What You Do To Me: A Novel by Rochelle B. Weinstein
Narrated by Stacy Gonzalez
Standalone Women’s Fiction/Romance
I love music-influenced books, especially classic or retro music from the late 60s to 90s. So when I saw a cassette tape and the lyrics to Hey There Delilah by The Plain White T’s, I clicked immediately and was excited to read the forward by Tom Higginson from the band, who was honored to know his song was a muse for a romance novel. *Note: Both the Kindle and audiobook are in Kindle Unlimited.
What You Do To Me by Rochelle B. Weinstein is told in 3 timelines. We start in the present where Cecilia James is winning an award in Journalism. The rest of the story alternates between 1996 when Cecilia got her first story at Rolling Stone magazine, and the 70s, which is when the story she was writing about took place.
1996: Cecelia’s life revolves around her job at Rolling Stone. She got her love and interest in music from her father with whom she now has a very strained relationship. Her obsession with music and her job also puts a strain on her relationship with her boyfriend, so he makes plans to take a cruise from Miami so they can get away from work. But she had a quick story to cover in Miami and would meet him at the ship.
On her way, she came across a clue to a question music lovers have been asking for over 20 years. Who did Eddie Vee write his famous 1979 song “What You Do To Me” for? The story then flashes to the 1970s when a young Eddie Santiago helps his Argentinian grandfather with maintenance at a Miami Beach condo. A huge religious Jewish family returned for holidays every single year.
1970’s: When Sara first met Eddie they were young kids, and he spoke almost no English. But every vacation over the years, Sara and Eddie became friendlier, but they had to hide their friendship. Sara’s strict family would never allow her to be with someone outside the Jewish community. They soon fell in love and had to keep their love a secret. Eddie grew up and got sexier, and his amazing singing talent and looks had girls fawning all over him, but he only loved Sara until her family tore them apart. This timeline was my favorite.
Back in 1996, Cecelia was trying to find any more clues as to whom the lyrics were written for and why, but Eddie disappeared from the public after a tragedy at one of his concerts. I loved reading about all the clues she was putting together to construct the story.
Cecelia is trying to win back her boyfriend Pete and that’s supposed to be the second relationship in this book, but quite honestly, I didn’t really like them together, so that was my least favorite part of the book. I was, however, very interested in the story between Cecelia and her father and stepmom, and I loved the story of Sara and Eddie.
- The song titles at the beginning of each chapter.
- Well-portrayed Jewish family in the 70’s.
- Completely unique storyline.
- The idea that a song was used with permission as a springboard to a novel.
- All the music woven through.
- I never really warmed up to Cecelia and Pete.
- A lot was going on: Cecelia’s investigation, her relationship with her dad and stepmom, and hers with her boyfriend, as well as Eddie and Sara.
- 3rd person.
You will have an earworm and not be able to get the song out of your head.
Stacy Gonzalez did a mostly great job, especially with the Argentinian accents, but she didn’t know how to speak any of the Yiddish, and I was disappointed she didn’t look up the correct pronunciation.
The Down & Dirty:
What You Do To Me by Rochelle B. Weinstein is a complex and completely unique story that had me riveted the entire time. I especially loved the story of the young Argentinian singer and the sheltered Jewish girl in the 1970’s and the sluething of the reporter to find the muse to the famous song. If you enjoy music-based romances, this one will be right up your alley.
Rating: 4.5 Stars, 0 Flames, 4 Narration
Purchase What You Do To Me: A Novel by Rochelle B. Weinstein
Both the kindle book and the Audiobook are currently FREE in Kindle Unlimited