Living By Ear

She’s a hippie busker with multicolored hair, he’s a clean-cut, successful attorney…

This is a story about Chris an amateur guitarist who for a long time earned most of her living by playing and singing on street corners. That’s where she meets and marries a distinguished wealthy and overly ambitious New York lawyer. As they begin to have kids, Chris decides to suspend her music career in other to raise her kids . As it turns out, the marriage fails and now bitter Chris sets out on a struggle to find her self, resurrect her career and probably reconnect with her ex boyfriend .

My Take –
Told from the first person point of view, the story alternates between the present and the past. A date at the beginning of each chapter lets you know which time period the author is describing. So the reader has to keep flipping back the page to stay focused. Apart from that, Living By Ear is well written début novel.
This book reads very fast from the beginning and you can’t wait to get to the meat of the story. At the first glance, readers’ impression might be that this book is all about music. But we find that the story is not technical at all. Instead, this book brings an insight into exactly what performers sometimes have to go through in other to get where they are – which readers who are not so familiar with the music industry would really enjoy. At the same time, this book touches on love, rejection and divorce.

As I read, I kept cheering on Chris a middle-aged woman who put life and career on hold in other to let her husband get established while also taking care of their children. You can not but empathize with her character. As the story goes on there’s the question of whether this was a fair decision. Rowen created a very sympathetic character that a lot of women can relate to. We also follow as Chris’ teenage kids struggle over their parent’s divorce and look for ways to make the best of the situation.

The language is very casual – and funny. I love that Rowen throws in humor here and there which helps make the characters relatable and human. That said, I find the beginning and the middle very enjoyable with smooth transitions between the story line, but the ending seems a little hurried and abrupt.

Fans of women fiction would eat this up. Living By Ear is a compelling, fast paced and realistic story.

About the author-
Mary Rowen grew up in the Massachusetts Merrimack Valley and is a graduate of Providence College. She has worked as a teacher, writer, salesperson, and political canvasser. She lives in the Boston area with her husband, children, and cats. Living by Ear is her first novel. ~ About the Author, courtesy of

Author – Rowen, Mary
Publication Date – Feb 6, 2013
Number of Pages – 332
Genre – Women’s Fiction
Geographical Setting – Boston


4 thoughts on “Living By Ear

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