A Note Yet Unsung
About This Book
A master violinist trained in Vienna, Rebekah Carrington manages to wheedle her way into an audition with the maestro at the newly-formed Nashville Philharmonic. But women are “far too fragile and frail” for the rigors of an orchestra, and Rebekah’s hopes are swiftly dashed because the conductor—determined to leave his mark on the world of classical music—bows to public opinion. To make matters worse, Adelicia Acklen Cheatham, mistress of Belmont Mansion and Rebekah’s new employer, agrees with him.
Nationally acclaimed conductor Nathaniel Tate Whitcomb is Nashville’s new orchestra leader. And despite a reluctant muse—and a strange buzzing and recurring pain in his head—he must finish composing his symphony before the grand opening of the city’s new opera hall. But far more pressing, he must finish it for the one who first inspired his love of music—his father, who is dying. As Tate’s ailment worsens, he believes Rebekah can help him finish his symphony. But how do you win back a woman’s trust when you’ve robbed her of her dream?
As music moves us to tears yet makes our hearts soar, A Note Yet Unsung captures the splendor of classical music at a time when women’s hard-won strides in cultural issues changed not only world history, but the hearts of men.
Tamera Alexander once again proves why she is historical fiction royalty. I could not put this book down!
From the very first chapter, I was swept away to 1870s Nashville and the sumptuous world of the symphony and opera house. The historical detail is second-to-none as Alexander brings post-war Nashville to life, and readers of the previous two Belmont Mansion novels will relish the opportunity to revisit that grand story setting. But as much as I love history (and if you know me or have ever read one of my reviews, you know just how much I love my history!), it’s the characters who really made this story shine for me.
Even though I am a musician like the heroine, Rebekah, I believe I would have felt a kinship with her even if we didn’t have that in common. She was immediately likable, and her struggle to “make it in a man’s world” is one I think every woman reader can relate to. She believes in herself and her God-given talent, and is plucky enough to go after what she wants even while settling for what she needs in order to survive. Likewise, Tate was a flawed yet compelling hero. Trapped within the social confines of his day, he struggled just as much as Rebekah to channel his talent—and ultimately hers—in a direction that would honor both God and their family legacies. I especially loved how Alexander was able to channel Tate’s purported favorite composer, Ludwig van Beethoven, into Tate’s very character. Their mutual desperation and genius was one of my favorite parts of the whole book.
And these two characters combined to make one swoon-worthy romance! It’s often hard for an author to make two complete strangers fall in love within the course of 400 pages, but Alexander kept the pace steady and realistic. I found their attraction to one another very believable, and the layers they kept peeling back, revealing more and more of their true hearts to one another, made this a romance I could easily and happily root for. Rebekah and Tate also have wonderfully moving relationships with their families and friends, and I was sobbing on more than one touching occasion.
Now, lest this turn into a complete gush, there were a few things that kept this from being a 5-star book for me. Without spoiling the ending for those of you who haven’t read it, suffice it to say, I wanted and needed more from the ending. After the steadfast, consistent pace of the first 95% of the book, the final two chapters felt way too rushed for me, even as they left too many plot points unexplained. And I really felt there was a point-of-view missing from the final, climactic scene, so that the big “ta-da” moment the entire book had been building toward fell a little flat for me. There was also a subplot about a street urchin that I could’ve done without entirely, as it didn’t seem to add anything whatsoever to the story. And this is also totally nitpicky of me, but considering this is a story about a violinist and a symphony conductor, the title, A Note Yet Unsung, kinda rubs me the wrong way, as this story really isn’t about singing!
But on the whole, if you love historical romance with exquisite detail and a heart-pounding romance between two equally flawed yet driven characters, set in a lavish, real-life world, then you don’t want to pass up A Note Yet Unsung. It’s Tamera Alexander at her finest, and definitely one for any historical fiction lover’s keeper shelf.
Available January 31, 2017 from Bethany House Publishers