The best novels about love and music

Who am I?

I’m Jill Santopolo, a novelist, editor, and mom who was born in New York and currently lives in Washington, DC. I’ve written Everything After, More Than Words, and The Light We Lost, which was the Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick in February 2018. My books have been named to The New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Apple, and Indiebound bestseller lists, and have been translated into more than 35 languages. I love Instagram and rarely ever use Twitter (but you can find me there, too)--and music makes my heart sing. When I was growing up I learned to play the piano, flute, and piccolo, and I loved singing and dancing.

I wrote...

Everything After

By Jill Santopolo,

Book cover of Everything After

What is my book about?

Emily Gold has come a long way since she lost her two passions fifteen years ago: music, and her musician boyfriend Rob. She's a psychologist at NYU who helps troubled college students like the one she once was. And she’s found love again—she and her husband Ezra want to start a family together.

When a tragic event occurs that too closely echoes her past, and parts of her story come to light, her perfect life is suddenly turned upside down. Then Emily hears a song on the radio about the woman who got away. The melody and voice are hauntingly familiar. As Emily's past passions come roaring back into her life, she finds herself asking who she’s meant to be and who she’s meant to love.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Daisy Jones & The Six

Jill Santopolo Why did I love this book?

Taylor Jenkins Reid’s novel is so brilliantly crafted that I had to keep reminding myself it was fiction, not fact. Written as a collection of interviews of a 1970s band, this story is propulsive and complex and filled with such fascinating details of the music business and the interpersonal band relationships. Come for the music, stay for the passion—and the phenomenal writing.  

By Taylor Jenkins Reid,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked Daisy Jones & The Six as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?



From the author of THE SEVEN HUSBANDS OF EVELYN HUGO and the bestselling MALIBU RISING

'I LOVE it . . . I can't remember the last time I read a book that was so fun' DOLLY ALDERTON

Everybody knows Daisy Jones and the Six.

From the moment Daisy walked barefoot on to the stage at the Whisky, she and the band were a sensation.

Their sound defined an era. Their albums were on every turntable. They…

Book cover of Heard It in a Love Song

Jill Santopolo Why did I love this book?

Tracey Garvis Graves’s novel about second chances and starting over is filled with so much warmth, it’s impossible not to cheer for her characters and to feel true empathy for their situations. Newly-divorced Layla discovers she had to make peace with her past to find love in her present—and music is the key to it all. 

By Tracey Garvis Graves,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Heard It in a Love Song as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From Tracey Garvis Graves, the bestselling author of The Girl He Used to Know comes a love song of a story about starting over and second chances in Heard It in a Love Song.

Love doesn’t always wait until you’re ready.

Layla Hilding is thirty-five and recently divorced. Struggling to break free from the past―her glory days as the lead singer in a band and a ten-year marriage to a man who never put her first―Layla’s newly found independence feels a lot like loneliness.

Then there's Josh, the single dad whose daughter attends the elementary school where Layla teaches music.…

Book cover of The Piano Teacher

Jill Santopolo Why did I love this book?

Janice Y.K Lee marries historical fiction with music and passion in this epic story set in Singapore in the 1940s and 1950s. Like all the best historical novels, this book highlighted aspects of history not always discussed, and did it with a thread of beautiful music woven through the story. This book is all-consuming.  

By Janice Y. K. Lee,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Piano Teacher as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ambitious, exotic, and a classic book club read, 'The Piano Teacher' is a combination of 'Tenko' meets 'The Remains of the Day'.

Sometimes the end of a love affair is only the beginning...

In 1942, Will Truesdale, an Englishman newly arrived in Hong Kong, falls headlong into a passionate relationship with Trudy Liang, a beautiful Eurasian socialite. But their love affair is soon threatened by the invasion of the Japanese, with terrible consequences for both of them, and for members of their fragile community who will betray each other in the darkest days of the war.

Ten years later, Claire…

Book cover of Sweet Thing

Jill Santopolo Why did I love this book?

Renee Carlino’s book about being in love—and loving music—when you’re in your early 20s is the kind of story that feels like time travel. She captures life and love and grief and confusion so perfectly. And for anyone who has ever found guitar players sexy, well, I bet Will will win your heart.

By Renée Carlino,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sweet Thing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Mia Kelly thinks she has it all figured out. She's an Ivy League graduate, a classically trained pianist, and the beloved daughter of a sensible mother and offbeat father. Yet Mia has been stalling since graduation, torn between putting her business degree to use and exploring music, her true love.

When her father unexpectedly dies, she decides to pick up the threads of his life while she figures out her own. Uprooting herself from Ann Arbor to New York City, Mia takes over her father's cafe, a treasured neighbourhood institution that plays host to undiscovered musicians and artists. She's denied…

Book cover of The Unsinkable Greta James

Jill Santopolo Why did I love this book?

Out in March of 2022 (so pre-order if you’re reading this before then—your future self will thank you!), Jennifer E. Smith’s family story finds itself at the intersection of music, travel, familial love, and romantic love. When Rockstar Greta James finds her life spiraling downward, the music she loves and the people she loves are the only way out. 

By Jennifer E. Smith,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Unsinkable Greta James as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An indie musician reeling from tragedy and a public breakdown reconnects with her father on a weeklong cruise in “a pitch-perfect story about the ways we recover love in the strangest places” (Rebecca Serle, bestselling author of In Five Years)

“The characters are drawn with a generosity that allows them to be wrong but also right, loving but also prone to missteps, and ultimately deserving of a resolution that’s full of hope.”—Linda Holmes, New York Times bestselling author of Flying Solo

Right after the sudden death of her mother—her first and most devoted fan—and just before the launch of her…

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The Road from Belhaven

By Margot Livesey,

Book cover of The Road from Belhaven

Margot Livesey Author Of The Road from Belhaven

New book alert!

Who am I?

Author Reader Secret orphan Professor Scottish Novelist

Margot's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

The Road from Belhaven is set in 1880s Scotland. Growing up in the care of her grandparents on Belhaven Farm, Lizzie Craig discovers as a small girl that she can see the future. But she soon realises that she must keep her gift a secret. While she can sometimes glimpse the future, she can never change it.

Nor can Lizzie change the feelings that come when a young man named Louis, visiting Belhaven for the harvest, begins to court her. Why have the adults around her never told her that the touch of a hand can change everything? When she follows Louis to Glasgow, she begins to learn the limits of his devotion and the complexities of her own affections.

The Road from Belhaven

By Margot Livesey,

What is this book about?

From the New York Times best-selling author of The Flight of Gemma Hardy, a novel about a young woman whose gift of second sight complicates her coming of age in late-nineteenth-century Scotland

Growing up in the care of her grandparents on Belhaven Farm, Lizzie Craig discovers as a small child that she can see into the future. But her gift is selective—she doesn’t, for instance, see that she has an older sister who will come to join the family. As her “pictures” foretell various incidents and accidents, she begins to realize a painful truth: she may glimpse the future, but…

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Interested in romantic love, rock music, and Hong Kong?

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