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Review of This Bird Has Flown by Susanna Hoffs

As a singer myself, I’m always interested in authors that bring the world of music into their storytelling. Books that come to mind are Laura Bennett’s Greatest Hits or Elissa Sloan’s The Unravelling of Cassidy Holmes. Hoffs’ lifetime of experience in the pop music industry (having been the co-founder of pop rock band The Bangles) shines through in her page-turning romantic debut, This Bird Has Flown.

We’re parachuted into the life of Jane Start, a washed-up pop musician whose manager is desperately trying to reboot her career. So begins a whirlwind romantic tale of sexy musicians, annoying brothers, a hell of a lot of champagne and a rather aptly named Oxford Professor - Tom Hardy. The pop music industry is an ideal backdrop for this story where sexy young artists, stressed managers and controlling popstars all sit at odds with her heart’s desire, the Oxford academic Hardy. Hoffs' musical expertise sees her pick out great hits to elevate moments in the story, such as ‘Fly Me To the Moon’ for Jane and Tom’s first trip to the Cornish coast or ‘Something Good’ from The Sound of Music when Jane arrives in Paris.

This is a book you can’t put down. The sexual tension between Jane and Tom is smouldering, capitalising on the ever-popular motif of the ‘wild’ American and the ‘sensible straight-laced’ Englishman; in many ways you can’t help but sit back and enjoy the ride. Jane grabs the bull by the horns on countless occasions, an energy-filled reminder that we should all make the most of what life offers us. Hoffs’ relaxed, conversational narrative style makes us feel like we’re right in the thick of the story with Jane, a glass of bubbly in hand. Her candid humour and frank openness provide ample laughs deftly paired with moments of heartfelt tenderness.

I do feel that the character and storyline involving controlling superstar Jonesy could have take a little more fleshing out; that being said this is a sizzling debut from an author with a punchy, expressive voice and I can’t wait to see what Hoffs’ does next. If you’re looking for a roaring read on love, life and music, this is the debut for you.

Review by Helen.

This Bird Has Flown was published on 04/04/23 by Little Brown.

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