My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it
Despite her training as a master violinist, Rebekah Carrington was denied entry into the Nashville Philharmonic by young conductor Nathaniel Whitcomb, who bowed to public opinion. Now, with a reluctant muse and a recurring pain in his head, he needs her help to finish his symphony. But how can he win back her trust when he's robbed her of her dream?
There's a unique quality to Tamera Alexander's storytelling that stays with me after I finish her books. The narrative is not fast-paced, but the descriptions steadily develop the setting and characters until I feel immersed. The world of music and composing in the 1800's was fascinating and I loved the historical details that brought the story to life. Rebekah and Nate have an interesting dynamic, although I didn't quite feel the chemistry between them. They are both strong personalities that don't back down, so they had to find a good working balance as they collaborated on Nate's symphony. The secondary cast was quite varied, from Rebekah's estranged family, to her extraordinarily wealthy employer, to Nate's warm and loving mountain family. There is a real sense of Rebekah's frustration as she seeks to fulfill her dreams only to be held back by society's restrictions against her gender. It makes me more appreciative of the freedoms we enjoy today because of the determination of women who worked for change.
(I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)