On Goodreads: Louder Than Love by Jessica Topper
On Amazon: Louder Than Love
In this powerful debut novel, a young librarian grieves the loss of her husband...and discovers a love that defies classification.I fell in love this week. With an older man.
It's been over three years since a train accident made a widow of Katrina Lewis, sending her and her young daughter Abbey back to the suburban town of her youth...the only place that still makes sense. Lauder Lake is the perfect place to hide and heal.
Recluse rocker Adrian "Digger" Graves survived the implosion of his music career, but his muse has long lain dormant. Until Kat hires him to play at her library—not on the basis of his hard rock credentials but rather, because of the obscure kids' TV jingle he wrote years ago. In a case of mistaken identity, Adrian stumbles into the lives of Kat and her comically lovable daughter.
Using tattoos as a timeline, Adrian unfurls his life for Kat. But as the courtship intensifies, it's unclear whose past looms larger: the widow's or the rocker's. Will their demons ever rest, or will they break these soul mates apart?
This book was so refreshingly adult. Meaning it's about adult humans who act like adults. They face adult situations and respond like functioning adults.
Katrina "Tree" Lewis is still mourning the loss of her husband, Pete, but she is doing her best to focus on her daughter and her volunteer work at the library in her hometown. Lauder Lake is not far from NYC where Tree and Pete were living with their one-year old daughter, Abbey. Three years later, living in her childhood home seemed a much better choice than facing the ghost of her husband every day.
Adrian "Digger" Graves is recovering from harmful addictions and career-ending betrayals. Years after his rock and roll life ended, Adrian is surprised to get an email requesting a musical performance at a nearby library children's event. It is there that Adrian is knocked on his ass by Katrina and her adorable daughter.
Though the chemistry is strong between Adrian and Tree, or "Kat" as he calls her, their love story does not happen overnight. Kat is extremely cautious, because of her young daughter and her fragile heart. Adrian, having been given a second chance at life, takes his time and woos Kat and Abbey. He is respectful of their memory of Pete and takes his time getting to know them.
Kat and Adrian do not fall into insta-love, but they do manage to find ways to spend time alone together. While Abbey hangs out with friends, Kat and Adrian explore and comfort each other with their bodies.
The dialogue is mature and witty, not filled with contrived one-liners like so many NA books are.
“Put it this way,” he said, reaching for the sealed bottle of San Pellegrino left on the table for those so inclined. He spun the pale green bottle until the label was facing me. “She liked to think she was this, whereas I”—he took a sip from his glass filled with tap water and tilted it toward me in a toast—“consider myself more like this.”
“So she was overpriced and pretentious and you were the real deal.”
His laughter fluttered down on me like a ticker tape parade. “Spot on, Kat!”I really do not have the words to properly tell how great this is. The author used her words to paint a lovely portrait of pain and recovery.
“I have never been loved . . .” His words poured over me, warming every part, as I lazily kissed up the inky paws on his forearm and wrapped it around my shoulder. I heard his voice catch. “. . . like I have been loved by you,” he continued, his voice scratchy yet gentle, like a cat’s tongue, deliberate and patient, slicking over the same spot. “And I have never loved like I love you. You’ve got to know this. My silly drunk girl.”
This song isn't necessarily written for the death of someone you love, but the lyrics seemed to convey Tree's emotions and even the guilt she felt about falling in love with someone who is not her husband.