4 STARS This will be a bit spoiler-y, but then with that encompassing blurb, I doubt I could write anything and not call it a spoiler. So be forewarned. This should have been an obvious 5 star read for someone like me. I mean, set to the lyrical soundtrack of the 60s and 70s? Signed, sealed, delivered, I'm sold! (cue wink right about, here) Not to mention anyone who obsessed over John Lennon for an extended period of time will likely see some parallelisms: a secret marriage, deserting fathers, unloving mothers, a suffocating aunt, a band on the rise, the exotic woman... it's like a Deconstructed Lennon biography. He's an invisible presence in certain scenes, one even pivotal."Love is like two dreamers dreaming the exact same dream" - John LennonI don't like summarizing book plots in my reviews because it tends to be redundant (and suffers from tons of run-on sentences), but this one compels me to. There's a prologue of sorts that I guess sets the scope of the story but the chunk of it is set in Manchester in 1979 when Bobby Carter, the lead vocalist of the punk band, The Dare met Kindle Hyrum, part-time waitress in the bar where they're playing. "Pretty was good for pictures, facsmiles of real life moments. Kindle was beautiful. Beautiful was when the sun illuminated a woman's face and hit it perfectly at every angle. That kind of thing couldn't be captured in pictures, but it was definitely more authentic than pin-up prettiness."He pursues her and in a chain of events that challenges rhyme and reason, manages to get her to marry him after a day. From there, we are given snippets of Bobby's and Kindle's pasts and see how their relationship evolves under the social politics of the early 80's.I liked a lot of things about this book, but I liked the inspired and unconventional characters best. Kindle and her messed up family background made for a compelling character development, one that lends weight to her sometimes cruel always brash demeanor without making her deplorable (though I have to say, she surely knows how to hurt a man with words). But it's Bobby Carter that made me scratch my head in bemused confusion. Mostly because the picture I get in my head when you say post-punk is this guy. Surely, Robert Smith might have been a hot daddy back in the day but Bobby is a practicing Catholic who doesn't drink, do drugs and is a virgin. He's at that stage when he's physically a full-grown man but still calls his mum for money. He has this wide-eyed, innocent optimism that balances well with Kindle's devil-may-care strength. He's outrageously, shamelessly romantic. The kind that makes me embarrassed reading about it. He was greater than a hunter, stronger than a fighter, more enduring than an athlete. He was a man capable of holding together a broken woman. The storytelling was unusual. It took a lot of getting used to for me because the story is told in 3rd person with the timeline shifting from past to present without warning and some glances into the future ("He didn't know that it will be...."). Sometimes it worked, sometimes it was just distracting. The plot is very much character driven, so don't expect hysterics or big drama. There were plot twist that came as a shock but instead of an explosion, they were almost relayed in a whisper. I have to say, I didn't get invested in the story until around 40% (when Betty's character was introduced). The pace was too glacial.There were patches in the plot that I wasn't too keen on. Scenes that turn up out of the blue and some that are just plain strange. i.e. Betty, Bobby and Kindle in the bathroom, Betty's sudden outburst over Kindle in their acting class . It took me a bit of time to swallow the premise of Kindle and Bobby's marriage. The final conflict didn't ring true to me. Bobby choosing music over Kindle didn't make sense. He was drawn as an intense musician who couldn't live without his music but all I could remember was how much he tried to make everything work out between him and Kindle. There was a small paragraph towards the end that reads like a snapshot into Bobby's future. It was interesting and devastating all at once that I don't know if I have the heart to read about it in all its gory detail (if that's the author's intent).