music Society reignited feelings Angie had never lost. Not when her father used something far more dear to her than any trust fund could be to force her to break up with Joshua. And definitely not all these years later when he is aloof and even more handsome than ever.
When Angie discovers Joshua's secret, she forces him to take an appointment with her, as if she could ever try to blackmail the only man she's ever loved. But when his grandfather ends up in the hospital, he agrees to help her in exchange for her becoming his grandfather's music therapist. Animosity laced with lust soon turns to a tentative friendship and eventually to no-strings-attached, we-can't-have-feelings-because-I-can't-trust-her sex.
I was invested in these characters from the very first chapter. It's got some definite K-drama vibes (see my Pinterest board here), and it's a little bit of a slow-burn, with the first sex scene happening around the 50% mark. At only 217 pages, it was a quick read, and very character-driven. Joshua is absolutely the archetypal everyone-else-can-see-that-I-love-her-except-me, which you know I am a sucker for, and I love the way Angie cares for him in the ways that he needs. When his grandfather is sick, she takes charge, and when she sees him in the zone composing, she insists that he keep working and goes back to bed without making him feel guilty, and when he's late to lunch because a work meeting ran late, she is the picture of gracious understanding.
I also really liked the interactions between Angie and her sisters, however limited. I'm excited to read their stories, especially Chloe's once it comes out. Megan's book is out now, but it takes a lot to convince me to read a surprise baby trope, so I'm keeping that one on the backburner for now. I'll be reading The Temporary Wife Temptation and Off-Limits Attraction in the meantime.
It was as though his overwhelming desire for her held his creativity hostage. Maybe the only way to free it was to let his attraction run its course.
One of my favorite aspects of this book was the way music was woven throughout as a metaphor for trust and vulnerability. (Find my January reading playlist, here.) After Angie had broken up with him, one of the things Joshua struggled with was to find his way back to music and composing, and the way that he's afraid to let her in now because he's afraid of losing his music again was really beautiful on its own, but it was also such a perfect encapsulation of how much he fears getting hurt by her again. And yet, when he tries to keep her at a distance and deny his feelings, the creative block returns.
"I was blocked because I was denying my love for you. How could I compose when I was lying to myself? I was able to compose the first string trio with your help, but it was still missing something because the lie held me back. [...] Once I admitted to myself that I loved you, I knew I had to write you a new piece--one that was worthy of you. Unleashed from my lie, I was able to pour my everything into that music. That string trio is my apology, my love letter and my hope for our future. It is my soul. Surely, you felt that."
As far as ratings go, this is the first book I'll be reviewing with my new rating system! (Which you can read more about here.)
Overall Rating: 4 Stars
I loved this one and have already bought 2 more books from Jayci Lee!
Romance Rating: 4 Stars
I really loved Joshua and Angie together. They were great characters on their own and really sweet as a couple
Heat Rating: 3 Stars
First sexy scene at about the halfway mark and multiple open-door scenes after that
Kink Rating: 0* Stars
None by design
Dark / Taboo Rating: 0* Stars
None by design
Let me know if you've read or plan to read A Song of Secrets by Jayci Lee!