The Idea Of You by Robinne Lee

hot | seductive | immersive | glamorous | sophisticated

what it says on the cover …

Everyone in the world knows his name… but it’s you he wants. 

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 Solene Marchand, he’s the pretty face that’s plastered over her teenage daughter’s bedroom wall.

Until a chance meeting throws Hayes and Solene together . . .

The attraction is instant. The chemistry is electric. The affair is Solene’s secret.

But can it really stay that way forever?

PUBLISHED: 8th July 2021
SHELF: Fiction | Romance
AUTHOR: Robinne Lee
PUBLISHER: Penguin Michael Joseph UK
FORMATS: Paperback | Kindle | AudioBook

my review

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 …

Thank you to Jen Breslin / Penguin Michael Joseph for inviting me to join the initial cover-reveal of The Idea Of You, back in April … and for sending me this #NetGalley copy in return for an honest review.

If this book sounds like one you’d love to read too, here’s a selection of purchase links:
To support independent local bookshops, click ☞ here
To feed your Waterstones ‘plus’ loyalty card, click ☞ here
And of course, here is the ubiquitous Amazon link

author bio


A graduate of Yale University and Columbia Law School, Robinne was born and raised in Westchester County, New York. As the daughter of Jamaican parents of African, Chinese, and British descent, Robinne has long had an affinity for travel and the arts. Her past endeavors include working as an Editorial Assistant for ELLE Magazine, both in New York and Paris, writing celebrity profiles for the now defunct youth culture magazine, TELL, and running a music management company. Robinne has numerous acting credits in both television and film, has served as a producer on various independent films and regularly speaks on panels and writes for trade magazines regarding the roles of women and actors of color in the industry. She currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two children.

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8 thoughts on “The Idea Of You by Robinne Lee

  1. It’s such a great read! Come join us in the support group. We will be happy to have you. It’s been almost 3 years for me and I still haven’t recovered.

    Liked by 1 person

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