Posts Tagged ‘historical’

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Talk about an oldie! I wasn’t even alive when this one came out, but here it is, on my radar, so what the heck. Let’s talk about it. It’s got a listing on GoodReads, so that means you ought to be able to get a copy SOMEwhere, even if you may have to dig through some dark and dusty and spider-filled spots in questionable bookstores that look more like a hoarder’s heaven than your local indie shop.

The book is called A Song Begins, and it’s the first in a series written by Mary Burchell, which seems to be a pseudonym for a great woman named Ida Cook, who saved Jews during the Holocaust. With a resume like that, expectations for the book just went up.

So here’s what it’s about:

An unknown benefactor had sufficient faith in Anthea Benton’s singing voice to pay for her training under the celebrated operatic conductor, Oscar Warrender. She was ecstatic, but her joy was short-lived when she came face to face with the great man. Cold and forbidding, he proved to be a hard taskmaster. She felt her dreams can be coming true… but would she be tough enough to work under such and exacting taskmaster?

A quick glance shows that there’s more Rock Fiction in this series, so expect to hear more about it from me. I’m looking around for my socks, which just got knocked off. And entire 13-book series of Rock Fiction romances? Written and published before they were a Thing?

Ida Cook might be my new hero.

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If it weren’t for the mention of sopranos and tenors in here, I wouldn’t think this is Rock Fiction. Anyone read this one? I hear it’s been making the rounds in a big way.

SHE’S TAKING CHARGE

Prim, proper, and thrifty, Eve Dinwoody is all business when it comes to protecting her brother’s investment. But when she agrees to control the purse strings of London’s premier pleasure garden, Harte’s Folly, she finds herself butting heads with an infuriating scoundrel who can’t be controlled.

HE’S RUNNING THE SHOW

Bawdy and bold, Asa Makepeace doesn’t have time for a penny-pinching prude like Eve. As the garden’s larger-than-life owner, he’s already dealing with self-centered sopranos and temperamental tenors. He’s not about to let an aristocratic woman boss him around . . . no matter how enticing she is.

BUT LOVE CONQUERS ALL

In spite of her lack of theatrical experience—and her fiery clashes with Asa—Eve is determined to turn Harte’s Folly into a smashing success. But the harder she tries to manage the stubborn rake, the harder it is to ignore his seductive charm and raw magnetism. There’s no denying the smoldering fire between them—and trying to put it out would be the greatest folly of all.

The number one question is how much music plays into the story. Otherwise, this one’s got Susan’s name written all over it. In fact, when I asked, I was surprised when she said she hadn’t put it on hold at her library, but she went on about a backlog of review stuff and tried to get me to read some of it and I bugged out before that conversation went much further…

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I’ll tell ya, man, if this historical Rock Fiction keeps popping up on our radars, Susan’s going to take this place over again. But maybe not; I’m having fun with the fact that there’s new stuff to explore and check out. We may wind up in some big fights yet!

Here’s why:

Teresa Foscari, Europe’s most famous opera singer, comes to London to make a fresh start and find her long lost English family. Her peerless voice thrills everyone—except Maximilian Hawthorne, Viscount Allerton, the wealthy owner of a rival opera house. Notorious Teresa Foscari is none other than Tessa, the innocent girl who broke his youthful heart. Yet Max still wants her, like no other woman.

Amidst backstage intrigue and the sumptuous soirées of fashionable London, the couple’s rivalry explodes in bitter accusations and smashed china. Tessa must fight for her career—and resist her attraction to Max, the man she once loved and who now holds the power to destroy her.

Yeah, okay… it’s the loved forever trope. But c’mon! Does it not sound DELICIOUS???

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Better call Susan because this one’s a historical and it’s set against a music fest and it’s probably the same thing for her as handing her one of those pound-plus chocolate bars at Trader Joe’s. Check out what I mean:

After an exhausting Season, Bath’s first annual music festival offers Charity the perfect escape. Between her newly formed trio and her music-loving grandmother, Charity is free to play the pianoforte to her heart’s content. That is, until their insufferably rude, though undeniably handsome, neighbor tells her to keep the “infernal racket” to a minimum.

Hugh Danby, Baron Cadgwith, may think he’s put an end to the noise, but he has no idea what he’s begun. Though the waters of Bath provide relief from the suffering of his war injuries, he finds his new neighbor bothersome, vexing, and… inexplicably enchanting. Before long, Hugh suspects that even if his body heals, it’s his heart that might end up broken.

Oh, hell. Susan just took a look at a draft of this and texted me to guess what she just put on hold at her local library. Look out for her review before too long!

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I’m not the huge classical music fan that Jett is, but I’m a sucker for a historical novel. She probably knows more about Vivaldi and his music than I do, even though I’ve taken to listening to it on Spotify, thanks to this book.

This book is The Violinist of Venice, written by debut author Alyssa Palombo, and it’s the story of the fictional Adriana d’Amato, who shows up on Vivaldi’s doorstep with a need to play the violin. And a sack full of gold.

Vivaldi’s struck first by the gold and second by this woman’s talent. They make beautiful music together, and that’s not a euphemism, although that happens, too. I mean, we all know they’re going to wind up in bed together. That’s not a surprise.

The surprise is in Palombo’s writing, which brings not just the music to life, but the joy and the drive and the need to make it—and the pain when it’s denied.

This author is a maestro similar to Vivaldi himself, as she shows in the character of Senator Baldovino. Initially a creep, he turns out to be a bigger gift to Adriana than much of what Vivaldi himself gives our heroine. And Vivaldi gives Adriana much, unlocking things inside of her that she never would have dreamed possible without him. In turn, she inspires him to write greater and greater pieces of music. And yet, as a couple, they simply cannot be.

Still, there are happy endings, if bittersweet ones, for Adriana. And maybe here, things fall a bit short, as maybe Adriana’s life falls together a bit too neatly in the end. But as a reader, we’re willing to go along with it. After all, we have spent years with Adriana by the time the book ends. We’ve grown to love her. How can we not root for her?

Maybe people who know more about Vivaldi’s music will find fault with some of this book. Maybe people more versed in the Venice of the times will have accuracy issues. I don’t know. I don’t really care. Venice was a character in this book as much as Adriana and Vivaldi and everyone else, and Palombo brings it to life in the same masterful strokes that she uses for everything else.

This is one author to watch. And one book that all Rock Fiction lovers shouldn’t miss. Because Vivaldi may be a priest and not the sexy rocker who usually graces this site, but the music is maybe more alive here than in much of the more contemporary stuff that crosses our radars. And in the end, it’s about the music, not always the men and women who make it.

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This is kinda sorta historical fiction. It’s set long before I was born, so that makes it historical, right? 1948?

In the autumn of 1948, young millionaire Will Darcy comes to the sleepy, backwater town of Meryton, South Carolina to visit his best friend, Charles Bingley. When Darcy becomes enchanted by a local beauty with a heavenly voice, his business dealings with Longbourn Farms may close the door to his romantic hopes before they are given a chance to thrive.

Still healing from heartbreak, Elizabeth Bennet takes solace in her family, home, and the tight-knit community of Meryton. That foundation is shaken when Will Darcy makes a successful offer to buy the family farm. Blinded by hurt, will Elizabeth miss the chance to find in him the peace and comfort her heart truly needs?

Confronting the racial, economic, and social inequalities of the times, Longbourn’s Songbird is an imaginative romance inspired by Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice and told through the lens of postwar America, a story layered with betrayal and loss, love and letting go.

Maybe this isn’t Rock Fiction in the usual sense, but it’s got a music theme — or it claims to — and that alone lets it count. Besides, it’s different, and you guys ought to know I like different by now.

I’m just curious how important music is to the story. Anyone know?

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So I said I was looking for some different sort of Rock Fiction. And all the open tabs on my computer are starting to cooperate with me. I didn’t even have to bribe them.

This one’s a historical AND I don’t think it’s a series. Woot!

Ready? Here we go.

From stowaway…

After years of playing the local gin joint to pay off his father’s debts, talented musician Brock Ness has landed a radio gig in Chicago. Now he’s on the up-and-up, his next stop is securing the dame of his dreams, Ginger Nightingale…

…to Chicago celebrity!

If Brock is headed for fortune and fame, Ginger won’t be left behind! She may be the youngest of the Nightingale sisters, but she’s old enough to know what she wants. And Brock is right at the top of her wish list!

Daughters of the Roaring Twenties: their hair is short and their skirts are even shorter!

Susan pointed out that this is a Harlequin, so it’s a romance. But… but… it’s set in the 1920s! That’s a century ago! And we have local gin joints and radio gigs.

When was the last time you heard about radio gigs?

When was the last time you listened to the radio?

So here’s hoping this one doesn’t sacrifice this killer setting for the lurve. I want the setting. Bring it.