Mix Tape by Jane Sanderson – Book Review

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Trigger Warnings in the book: Rape, Alcohol Abuse

I just finished reading this love story and it was a romance quite unlike anything I’ve read before. However, it did remind me of a movie that was made in India a long time ago, which was thrashed by the public and critiques because it seemed like the movie supported adultery, which is considered immoral in so many societies, no matter what the reason be.

This is the story of Daniel and Alison, who were deeply in love when they were teenagers. But then Alison had a secret that she was keeping from Dan, and then tragedy strikes her in a terrible way. And she disappears from his life. Now, nearly 30 years later, Dan comes across Alison on twitter. And that brings back a flood of memories. But what had connected them back then, and what connects them 30 years later as well, is their shared love for music. So Daniel starts sending her a song, and she responds with a song of her own. And that is how their relationship and feelings are rekindled across continents.

Each of the protagonists have beautiful families and faithful, loving, intelligent, well meaning partners. But in the book, the author shows that we end up realising the faults in our current relationships, no matter how perfect or stable, when we find our true soulmate. There’s this line in the book, which neatly sums up what a lot of couples go through, or why they falter or go astray:

She had loved him. She did love him. Yes, she’d lost something of herself over the years, but perhaps he had too, perhaps it was a condition of a long marriage that part of one’s spirit must be sacrificed, in exchange for material comfort, children, companionship.

I know the premise of this story may not be digestible to many readers, since it doesn’t take the easy way out for this couple’s re-union all these years later. They don’t really have abusive relationships, or their partners have not died, or anything serious of the sorts. They just realise what is missing in their current relationship, when they find their soulmate. I don’t believe in the concept of soulmates, but well, this is a story, one with a different background, and I enjoyed reading it.

I am a huge fan of music and that was something that was particularly appealing to me in this storyline. The part about the mix tape, brought me back to my own courtship period with the men I have dated. We always had a common bond of music. The man I’m married to now, used to make mix tapes on CDs for me. Sometimes he wouldn’t tell me what songs were on it. Sometimes he would quiz me on the songs, to see if I got them, or remembered them as well as he did. That was his test and I passed with flying colours. Music is something that still connects us. There are no fights that haven’t been resolved over a few drinks and listening to that one song that touches both of us.

I also appreciated all the supporting characters in the book. I could see this book being made into a series or a movie with such a vast array of characters. And each of the characters had their bits of story too. The families and friendships were amazing, real, loving and supportive, with the exception of Alison’s mother, who is an alcoholic. All the stories get a neat ending and it is as good as a happy ending one could hope for, at least for our lead couple.

There are a lot of description about different places in Scotland, UK and Adelaide in South Australia. The author seems to have done a lot of research and work, and overall I found this book to be thought provoking and quite an emotional ride. Even though the lead pair commit adultery, I was rooting for them. I anyway don’t have strict rules about monogamy and I have a different take on monogamy and human nature. Honesty is more important to me in a relationship, as well as freedom of choice and respecting each other. And the lead couple are shown to have that for each other, which is why I was completely with them and wanted a happy ending for them. I’m so glad the author ended the story the way it did.

I would recommend this book if you’re looking for a clean romance, music, bonding over soulmates, lots of supporting characters.

Don’t pick this if subjects on rape and alcohol abuse are triggers for you, or finding love outside a happily married life is something that doesn’t sit well with you 🙂

**Thank you Netgalley and the publishers of the book for sharing this ARC digital copy with me in exchange of an honest review. All reviews and opinions are purely my own and not biased in any way**

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