Musical Chairs|Amy Poeppel
Musical Chairs
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"A fiercely funny tale of family, friendship, and later-in-life love." --People

"Poeppel has created a story that is well thought out, well plotted, well written, and fully developed. A delightful novel that celebrates the messiness and joy to be found in real life." --Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"A hilariously heartfelt, witty novel." --Woman's World

The award-winning, "quick-witted and razor-sharp" (Taylor Jenkins Reid, New York Times bestselling author of Daisy Jones & The Six) author of Limelight and Small Admissions returns with a hilarious and heartfelt new novel about a perfectly imperfect summer of love, secrets, and second chances.

Bridget and Will have the kind of relationship that people envy: they're loving, compatible, and completely devoted to each other. The fact that they're strictly friends seems to get lost on nearly everyone; after all, they're as good as married in (almost) every way. For three decades, they've nurtured their baby, the Forsyth Trio--a chamber group they created as students with their Juilliard classmate Gavin Glantz. In the intervening years, Gavin has gone on to become one of the classical music world's reigning stars, while Bridget and Will have learned to embrace the warm reviews and smaller venues that accompany modest success.

Bridget has been dreaming of spending the summer at her well-worn Connecticut country home with her boyfriend Sterling. But her plans are upended when Sterling, dutifully following his ex-wife's advice, breaks up with her over email and her twin twenty-somethings arrive unannounced, filling her empty nest with their big dogs, dirty laundry, and respective crises.

Bridget has problems of her own: her elderly father announces he's getting married, and the Forsyth Trio is once again missing its violinist. She concocts a plan to host her dad's wedding on her ramshackle property, while putting the Forsyth Trio back into the spotlight. But to catch the attention of the music world, she and Will place their bets on luring back Gavin, whom they've both avoided ever since their stormy parting.

With her trademark humor, pitch-perfect voice, and sly perspective on the human heart, Amy Poeppel crafts a love letter to modern family life with all of its discord and harmony. In the tradition of novels by Maria Semple and Stephen McCauley, Musical Chairs is an irresistibly romantic story of role reversals, reinvention, and sweet synchronicity.


  • ISBN-13: 9781501176418
  • ISBN-10: 1501176412
  • Publisher: Atria Books
  • Publish Date: July 2020
  • Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.25 pounds
  • Page Count: 416

Musical Chairs

Reading Amy Poeppel’s Musical Chairs is as fun as watching a Marx Brothers comedy, especially that scene in A Night at the Opera when everyone is squashed into the stateroom.

Warmhearted, maternal, beautiful and rich, Bridget Stratton has long been the cellist in the Forsyth Trio. The problem is that they’re actually a duo, as she and the pianist, her platonic pal Will, have no luck in keeping a violinist. The most recent was Gavin, whom both Will and Bridget sort of disliked. (He was brilliant and never let them forget it.) When the novel opens, Bridget has come to Connecticut to spend the summer in her ramshackle old country house down the road from her famous dad’s sprawling estate, and she is getting a little desperate for a fiddler.

Then Bridget’s hypochondriac daughter, Isabelle, decides to spend the summer in her mother’s guesthouse. Isabelle’s lovelorn twin, Oscar, arrives soon after. Will pops in and falls in love with the sexy local florist. Everyone manages to bring their cats and dogs, including a bear-size Newfoundland named Bear. Even Will’s inamorata has a menacing parrot. These folks can’t seem to function without their familiars.

Meanwhile, Bridget’s dad, composer Edward Stratton, is getting married. This charming and crotchety gentleman is pushing 90, and so is his fiancée. Should Will and Bridget surprise them by playing one of Edward’s compositions at the wedding? Reenter Gavin, demonic toddler and persnickety wife in tow. At least they don’t have a dog.

Among many other characters are Jackie, Edward’s young assistant, who’s both hapless and efficient; Edward’s housekeeper, Marge, a mashup of Hazel and Alice from “The Brady Bunch”; and Bridget’s sister, Gwen, dropper of famous names.

Poeppel’s people are a mess, but her writing is crisp and breezy. Where does everyone end up when the music stops? Read and find out.