Praise for Play for Me

“With a background as a music reviewer,
Céline Keating combines the soul-searching of Eat, Pray, Love with the rock ’n’ roll fable of Almost Famous to create a novel of midlife crisis with music at its core.”—Booklist

‘Lily finds herself unexpectedly bereft when her only son goes off to college, and adrift in her job as a corporate videographer and in her relationship with her kind, solid husband in their home on New York’s Upper West Side. On the cusp of 50, she pines for a second chance or ‘a whole separate extra life.’ Her chance comes in the form of JJ, a folk-rock guitar virtuoso, whose performance Lily happens to catch on her son’s campus. Equally stunned by the music and JJ himself, Lily soon propels herself forward into his life, dropping everything to follow the band, Rising Stars, and become their video documentarian. As Lily and JJ’s relationship evolves on the road, Keating (Layla, 2011) effectively explores the psychic force that performers have over their audience, and the reciprocity of adoration between musicians and their fans. With a background as a music reviewer, Keating combines the soul-searching of Eat, Pray, Love with the rock ’n’ roll fable of Almost Famous to create a novel of midlife crisis with music at its core.

— Booklist

“This novel sings! Empty-nester Lily hears a duo perform in concert at her son’s college, she is captivated by the guitarist, the lure of music and the magic of performance. Céline Keating writes about music with the knowledge of a music critic and the soul of a musician; she totally drew me into Lily’s life-changing enchantment with music and those who create it.”

—ELLEN MEEROPOL, author of House Arrest and On Hurricane Island

Play for Me is a serious, moving, and utterly delightful portrait of a woman wavering between the bonds of fidelity and the pull of desire. Céline Keating knows as much about the world of folk/rock music as she does about the workings of the heart.” 

—HILMA WOLITZER, author Summer Reading and An Available Man

“Evocative, philosophical, and downright entertaining, Play for Me had me turning pages as if to discover the fate not only of its winning heroine, but of myself.”

—ALETHEA BLACK, author of I Knew You'd Be Lovely

“Keating ... is at her surest when discussing musical issues, whether questions of guitar technique or the challenges of the music business for nonmainstream artists.”

Kirkus Reviews

“I was so moved by Play for Me. Though the story revolves around issues of morality and fidelity—what do we owe ourselves versus what do we owe our loved ones—I cared about each character and hoped he or she would find happiness. This is a page-turner in the best sense. Keating is a wonderful, wise author who offers her readers the deep satisfaction of a smart story told beautifully.”

—ALICE ELLIOTT DARK, author of The Gloaming and Think of England

“Music pours out of this wonderful novel. Play for Me exquisitely captures the lure of the songs that define us—and of those who sing them—and how they posit the dubious possibility of endlessly transforming and transcending routine existence. In Lily, Keating has created an unforgettable character whose depth, wit, and passion sparkle on every page, and whose quest to redefine herself in the second half of her life is at once painfully and joyously familiar.”                                 

—SUSAN SEGAL, author of Aria

“The author's writing is exquisite, and she put together the story of a woman's search for self and purpose with depth and complexity.”

– Bookaholics Not-So-Anonymous Blog 

“What draws people to music and musicians? The answer speaks to the transformative power of music and art: that which makes the difference between mere existence and a life fully savored.  In Play for Me, Céline Keating has woven together the story of a late-life journey to explore one’s authentic self. For her character Lily, music and beauty as redemptive forces prevail, despite heart-wrenching ups and downs. You need not be a music aficionado to be riveted by this eloquent tale.”

—ALAN FARK, editor of

Links to additional raves for Play for Me:

Play for Me was included The Common Online’s roundup of recommended books.
Play for Me was included in a roundup for The Culturalist of Best Books of Love, Lust, and Forgiveness
Play for Me was included in Buzzfeed’s Ultimate Spring Book Guide