Ben Davies is something of an enigma. He looks unkempt and his shop doesn’t have a single customer but he’s willing to see if her sample buckle sells in his store and if it does then he’ll order some pieces. It’s not a definite yes, but it’s not a no either and Jemima can’t help but feel elated by the possibility of success. She does note however, that Ben’s behavior is rather odd and the way he constantly watches her face is definitely unnerving.
When Jemima receives an email from Ben letting her know that he’s sold her buckle she’s naturally very excited and brings some more down for him to stock in his store. What she doesn’t expect is to encounter a very agitated Ben and what appears to be a lawyer in some sort of dispute. Ben says that he doesn’t want to talk to the other man but she’s stunned when he kisses her in a bid to get the other man to leave. Jemima slaps him for this affront but rather than become angry at her reaction Ben laughs simply because it’s the first time he’s ever been slapped by a woman. And so begins a friendship based on traded insults and a need for ‘normalcy.’ Jemima and Ben are both running from their pasts and situations they can’t change. For Ben it’s a little more complicated because he was the front man of a popular Indie rock band called Willow Down and for some inexplicable reason quit right in the middle of a tour but no one seems to know why. Jemima’s past is full of pain and things she’d rather no one know about but she can’t really dig around in Ben’s past without expecting him to do the same to hers. Are Ben and Jemima ready for the complications that come with bearing your true self to others?
PLEASE DON’T STOP THE MUSIC is a real gem of a story that completely caught me by surprise. The dialogue between all the characters, Jemima’s friends Rosie and Jason included, is realistic and fun and makes you feel like you fit right in amongst them. The main story is focused on Jemima and Ben but there are interesting developments going on with Rosie and her baby all throughout the story and Jason’s lecherous attitude provides a light humor that counteracts the serious undercurrents. What I love about this story is how Jemima accepts Ben as just a man. There’s no celebrity worship and she never lets up on her sarcastic comments which seems to be exactly what he needs.
Jane Lovering infuses humor and a lighthearted attitude into this story involving two characters whose lives have experienced some very real disappointments. My heart broke for Jemima and Ben as their individual stories were unveiled and I could fully appreciate and understand why they chose to attempt to run from their pasts. It doesn’t work but I can certainly understand it.