cover image Musical Chairs

Musical Chairs

Amy Poeppel. Atria/Bestler, $27 (416p) ISBN 978-1-5011-7641-8

Poeppel (Small Admissions) charms with this witty small-town story. Cellist Bridget Stratton’s original plan to spend a carefree summer with her boyfriend at her dilapidated Connecticut country house is blown to pieces when her boyfriend breaks up with her via email, her 20-something twin children land on her doorstep, and her father, a famous, elderly orchestra conductor, announces he’s getting married. Luckily she has Will, her longtime best friend, with whom she founded her chamber group, the Forsythe Trio, at Juilliard, which is still active decades later despite the loss early on of the original violinist, Gavin Glantz. The group’s effort to court a new member causes friction, while Bridget continues to wonder if the twins’ father is her sperm donor or Gavin, whom she slept with the night before she was artificially inseminated. Poeppel’s characters leap off the page, and as the plot bubbles along, the lingering question of the twins’ parentage is answered, and a rather unexpected solution is found for the Trio’s problems. Comedic relief is provided by an errant herd of sheep, a feisty parrot named Ronaldo, and the epically awful wedding-wear presented to Bridget for her father’s wedding. Poeppel’s whimsical tale offers plenty of surprises. Agent: Linda Chester, Linda Chester Literary. (July)