Cover Image: The Idea of You

The Idea of You

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Member Reviews

The Idea of You by Robbine Lee 


I was scrolling through @netgalley and spotted the cover of this one and found myself very intrigued. I’ve finally read it and whilst I enjoyed it, I found that it didn’t give me everything I wanted. 

I found the speed of the book to be very slow. Each chapter features a different country and follows Solene and Hayes love affair and in every place, the same thing happened. I was waiting for some kind of revelation between the two of them or some kind of progression of their relationship, but it all fell a little bit flat for me. 

Given the stories I’ve seen run in newspapers in the UK about a similar pop star dating older women, I could totally see where the inspiration and the ‘fantasy’ that plays out comes from. 

Sadly, the ending also disappointed. Whilst I completely understand the rationale for the way it all comes to its conclusion, I was hoping for more. I think a book has the opportunity to fight for a certain outcome and this didn’t feel like it had any fight, it all just fizzled. 

All in all, I could see many people enjoying a book like this, certainly on a beach or by the pool. It’s a perfect steamy summer read, just not quite living up to my expectations.
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This was a tumultuous love story which tugged at my emotions and wrung me out. 

Solene is a sophisticated, beautiful, French, 39 year old, divorced mother of who by a twist of fate stumbles into the life of 20year old boy band member Hayes. He is a world class pop star known in every corner of the globe and he falls for Solene in a big way. The story follows their story and the effect their relationship has on the people in their lives.

There were so many great elements in this story. The author made me feel the claustrophobia and fear involved with being a part of something so huge as a boy band. She described the scenes of screaming girls so well, I felt tense reading them. The reactions of family and friends to the relationship was realistic. The worries they felt about the  impact were warranted, it wasn't a fairytale and that made the story more realistic. The feelings of Solene and Hayes were intense and there was plenty of saucy action.

I did sometimes think their love story was a little over powering. They had an amazing connection but it was a little over played and I thought she strung it out longer than it maybe should have been. However saying that the final scenes were very emotional and I did well up while reading them! 
I would have liked to see the Oliver and Hayes storyline play out to the end, there was a lot left unsaid. 
Also the ending was a little abrupt for me. I wanted more!

However I fully enjoyed the ride, it was a great insight into celebrity and the costs that it brings with it as well as the absolute highs. This was a really intriguing read, a love story that was so much more.
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Love love love love love. Reading this reminded me of the Jilly Cooper and Jackie Collins books I loved in my late teens and early twenties -they need a reread for sure!
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To the media, Hayes Campbell is the enigmatic front-man of a record-breaking boyband.
To his fans, he's the boy of their dreams.
To his label, he's gold-dust.
And to Solène Marchand, he's the pretty face that's plastered over her teenage daughter's bedroom wall.
Until a chance meeting throws Hayes and Solène together . . .


Book review 📚

This book was discussed in great deal with a good friend of mine. 
I have so many mixed feelings about this book. 
When I started reading it, I had such “after” vibes. I love those books and I read the entire series within a week. They’re a guilty pleasure for me. 
Feeling those vibes, I thought I was set for a real “saucy” read 
The book is very well written and I did enjoy reading it, but the ending just completely ruined it for me 
A 400 page book for….. 
anyone who has read it will know what I mean!! 
I loved the idea of the book and the storyline and I even got the characters. But I really felt I missed something with the ending. 
I wouldn’t want to put anyone off the book. As some people may prefer a neat and tidy ending. 
Please read the book to make your own mind 😀
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I flew through this and loved every second apart from the sense of impending doom and wondering how and when it was all inevitably going to come crashing down. Delightfully escapist, Solene’s life and ability to travel around the world at the drop of a hat is somewhat fantasist, but it just makes it all the more enjoyable and you find yourself rooting for them despite all their challenges.
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Solène only goes to the boyband concert because her ex husband can't take their daughter at the last minute. But at the meet and greet, one of the band's members starts flirting with her. Hayes is handsome, clever, funny and one of the biggest stars in the world. He's also 20 and Solène is 38. When their initial secret meetings turn into a proper relationship, it all gets complicated - especially when the public find out. Can Hayes and Solène go the distance or is their relationship having too much of an effect on the people she cares about most? This is the wildcard of this summer's selection. Think a One Direction member falls in love with an older woman and you'll get the sort of vibe. I can see that some people are going to love this, for me it was a bit infuriating. I wanted to read it because of the Taylor Jenkins Reid blurb (for reasons that are obvious given the first pick of this post!) but I found all the characters irritating to a greater or lesser extent. In addition, this is being shelved as a romance on some vendors and on here and it absolutely isn’t. It has a romance in it yes, but it’s not for reasons that are very spoilery, but you can probably guess. I'm including it here, even though it was a not really for me book - because I think some people are going to devour this and I feel like if I was on a sun lounger around the pool this summer then I would be surrounded by people reading it!
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I really enjoyed this book! I like that it turned societal tropes about age-gap relationships on its head, and I enjoyed the authenticity of the fame angle being introduced into the story, too. I found the ending unexpectedly moving, too, which I think made the story feel more real.
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I had this book for a few months now, but somehow, I found it hard to express my feelings about this story. 

It’s probably one of those books that resonates with me on so many levels and I won’t forget it soon, for sure. 

It’s so raw and brings up so many emotions, so much love and heartbreak, but also healing and decisions that are hard to take by Solene, and I was there with her every step of the way. 

My romantic heart hopes for a sequel to this beautiful story because I need that happily ever after. If there won’t be one, that’s ok too, because this is a must-read book for anyone that wants to get lost in a beautiful yet interesting romance story.
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I must confess that it was the hype that made me read this book and I can certainly see why so many people are very excited about it. It is sheer and utter escapism at time when the world isn't the most comfortable place to live in, It's a pacey read, I read nearly all of it in one sitting, and it definitely gets you turning the pages with it's addictive quality but did I love it? I have to say not. I found the characters a little two dimensional and the story rather preposterous but it does have a certain something and I'd be lying if I said I wouldn't be intrigued to read a sequel (that ending!). If well written but unbelievable romance stories with a generous helping of sex are you're thing then I think you'll love it.
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Thoroughly enjoyable read, great subject matter with lots of room for debate. Would recommend this book
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I was, once again, seduced by a book cover. I looked at The Idea of You by Robinne Lee and I thought This is going to be Almost Famous and Daisy Jones which to me would have been perfect. What I got was a little less than what I was expecting. I got Daisy Jones meets 50 Shades. 

The story focuses on Solene, a single mum of one who is reaching her 40th birthday. When she takes her teenage daughter to a concert for the latest boy band she ends up starting a tempestuous relationship with the Lead singer Hayes Campbell. A man 20 years her junior.

Okay, so far as stories go it isn't bad. The important point that Lee tries to make is that women of a certain age are overlooked and this she does quite well. She has successful women who are independent of men and shows the impact on them, the unfairness of it and the disparity in the way men and women of a similar age are treated. 

The Hayes Campbell storyline which is the bulk of the story was a little hard to digest. Mainly because every seen had them having sex in a variety of graphic ways. I did make my vomit face on several occasions. I'm no prude but the way things were phrased had the 'ick' factor. 

Overall, The Idea of You is an easy read. It is uncomplicated and is the kind of book that you can take on holiday. It isn't poorly written but due to the amount of sex scenes I personally felt like our protagonist wasn't as well rounded as she could have been.   

The Idea of You by Robinne Lee is available now.

For more information regarding Robinne Lee (@robinnelee) please visit

For more information regarding Penguin (@PenguinUKBooks) please visit
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Wow, just utterly heated sexy and a bit unnerving. One to shock and make you feel a little bit hot under the collar. I am not sure about this one, as am not sure about the whole young boy with older woman thing plus destroying of marriage I guess I have never been tempted or felt that desire. But it’s an absolute scorcher of a read.
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3,5 - 4 stars

To be completly honest with you: I only read this because of Taylor Jenkins Reid. Because she very much loved it. And because I was craving a forbidden romance (I love the trope forbidden romance literally so much it's unhealthy!).
The blurb did not really catch me at first though, because I thought it was a bit weird of a story, but when I started reading I was so so fascinated by the story and the writing style of Robinne Lee. She really caught me with her writing style and the book was overall just so extremly addicting! I read like 200 pages in one sitting and just couldn't stop. Even though the story itself wasn't that thrilling, I still had to read one chapter after the other, because the author really suceeded with making me feel all the emotions the characters felt!
It was an really intense, emotional read and the ending really shattered my heart, because I really felt a connection to the characters (and I really want a Hayes too! Especially because I imagined him to be like Harry Styles haha!)

Would definetly recommend if you like VERY SPICY forbidden romance books (featuring a huge age gap hehe!)

Thank you a thousand times to the publishers who kindly sent the e-arc my way!
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'The Idea of You' by Robinee Lee depicts a love affair between Solene Marchand, a 39yr old French/American mum and LA gallery owner, and Hayes, a 20yr old English boy band member. The two meet when Solene escorts her daughter and some friends to a gig and meet and greet, won for the girls by her ex-husband. 

The novel is part romance, part erotic fantasy and part a meditation on fame, age and societies morals. Solene is a very glamourous woman who wears designer clothes, lives in a beautiful home in LA and is knowledgable about the art world (some of which is mentioned in the book). Hayes is dark, brooding and skilled! 

Whilst this isn't the type of book I normally read, I did enjoy it. Lee clearly knows about designer fashion and art. She has depicted Solene as a strong woman who tries to make the right decisions. Both her and Hayes are three dimensional characters who have multiple reasons for the relationship that go beyond sexual attraction. Setting the novel in the world of mega fame, where a picture of a foot can produce millions of likes and lude suggestions, gave the novel the necessary conflict to make the reader uncertain how everything will end.
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A huge thank to you Michael Joseph for my spot on this tour. The cover definitely doesn’t lie and this is a book that will keep you awake far too late at night.

This is a new author for me, I have to say I have been hooked from the very beginning. This is an addictive and unique read that I have devoured. I found that the author’s writ9ing style transports you as a reader and you are completely submerged in this one.

As a boyband lover (Westlife) this has been an instant winner for me. Solene is an amazing character, realistic and likeable. The novel contains some steamy scenes which have made me blush on more than one occasion.

I have found myself fully invested in this one. The author has really created the scene which has allowed me a great escape whilst reading this one. This is the perfect read for the end of a busy day. This is a book you will think about even when not reading.

This is a novel which contains forbidden love and unexpected connections. Hayes is a very wie character, especially for his age. This is a beautiful and emotional read, I have been converted as a fan of this author.

An absolute must read.
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Wasn’t too sure what to expect to start.. in the end I couldn’t put it down. An indulgent read, although it did end a bit abrupt I think. The perfect summer escapism read!
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This is going to be a difficult review as I am so very torn over this book! On the one hand I was gripped and couldn’t put it down but on the other hand there were things that felt a little off. 
Solene is thirty-nine and single mother to Isabelle who is 12, she takes her daughter to meet the band August Moon, a group of young British guys. She has a very intense interaction with Hayes Campbell, band member, age 20 with millions of adoring fans. They begin a relationship and to say it is complicated is a huge understatement. There is the age-gap, the fame, the fact that Solene’s daughter is infatuated with Hayes and his other band members and so much more. 
I loved the intensity of the connection between Hayes and Solene and I did not find the age-gap to be far-fetched or unbelievable. I felt that Lee really captured the craziness of Haye’s world and how it affects Solene in different ways as she almost doesn’t have the protection and adoration that Hayes’ fame affords him. 
I found the ending very difficult, I don’t want to give the plot away but the ending just didn’t seem right but that is obviously a personal opinion. 
I can completely understand why The Idea of You is garnering so much attention and I think it is a great inclusion on the Richard and Judy List. Although some things niggled me a little bit, I still flew through the book and Solene and Hayes are the main focus and their relationship totally took me in.
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I’d like to thank Jen from Michael J Books for sending me an ARC of this debut.

So this book didn’t lie when it said it would keep me up at night. I found myself quickly engrossed in this read and invested in Solene and Hayes. Don’t get me wrong I was a little freaked out about the age difference but I felt the author had written Hayes in a more mature way so it didn’t feel as wrong as it should.

I have seen a lot of reviews liking this to Fifty Shades of Grey and yes it is certainly a very steamy, naughty read but with a more mature edge to it. It was also interesting to read a story that dove into the life of a celebrity, from the crazy fans to the day to day living. I quite liked how Hayes managed his publicity, he gave nothing to the cameras and almost let everything go over his head but when you are suddenly thrusted into the limelight, like Solene was, I can understand why she found it so difficult.

I had mixed feelings about Solene, as a parent I can’t imagine what my children would say about me dating a 20 year old, let alone someone they idolise. I also had sympathy for how her marriage had ended and the loneliness she felt. She had a great support system her friends and colleagues, even her ex seemed to become more understanding.

My favourite moments between Solene and Hayes were the quieter times when they shared raw, candid emotions with each other. I couldn’t help but smile and imagine Hayes cheeky grin when he found himself getting his way and whilst we all knew where the story was heading I felt the story was drawn to a natural, realistic conclusion. I didn’t imagine myself rooting for them as a couple or feeling quite emotional as I was towards the end.
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To say there’s been something of a buzz about this book would be an understatement.  It’s been selected for Richard & Judy’s Summer Book Club, and book-twitter is positively feverish with praise.  And rightly so … The Idea Of You strikes me as a perfect addition to any summer reading list.  It’s a sexy, addictive and seductively entertaining indulgence.

When Solène Marchand takes her twelve year-old daughter Isabelle and two friends to see their heart-throb boy band, August Moon, little did she expect it to be a defining moment in her own life.  A brief encounter with the band’s frontman, Hayes Campbell, snowballs into a sizzling affair, and what started out as ‘just lunch’ becomes a global whirlwind romance.  I confess most happily to being totally swept up in this … the glamorous locations, the get-a-room chemistry, the conflicts and dilemmas … it’s all so damn flirtatious.

The Idea Of You is pitched firmly in the contemporary romance genre.  And whilst Solène and Hayes’ characters enjoy plenty of seriously hot scenes that’ll make any reader weak at the knees, there’s a whole lot more to this sassy novel than romps and thrills.  It’s actually a particularly empowering and sophisticated romance that confronts the insidious prejudices and inequalities that continue to blight the lives of women in modern society.

Hayes is a character who will get your pulse racing; he’s gorgeous, intelligent, deeply caring, and clearly a very talented lover. At just twenty years old, he was a surprisingly delicious treat for this forty-something reader.  And there in lies the main conflict … at 39, Solène is almost twice his age, the mother of a soon-to-be teenage daughter, and a divorcee. It’s this age gap that draws the most vitriol; not only from the media and fans, but also from some of the pair’s close friends and family. 

The author has elected to write this book entirely from Solène’s perspective, and in so doing she’s created an inspiring and wholly relatable protagonist.  Her sophisticated narrative has an intimacy to it that forges the impression of a close friend confiding her innermost hopes and vulnerabilities. As the co-owner of a prosperous contemporary art gallery, Solène’s success and poise are to be admired, so too her innately French style and attitude.  She’s a woman whose friendship I would cherish, and whilst on the whole I relished every last butterfly-thrill of her new found sense of self, there were times when her choices frustrated me enormously.  In many ways, Solène’s affair with Hayes marks a second coming of age … an exploration of her sensuality, her confidence, the compatibility of motherhood and womanhood … it’s a palpable introspection of self-definition and projection for a liberated woman entering her forties.

We’ve all been there … that moment when you slam on the brakes, switching from ‘devour’ mode to ‘savour’ mode in an effort to postpone the all-too rapidly approaching final chapter.  Like a teenage version of myself swooning over the boybands of my era, I was becoming a tad breathless at the prospect of ending the flirtatious hold this book’s had on me.  I simply did - not - want - it - to - end.  But end it did (snivels) … arguably too bluntly. It was somewhat at odds with the aching intensity of feelings the author had so suggestively elicited with her writing. I wasn’t ready to let it go … I wanted more … I wanted reassurances … I wanted epilogue. 

Oh, the sighs!  The Idea Of You is a beautiful, moreish story. It became something I craved and inhaled pretty much from the opening page and I could happily have devoured the whole thing in a single - sleepless, feverish - sitting. But this one is too good to rush; it needs to be savoured and unhurried. Let it seduce you … and have a great big tub of your favourite ice cream on standby for when it inevitably has to end.  (NOTE: I found waitrose’s Raspberry Ripple & Pistachio to be quite effective.)

The Idea Of You is a crush-book.  Indeed, I’ve since learned there are private Facebook groups where fans share their adoration of this most enticing couple. A support group for readers who can’t quite let go of the thrilling, flirtatious, unapologetic fun that this book truly is.  The author has given us a gift of a book here … it fulfils the sexy indulgence demanded to be a romping-good summer/beach read, and yet it packs just the right amount of thought-provoking, conversation-stimulating kudos for book clubs. So yes, back to where my review started, I can totally see what all the fuss was about. Now, if you’ll excuse me I’ve got a support group to join …
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3.5 stars
The Idea Of You is a romantic, steamy read which is perfect for escaping reality and reading in the sun.

Firstly I must admit this isn’t my normal genre but I’d heard lots about this book so was naturally very intrigued. The love affair between Solene and Harry was great fun to follow and I enjoyed watching it progress. It was interesting to see the discussion about the age difference and societies reaction to them being a couple though. It sadly happens in reality but society doesn’t seem to like older woman with younger men where as they think the reverse is absolutely fine which seems hypercritical.

Solene was an interesting character for me and one I wasn’t completely sure I liked. She’s a strong women who has a successful career in the art world but she did annoy me at times with her constant wobbles about the age difference and her continual brand name dropping. Hayes was adorable and someone I can see a lot of people falling in love with. He’s based on Harry Styles so it was fun to read the book with him in mind. Some of the scenes between Hayes and Solene get really steamy which might not be to everyone’s taste.

This book takes you to some beautiful locations throughout the world and it was fun to follow the characters in these locations and live precariously through them. Some of the properties they visit sound stunning and made me wish I was able to visit them myself. It was quite eye opening to see how the other half live with live in chiefs and people catering to their every whim.

The ending was an interesting one for me. I didn’t mind it ending the way it did but was confused by the reasons that it ended that way as to me I felt they had been worked through or could have been easily resolved.

Overall I’m a bit on the fence about this book to be honest. There were parts I really enjoyed but other parts that I wasn’t sure about. I did find it an addictive read at the beginning and read the first half of the book quite fast but I felt it slowed down a bit in the middle and I must admit I found it a bit hard to finish sadly. As I said at the beginning though this isn’t more normal genre and I can well imagine it appealing to lots of other people this summer.

Huge thanks to Jen Harlow from Michael St Joseph for inviting me onto the blog tour and for my copy of this book which I received in exchange for an honest review.
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