A Contented Mind by Samantha Hoffman
I received this book from the author, as she dropped off a couple of her books to present to my bookstore in the hopes of carrying it for sale. I asked her if I could read it first, and she gladly accepted. I didn’t get a chance to read it immediately, but was able to settle down with it recently. That night I did not sleep, instead, I took a short nap between reading times. I was engrossed, and could not put it down. My eyes were drooping, and my head hurt, but I couldn’t let it go.
Meg is a successful author who writes under a pen name. She does this so she won’t face criticism in her own name, basically so people won’t dislike HER because of what she wrote. After a fan broke in and assaulted her in her own home, she decides to make a fresh start in Southern California, with her trusty sidekick and best friend, Bob, her dog. She has a publisher representative who is smart, wickedly good looking, and also slightly sleazy, as the reader finds out as the book progresses. He is of course in love with Meg, but she does not return his feelings, making for some awkward times between them.
When she is settled into her new house, she whips out her violin, her most treasured item, and begins a beautiful melody on her patio. She is surprised yet intrigued when her neighbor, on the other side of the privacy, joins into her melody with his piano. This is the beginning.
Without going into too many spoilers, and too much detail, Meg ends up playing her violin with a band for an acoustic tour. The music that is produced is haunting and powerful, and leads her down a trail of emotions so raw that she finds it difficult to deal with them. She finds a new family in the band members, and an intense attraction to one member in particular, who seems to hate her one-second, then adore her the next.
This book, as I said before, was impossible to put down. There were so many emotions involved, so much power, so much intensity; I didn’t dare to let go for too long. During my nap between readings, I dreamed about the characters, and what might happen. When I returned to it, the ending was so much more than I imagined. This is a love story, but it’s not a Prince Charming love story. There is no white horse. There is frustration, pain and lots of tears. And no, the ending is not a completely happy ending, which I love by the way. It parallels Meg’s own writing as well.
This was a REALISTIC love story. This could happen to any of us, and her feelings were raw, but real. I hate love stories that go off about things that could never really happen, the instant happy ending and everything is grand for everyone. I’m sorry, but I’ve never seen that happen. Life happens though, and it certainly happens in here. I ended the book in tears – not necessarily in sadness, but some, of course, but also because I was so happy to be given the opportunity to read and share this book. I recommend this to anyone, unless of course they are looking for a fairy tale.
As I have said before, I do not give 5 stars to much, but this is a definite 4.9999999. I really enjoyed it, and WILL buy it for my own library. I actually hope to give it as gifts soon. Hopefully my bookstore agrees so we can get it in stock right away!