Once upon a time, I was in the middle of writing a book, and I dropped my daughter off for a play date with a new friend. “I’m so sorry I can’t stay to chat,” I said to the mother, a woman I recognized from Hebrew school pick-ups because she has amazing salt and pepper curls with a cool gray streak. “I’m writing a book, and it’s killing me. I’m going to lock myself in my in-laws upstairs bedroom until I get something done.”
“Really? I’m writing a book, too,” she said.
I smiled politely and took off. After I got to know her a bit, I offered to read her half-a-book, and HOLY CRAP, I fell in love. You will, too, and this is why.
The OFFICIAL reasons:
This September marks the release of LOUDER THAN LOVE (Intermix; September 2013; 9781101634790; $4.99) by Jessica Topper, a powerful novel that traces the paths of two ravaged lives amidst the vivid urban backdrop of Manhattan and the quirky comfort of Lauder Lake.
After a freak train accident leaves her widowed with a one-year old, Katrina Lewis flees Manhattan. A levelheaded librarian, she cannot make sense of staying where her husband existed one day and not the next, so she returns to the place where she existed before she knew him. She cocoons herself in her suburban hometown of Lauder Lake – unable to go back, unable to move on – until a chance meeting sets her on a different path.
Reclusive rocker Adrian ‘Digger’ Graves barely escaped the 80s alive. He survived the implosion of his heavy metal career, but his muse has lain dormant for years. Until the day Kat invites him to perform at her local library – not on the basis of his impressive music credentials but rather, because of the obscure children’s television jingle he wrote as a lark years ago. In this chuckle-worthy case of ‘mistaken identity’, Adrian stumbles into the lives of this captivating young widow and her comically lovable daughter, who is now almost five years old.
Using his tattooed torso as an illustrated reference, Adrian slowly begins to unfurl his former life for Kat, in all its shock rocker glory. He defies the standard classification she is used to: is there a place in her life, and her heart, for such glorious chaos? Falling in love comes easy for Kat and Adrian, but putting her ghosts and his demons to rest might end up tearing these soul mates apart.
The UNOFFICIAL reasons:
Full disclosure: I was the first person to read this whole book. Jess sent it to me in pieces. She made me beg. To say I am a fan would be an understatement. Jessica Topper’s words are so beautiful I want to squeeze them and rub them on my skin. She digs deep into emotion, unearthing layers of character and adding rich detail. If you are a writer, you will pause and marvel at her descriptions. You might have a flash of jealousy, but then you’ll just be glad she wrote it, so you can read it. My god, the treadmill scene will turn you inside out. It levels me every time.
LOUDER THAN LOVE is sexy, too. Like old school rocker sexy. Adrian has been there, done that, has regrets, but will rock your world. Did I mention he’s British? And Kat is real – and funny – and smart. And her young daughter is charming. Kat has a posse of badass BFFs, too. Add all that together and you have a smart, sexy, surprising, heart wrenching read. This book will make you crave bagels and a trip to NYC. (Topper loves her NYC and you will feel it’s magic.) You’ll want to have coffee with your best friend and sex in an iconic hotel with a new lover. You will want to listen to the Beatles, even if you don’t like the Beatles. Or maybe you’ll find yourself listening to heavy metal music because you want to get a little closer to Adrian…
(I found myself doing yoga to heavy metal music, but that is Jess’s story, told HERE.)
This book is a journey for characters and reader. Take it. You will not regret it. (Unless you think it’s a New Adult book. Then you might be a little WTF, but I bet you’ll still love it!) You know when your best friend grabs your arm and says, “You’ve got to read this book!” Give me your arm, and let’s be best friends! Because you’ve got to read this book. 🙂
Jessica Topper’s bio:
Jessica Topper is an ex-librarian turned rock n’ roll number cruncher. She can trace her love for the written word back to age three, when she memorized Maurice Sendak’s “Chicken Soup with Rice” in its entirety.
After her daughter was born, Jessica left the Manhattan library world and began working for her husband’s music management company. He offered her a part-time bookkeeping job so she could “stay home for the baby’s first year” and pursue her dream of writing.
The baby is now eleven, and Jessica has been working her full-time, sold-her-soul-for-rock-n-roll job as Office Manager for veteran jam band moe. ever since. She may have traded in books for bookkeeping, but the written word is never far from her mind, or her heart.
Jessica is a PAN member of the Romance Writers of America, and belongs to their Western NY and Women’s Fiction chapters. She is also a charter member of the Women’s Fiction Writer’s Association. She lives in upstate New York with her husband, daughter and one ancient cat.