Play for Me

A Finalist in the International Book Awards (Literary Fiction), Indy Excellence Awards, and USA Book Awards (General Fiction)

Lily impulsively joins a touring folk-rock band, leaving her job and marriage behind in an attempt to find a second chance at life, passion, and art.

It happens without warning: At a folk-rock show at her son’s college, Lily becomes transfixed by the guitarist’s unassuming onstage presence and beautiful playing—and with his final note, something within her breaks loose.

After the concert, Lily returns to her comfortable life—an Upper West Side apartment, a job as a videographer, and a kind if distracted husband—but she can’t stop thinking about the music, or about the duo’s guitarist, JJ. Unable to resist the pull of either one, she rashly offers to make a film about the band in order to gain a place with them on tour. But when Lily dares to step out from behind her camera, she falls deep into JJ’s world—upsetting the tenuous balance between him and his band mate, and filling a chasm of need she didn’t know she had.

Captivating and provocative, Play for Me captures the thrill and heartbreak of deciding to leave behind what you love to follow what you desire.

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Praise for PLAY FOR ME

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
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
Play for Me selected for “The Ultimate Spring Book Guide.”
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.
Play for Me: “A best story of love, lust, and forgiveness.”
The Culturalist
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
“The author’s writing is exquisite and she was able to put together the story of a woman’s search for self and purpose, one 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
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
“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