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The Muse... Clara Becker is a supremely gifted composer--a talent of little to use to a woman in 1830s Europe. Her compositions only have worth when they are published under her brother's name, yet this deception barely enables them to scrape out a living in the poorest quarter of London. Meets the Master... Darien Reynard, the most celebrated musician in Europe, pursues suc The Muse... Clara Becker is a supremely gifted composer--a talent of little to use to a woman in 1830s Europe. Her compositions only have worth when they are published under her brother's name, yet this deception barely enables them to scrape out a living in the poorest quarter of London. Meets the Master... Darien Reynard, the most celebrated musician in Europe, pursues success with a single-minded intensity. When he comes across Becker's compositions, he knows that this music will secure his place in history. Darien tracks the composer down and, with some difficulty, convinces the man to tour with him. Mr. Becker agrees, but with the most unusual condition that he bring along his sister... Set against the glittering backdrop of 19th century celebrity, Sonata for a Scoundrel is the newest full-length historical romance novel from RITA-nominated author Anthea Lawson.


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The Muse... Clara Becker is a supremely gifted composer--a talent of little to use to a woman in 1830s Europe. Her compositions only have worth when they are published under her brother's name, yet this deception barely enables them to scrape out a living in the poorest quarter of London. Meets the Master... Darien Reynard, the most celebrated musician in Europe, pursues suc The Muse... Clara Becker is a supremely gifted composer--a talent of little to use to a woman in 1830s Europe. Her compositions only have worth when they are published under her brother's name, yet this deception barely enables them to scrape out a living in the poorest quarter of London. Meets the Master... Darien Reynard, the most celebrated musician in Europe, pursues success with a single-minded intensity. When he comes across Becker's compositions, he knows that this music will secure his place in history. Darien tracks the composer down and, with some difficulty, convinces the man to tour with him. Mr. Becker agrees, but with the most unusual condition that he bring along his sister... Set against the glittering backdrop of 19th century celebrity, Sonata for a Scoundrel is the newest full-length historical romance novel from RITA-nominated author Anthea Lawson.

30 review for Sonata for a Scoundrel

  1. 5 out of 5

    Addie H

    1.5 stars

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jacob Proffitt

    While I enjoyed the characters and Lawson does a great job conveying the importance of music and artistic merit I had two problems that finally had me put it down with no desire to continue. The first is that the story depends on Darius being more or less a rock star during the Regency era (it's 1830 so not technically regency, but it's also not Victorian and I have a hard time calling it Georgian). So he has importunate fans and money and is "on tour". And I found all of that disconcertingly mod While I enjoyed the characters and Lawson does a great job conveying the importance of music and artistic merit I had two problems that finally had me put it down with no desire to continue. The first is that the story depends on Darius being more or less a rock star during the Regency era (it's 1830 so not technically regency, but it's also not Victorian and I have a hard time calling it Georgian). So he has importunate fans and money and is "on tour". And I found all of that disconcertingly modern, frankly. I don't know if it could have happened, but I kind of doubt that a violinist would draw crowds that would have been financially remunerative to him in quite that way. And I didn't know it until I looked it up, but there were quite a few female composers at the time. We don't hear so much about them because women didn't compose for performance by symphonies, but it turns out quite a few composed pieces for smaller performances—exactly like Clara is supposed to have done in this story but been ashamed to own because publishers wouldn't buy them. So the broad strokes of the period details felt off, is what I'm saying. The second is that the relationship arc was predictable, but with the payout coming before the story was done. So Clara falls in love and Darius obviously has as well and they do the deed and there's still a quarter of the book left to go. Which means that there is a lot of stupid that has to happen to tear that down until you can get to the HEA later. The pieces are there. I guess that I want the HEA without the stupid. All of which elides over a lovely story that I was quite enjoying. I particularly liked Clara's love of music and her desire, even need, to compose and Darius finding such joy in her creations even if he doesn't yet know that they're hers. And I loved the inherent conflict imposed on Clara of having to hide behind her brother as her compositions wouldn't be taken seriously if it were known they were written by a woman (even if that might have been manufactured by the author for the story). The relationship dynamic drew me in and I was fully invested in them being together. I just wish Lawson had paced it so that they were actually together at the time their intimacy (physical and emotional) brought them there. A note about Steamy: I made it three-quarters through the book and I stopped in the middle of a sex scene. At a chapter break. So an explicit sex scene went multiple chapters (though I can't vouch for it being entire chapters). That was the second explicit scene, too, so I'm guessing this was headed for the high end of my tolerance. For a while, it almost seemed like this was headed for chaste territory, but once that dam breached, it flooded all over the place. So to speak...

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Koudelka

    I debated for longer than was most likely necessary on whether or not I should even log that I read this book. I'm still trying to work past the embarrassment of reading what can easily just turn into written porn. But I will never get better at learning how to review romance novels if I don't actual review what I read, even if the cover and title makes me want to cringe (I'm working on it. Baby steps.) Sonata for a Scoundrel's main hook is that the heroine of this romantic romp is a composer who I debated for longer than was most likely necessary on whether or not I should even log that I read this book. I'm still trying to work past the embarrassment of reading what can easily just turn into written porn. But I will never get better at learning how to review romance novels if I don't actual review what I read, even if the cover and title makes me want to cringe (I'm working on it. Baby steps.) Sonata for a Scoundrel's main hook is that the heroine of this romantic romp is a composer who has to hide her musical authorship behind her brother's name while they are traveling with the devilishly handsome violinist Darien Reynard, whom must not learn of her secret. I have a massive weakness for this kind of secret identity trope. I also really enjoy stories of women having to pretend to be a man in some way because of societal expectations of what women can and can't do. Unfortunately the lusting of the two main characters overshadowed any potential theme exploration and to make matters worse, I didn't find their developing relationship that compelling. The romantic feelings between Darien and Clara felt to be only on the surface level; their physical attraction to each other and their physical relationship was the driving force behind the book and did not delve too much deeper than that. Darien is extremely attractive and talented as a musician, Clara is attracted to him, they kiss in what I found to be very uncomfortable circumstances and after that one rapey kiss THE MAGIC IS KINDLED AND THEY WANT NOTHING MORE THAN EACH OTHER IN BED. I would have liked more explorations of each other's personalities through the music Clara was composing. Darien is performing everything she writes, albeit secretly and with her brother's name attached to it, and she in turn is writing music specifically out of her emotions and feelings towards Darien. We somewhat explore the idea of Darien figuring out Clara's secret through the music itself, but it's more her playing ability than the emotions written in the music. The sex scenes were alright out of context but I found the whole "OH TEH NOES I'M TAKING HER INNOCENCE :O" aspect of their joint seduction to be tiresome. Clara so yearns to be seen as an equal when it comes to her music, I don't understand why she was written to be so submissive in the bedroom. Lack of experience or no, she frequently went into bouts of meekness, allowing Darien complete and utter control of whatever he wants. Perhaps for some that is appealing but most definitely not for me. And her innocence was too unrealistic besides that. She has no idea what an orgasm even is and doesn't know that men can also feel pleasure?? Even in the historical context and her virgin state, I'm pretty certain every adult lady is aware of men's ability to become aroused and feel pleasure sexually. The non romantic plot was fairly interesting although also simplistic. Darien is challenged to a musical duel with his formal student Varga. Upon finding Nicholas Becker's music (in actuality Clara's music) he is certain that he has found the key to winning the duel and goes on tour with Nicholas, having him "compose" new pieces in preparation for their joint performance (Nicholas is actually quite a skilled pianist and can play the pieces Clara is writing for him). However, for societal reasons that are not fully explained other than "silly ladies, you can't do things, that's men's work!" Clara cannot allow the public to know she is the one composing the music, and must travel with Nicholas, having him pretend to be the true author. Nicholas has some form of depression and there is great concern that he will not be able to handle the stress of everything in time for the performance. Nicholas' depression or melancholy as it's referred to in the novel is alright as far as plot devices. It's not that well explored other than to say that he has this problem and will go into deep bouts of depression and lock himself away if stressed too much. I wish this also could have been explored a little more rather than just being a reason for Darien to discover that Clara is also a skilled musician (apparently it's fine for ladies to PLAY music, just not to write it. For… reasons….) We could have accomplished the same plot events without giving Nicholas this underdeveloped illness that turned him into a wilting flower, jealous and upset at every little thing. I know it sounds like I'm being overly harsh on this book when one glance at the cover should tell me to expect nothing more than flimsy plot and lots of sex scenes. But this book did have an interesting set up! I was on board for the duplicate nature of Darien not realizing the musician he's idolizing is actually the woman he is so attracted to. I love the whole musical angle to the entire book. Just because it's a romance novel doesn't mean it can't adequately develop secondary themes while also giving the amount of smut that is to be expected. Further exploring these themes would have humanized the characters more, allowing me to better believe Darien and Clara's romance but as it stands, they're attraction seems nothing expect lust being paraded under the guise of love.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Teddi

    usually my take on a book mirrors other reviews I see listed on goodreads. Not this one. this book had a very different style to it. I don't feel like I just read a book. I feel like the book just moved through me as music through a room. it was delightful. Others complain of lack of conversation between the mains. I disagree. whether he knew it or not, their music spoke to each other. Others gripe the h wasn't fiery enough. I see her more as an introvert and she did write that terribly difficul usually my take on a book mirrors other reviews I see listed on goodreads. Not this one. this book had a very different style to it. I don't feel like I just read a book. I feel like the book just moved through me as music through a room. it was delightful. Others complain of lack of conversation between the mains. I disagree. whether he knew it or not, their music spoke to each other. Others gripe the h wasn't fiery enough. I see her more as an introvert and she did write that terribly difficult piece as a set down. I liked her the way she was and I did feel two kindred spirits in a universe of music. Just lovely. Please excuse my typos as I type on my kindle and can't view how it turns out.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Olivia

    It was ok. I couldn't understand why the H/h were falling for each other, if they barely had any contact and conversations? I mean, I know they were traveling with her brother, but they always kept there distance. I believe they were in lust, but not in love.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Andree

    Continuing to read stuff in my e-library. Super into this. I mean, I have a serious soft spot for the romantics so this was probably always going to be a hit (and love that Clara's pieces are supposed to be Chopin-inspired, because off course they are ; I didn't realize it until I got to the historical notes, but it just makes sense, given how they're described). Also, I love Liszt randomly being in the Paris salon, apparently a few years out from garnering crowds of his own. The casual mentions Continuing to read stuff in my e-library. Super into this. I mean, I have a serious soft spot for the romantics so this was probably always going to be a hit (and love that Clara's pieces are supposed to be Chopin-inspired, because off course they are ; I didn't realize it until I got to the historical notes, but it just makes sense, given how they're described). Also, I love Liszt randomly being in the Paris salon, apparently a few years out from garnering crowds of his own. The casual mentions of Berlioz had me giggling, as did all the, "well, yes, it's Beethoven, of course it's brilliant," from the Becker siblings whenever they played it. Plus, we got to tour through Paris and London and Vienna, with a stop at the Brighton pavilion during it's heyday, which was fun. Also, I really enjoyed the Becker sibling dynamics. Although, going back to the historical notes, I knew about Fanny Mendelssohn, but not Clara Schumann, and her story makes me sad. I adore Schumann, and hearing the story is bittersweet. As for the romance itself, I really enjoy Clara and Darien. (view spoiler)[I like how his realization is done. Because of course he would realize she's the composer; he's a brilliant musician. (hide spoiler)] I like that they're not aristocrats; it explains a lot of their actions. I love how important music is to both of them. I also really enjoy how the dramatic resolution played out, and what drama the author chose to play. It was gearing up to have the potential to be a real gong show at the end, but she didn't go that route. There's drama, but it made sense, although the ending is probably more than a little idealized. By which I mean it's probably entirely idealized, but I was pleased by it, so I'm giving it a pass. And y'know, minus half a star because this has a ten-years-later-with-two-child-prodigies epilogue. (I'm only half kidding, but not entirely, because it felt unnecessary, and I was just complaining about those - have another conversation after the concert instead if you want more resolution.) Also, super pleased I apparently have another book by this author on my kobo. 2019 reading challenge - A novel based on a true story (okay, I'm seriously stretching this - but I think this easily stretches to "inspired by several true stories," SO)

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sharyn

    Music A unique story about a female composer who had to sell her works under her brother's name, as the Mendelson's did in their time. I enjoyed how Clara described what she heard as she transcribed it into.music. Reynard was also a character who embodied a musician whose abilities took him from poverty to acclaim. The book gave what I thought was a realistic view of what touring through Europe must have been like, a violinist treated like a rock star. The love story is also lovely and the sex qu Music A unique story about a female composer who had to sell her works under her brother's name, as the Mendelson's did in their time. I enjoyed how Clara described what she heard as she transcribed it into.music. Reynard was also a character who embodied a musician whose abilities took him from poverty to acclaim. The book gave what I thought was a realistic view of what touring through Europe must have been like, a violinist treated like a rock star. The love story is also lovely and the sex quite hot. In addition, the brother suffers from melancholia, which is also dealt with in a realistic manner.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Bonnie

    I enjoy historical romances, particularly when they sweep away the concerns of life, family, health and the 6 o'clock news. Sonata for a Scoundrel did all that. I loved the characters: Clara, the heroine, Darien the hero and the interesting, tortured brother accompanist. Lawson has recreated the world of music composition at a wonderful point in history and I applaud her. Brava!! I was truly swept up into the descriptions of the music played...the emotions were clear and beautifully described so I enjoy historical romances, particularly when they sweep away the concerns of life, family, health and the 6 o'clock news. Sonata for a Scoundrel did all that. I loved the characters: Clara, the heroine, Darien the hero and the interesting, tortured brother accompanist. Lawson has recreated the world of music composition at a wonderful point in history and I applaud her. Brava!! I was truly swept up into the descriptions of the music played...the emotions were clear and beautifully described so I could almost hear the music. If you need to spend a little time "away" from today, then I'd recommend Sonata for a Scoundrel. Enjoy!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Alice

    Bravissimo! What a romantic romance. The famous Maestro Violinist finds a new composer that he hopes will help him win a violin duel in La Scala. This composer has of course a beautiful sister, thus the romance. But there is a lot more than this. The entire spirit of the Franz Liszt, Frederic Chopin famous musical tours is recreated in this excellent story. Hints of Fannie Mendelssohn and Clara Schumann run throughout. These musicians and composers were the equivalent of the Beatles in popularity Bravissimo! What a romantic romance. The famous Maestro Violinist finds a new composer that he hopes will help him win a violin duel in La Scala. This composer has of course a beautiful sister, thus the romance. But there is a lot more than this. The entire spirit of the Franz Liszt, Frederic Chopin famous musical tours is recreated in this excellent story. Hints of Fannie Mendelssohn and Clara Schumann run throughout. These musicians and composers were the equivalent of the Beatles in popularity today. In addition the actual romantic relationship is described in a very sensuous, lavish and lush fashion. I could only describe it as velvet to the touch. Wow.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Dannica Zulestin

    It seems I'm on something of a historical romance kick lately, or maybe just a straight up historical fiction kick. Anyways. This book is about a woman (Clara) who composes but pretends her pieces were written by her brother (Nicholas), who then goes touring with her brother and a famous violinist (Darien) who also ends up falling in love with her. Fun stuff. I looooove a secret identity plot, I love an artistic main character (and I haven't read many composers before--possibly none, since none c It seems I'm on something of a historical romance kick lately, or maybe just a straight up historical fiction kick. Anyways. This book is about a woman (Clara) who composes but pretends her pieces were written by her brother (Nicholas), who then goes touring with her brother and a famous violinist (Darien) who also ends up falling in love with her. Fun stuff. I looooove a secret identity plot, I love an artistic main character (and I haven't read many composers before--possibly none, since none come to mind), and I loved the rags to riches aspect with our poor MC gaining fame on tour. I also really liked the Clara's relationship with her brother, who hates having to lie and claim her work as his own but tries his best for the tour in order to earn money for the family, despite being really stressed and depressed. In fact, Nicholas might be my favorite character. The boy is trying. I did not like Darien tho. His romance with Clara starts with him forcefully kissing her out of nowhere. Nicholas walks in on this and is infuriated, basically sees it as sexual assault and wants to quit the tour. IMO this was honestly the right reaction. Of course we the readers are supposed to know that Clara is attracted to Darien and therefore him forcefully kissing her as a point in an argument is fine, but.... I mean, it's really not fine, and Nicholas is right to be mad about it. Clara, of course, is more upset about Darien going hot and cold on her and ceasing his advances in order to avoid conflict with Nicholas. Bc this is a romance so of course Clara wouldn't be upset about Darien kissing her out of nowhere (right after she almost got sexually assaulted by someone else, by the way). Genre conventions, I suppose, but honestly fuck Darien. That and the fact that he (view spoiler)[casually reveals Clara's secret at the end of the book without her permission (hide spoiler)] kind of made me dislike him. Overall, though, I liked the book and may try the author again. The musical aspect, the sibling relationship, and the secret identity were all a lot of fun.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Adams

    I liked this book. Good story. Good characters. I especially enjoyed the descriptions of the music and the 2 main characters performing together. I will read more in the series

  12. 4 out of 5

    Eliza

    the MC's had ZERO chemistry. No buildup, no tension, no obsession. Just one day the H wakes up and suddenly wants to bone the h. Boring.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Amanda dalon

    3.5 very good read. May contain slight spoilers The Becker's are a musical family, both siblings play the piano very well. However not only is Clara Becker a gifted pianist but also a composer. The only problem is, is that she's a female. In this era it was uncommon and often frowned on for women to take on anything other than sewing, breeding, and shopping. The Becker family lives in poverty and only just makes it buy selling the music manuscripts under clara's brother Nicholas' name. Darien Reyn 3.5 very good read. May contain slight spoilers The Becker's are a musical family, both siblings play the piano very well. However not only is Clara Becker a gifted pianist but also a composer. The only problem is, is that she's a female. In this era it was uncommon and often frowned on for women to take on anything other than sewing, breeding, and shopping. The Becker family lives in poverty and only just makes it buy selling the music manuscripts under clara's brother Nicholas' name. Darien Reynard is a gifted violinist, known far and wide. Upon playing a new composition by 'nicholas becker's Darien was enthralled, he knew this was the edge he's been looking for. The Becker's receive an opportunity out of poverty when Darien shows up at their home offering for Nicholas to tour with him composing and he'll be compensated handsomely. Father Becker talks Darien to touring with both siblings (seeing as Nicholas isn't the composer shh). So they set off . . . Nicholas starts to feel the pressure and discomforts of lying and playing in large audiences. With Clara and Darien in such close quarters there is an attraction that just may spell ruin. I enjoyed this book very much. The pace was slow, then quick(back and forth) I wish the attraction would have lead to love in a different way. They both seemed to lusts after each other, and at a point they don't even try to fight it. They had sex...then they realized they loved each other after playing music together . . . Hmm. Ok either way it was enjoyable. 3.5 very good ...just missing something.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lilmissmolly

    Sonata for a Scoundrel by Anthea Lawson is a very unique historical romance set during the romantic era, which is loosely based on the life of Felix Mendelssohn’s sister, Fanny. The story centers on impoverished Clara Becker and her family. She is a brilliant and very talented composer whose family depends on the sale of her compositions for the food they put on their table. Because women were mere possessions back in 1830s England, her brother had to lend his name to her masterpieces to sell the Sonata for a Scoundrel by Anthea Lawson is a very unique historical romance set during the romantic era, which is loosely based on the life of Felix Mendelssohn’s sister, Fanny. The story centers on impoverished Clara Becker and her family. She is a brilliant and very talented composer whose family depends on the sale of her compositions for the food they put on their table. Because women were mere possessions back in 1830s England, her brother had to lend his name to her masterpieces to sell them to the publisher. By chance, one of her compositions lands in the hands of the much celebrated Master Violinist, Darien Reynard. Darien, energized by the melodies of the music, will not rest until he convinces the believed-to-be-composer to go on tour in Europe with him and continue writing such breathtaking music. It goes without saying that Clara ends up going on tour with Darien and her brother. Inevitably, sparks fly between Clara and Darien, which only fuels the creativity and sweet music between them. Hollis McCarthy did an excellent job narrating. Her narration flows naturally and was easy to listen to. She had different voices for all characters, male and female. She really contributed to my enjoyment of the book that I found myself sitting in my car in the garage so I could listen to just one more chapter. ☺

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sharyn

    I completely loved this book (I listened to the audio version). Clara Becker's family is very poor ever since all of their money went towards their dying mother's medical expenses. Now, the only thing they have to live on is Nicholas's very meager fees from teaching piano and the money they get from Clara's musical compositions. Clara's father insists that Clara put Nicholas's name on all the compositions because no one would believe or take seriously that a female penned the music. Suddenly the I completely loved this book (I listened to the audio version). Clara Becker's family is very poor ever since all of their money went towards their dying mother's medical expenses. Now, the only thing they have to live on is Nicholas's very meager fees from teaching piano and the money they get from Clara's musical compositions. Clara's father insists that Clara put Nicholas's name on all the compositions because no one would believe or take seriously that a female penned the music. Suddenly their entire lives change when the extremely famous violin maestro Darien Reynard visits them insisting that Nicholas join him on his upcoming tour as piano accompaniment and composer. What can they do? They counter that Darien needs to take Clara along as well, as a source of comfort and companionship for her brother. The story follows them on tour, detailing what it is like to be famous and always "on the road." The romance starts very slowly because Clara is not really around Darien that much since she is just supposed to be the sister, not a musician and composer. But as they keep traveling and road life starts to disagree with Nicholas, Darien and Clara spend more time together and he begins to feel a musical kinship with her that he cannot understand. I highly recommend this book, especially if you like music and steamy love scenes.

  16. 5 out of 5

    L.A. Miller

    What I love most about both Goodreads and Amazon is that they suggest books to you based on your reading habits. As a fellow author I am always searching for writers than can grasp my attention from the first page and hold it till the bitter end. This book was one and I found it unbelievably great! The story was well written, Ms. Lawson created not only a background the came to life but characters that jumped out of the pages. They were developed over the course of the book as she slowly peeled What I love most about both Goodreads and Amazon is that they suggest books to you based on your reading habits. As a fellow author I am always searching for writers than can grasp my attention from the first page and hold it till the bitter end. This book was one and I found it unbelievably great! The story was well written, Ms. Lawson created not only a background the came to life but characters that jumped out of the pages. They were developed over the course of the book as she slowly peeled away each layer. By the end of the book the characters were alive and breathing. It was a sad moment when I turned that final page to know that once again I would have to put them away on the shelf. The wonderful thing though about reading is that I can always go back to them again and again. For anyone who wants to read a touching love story by an author who is descriptive with her words than this is the book for you. I will definitely add her to my favorite authors and look forward to reading more of her work.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    Lovely writing that had me engrossed in the story from the 1st page. Clara Becker comes from a musical family & is a gifted musician & composer; unfortunately she is a woman & daren't publish her compositions (the scandal!) under her own name but under her brother's. When the family descends into poverty it is Clara's compositions that is the sole thing keeping them barely afloat. Darien Reynard is a celebrated violin virtuoso & when he comes across one of Nicholas Becker's (=Clara's) compositions Lovely writing that had me engrossed in the story from the 1st page. Clara Becker comes from a musical family & is a gifted musician & composer; unfortunately she is a woman & daren't publish her compositions (the scandal!) under her own name but under her brother's. When the family descends into poverty it is Clara's compositions that is the sole thing keeping them barely afloat. Darien Reynard is a celebrated violin virtuoso & when he comes across one of Nicholas Becker's (=Clara's) compositions, invites Nicholas to compose for & tour with him. Desperately needing the money that Dare offers, the Becker's agree only on condition that Clara goes along. The chemistry between Clara & Dare is immediate & quite explosive. If you like passionate scenes there are quite a few in this book! But they are well written & don't feel like they were thrown in for the sex alone. The description of the music is breathtaking. One of those books that I didn't want to put down once I got started.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Mikkie

    I really wanted to love this book. I loved the idea of it. I had also loved Kate Noble's Let It Be Me, which has some similar elements. I just ...couldn't. It was like a series of Things That Happened, written with big metaphors and flowery (but good) prose. But at the end of the day, I never felt like I really got to know either of the main characters. Do you know how you can take a cardboard wrapping paper roll and put it to your eye like a mock telescope? Imagine you've done that. Now point i I really wanted to love this book. I loved the idea of it. I had also loved Kate Noble's Let It Be Me, which has some similar elements. I just ...couldn't. It was like a series of Things That Happened, written with big metaphors and flowery (but good) prose. But at the end of the day, I never felt like I really got to know either of the main characters. Do you know how you can take a cardboard wrapping paper roll and put it to your eye like a mock telescope? Imagine you've done that. Now point it at two people. You can your see this focused, narrow tunnel vision of subjects, but they look far away. That's what this book is like. I just felt like I was looking at these lead characters from a distance, and I couldn't truly feel them.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Louise Marley

    The author herself gave me this book, and I'm impressed. It's a true romance, with plenty of steam to prove it, but it's also historical and--a surprise and pleasure for me--musical. I don't know Anthea Lawson's background, but she knows her music! She also writes beautifully, which makes this novel rise above its genre. The language she uses is as musical as the many accurate historical examples she employs. There is a strong feminist bent to the story as well, featuring a woman who had to pres The author herself gave me this book, and I'm impressed. It's a true romance, with plenty of steam to prove it, but it's also historical and--a surprise and pleasure for me--musical. I don't know Anthea Lawson's background, but she knows her music! She also writes beautifully, which makes this novel rise above its genre. The language she uses is as musical as the many accurate historical examples she employs. There is a strong feminist bent to the story as well, featuring a woman who had to present her compositions as her brother's because of the misogynism of the business at the time. If you enjoy historical romance, put this at the top of your list.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Cherie

    Great story, I loved the common thread of music and the competition added needed interest. I never found myself enamored with Darien, though. He was a typical self-centered artist and never shed that label. Clara was too self-sacrificing for my taste, for her brother, her father, and Darien. Her brother was a pathetic self-indulged character himself. Whine, whine, wine (typo intended). The father, too, was self-serving. Lots of "self" to go around. So, while I didn't dislike the book, I am glad Great story, I loved the common thread of music and the competition added needed interest. I never found myself enamored with Darien, though. He was a typical self-centered artist and never shed that label. Clara was too self-sacrificing for my taste, for her brother, her father, and Darien. Her brother was a pathetic self-indulged character himself. Whine, whine, wine (typo intended). The father, too, was self-serving. Lots of "self" to go around. So, while I didn't dislike the book, I am glad to be done. On a positive note, there were plenty of love scenes even if I am tired of having women beg "please". There was lots of lust but not enough romance for me.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    With no true darkness, the light does not blaze There was a lot to like in this book, but ultimately it proved a disappointment. Despite the heroine's penury and repression at the opening of the book, all the remaining struggle, doubt and fear turned out to be unnecessary. All possible evils that were hinted at simply never occurred. Sorry, but life is not like that, and so what could have been a deeply touching costly struggle to be true to oneself and what matters, turned into having everything With no true darkness, the light does not blaze There was a lot to like in this book, but ultimately it proved a disappointment. Despite the heroine's penury and repression at the opening of the book, all the remaining struggle, doubt and fear turned out to be unnecessary. All possible evils that were hinted at simply never occurred. Sorry, but life is not like that, and so what could have been a deeply touching costly struggle to be true to oneself and what matters, turned into having everything one wants easily fall into one's lap. This was especially disappointing, because the writing and characters were really good and the plot could have gone somewhere wonderful.

  22. 5 out of 5

    LeeAnna Lane

    :/Sonatas for a SCoundrel This book kept me turning the next page with anticipation. To wonder if Clara and Darien would come to terms with their love for each other. Would her brother pull out of his melancholy in order to help" Miestro Darien win the musical contest for the best violin player against Anton Vargas. Or was Vargas behind the disappearance of Clara's brother. The scenes between Darien and Clara were so intense you could feel the love growing between them. The love scenes make you fe :/Sonatas for a SCoundrel This book kept me turning the next page with anticipation. To wonder if Clara and Darien would come to terms with their love for each other. Would her brother pull out of his melancholy in order to help" Miestro Darien win the musical contest for the best violin player against Anton Vargas. Or was Vargas behind the disappearance of Clara's brother. The scenes between Darien and Clara were so intense you could feel the love growing between them. The love scenes make you feel as if you are there and involved in the action personally.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Samantha

    not my thing... Repetitive in the middle. I found myself wanting more of a plot and knowing the ending far too soon. The musical backdrop and travel had potential but I feel it wasn't fully realized. Could have done better as a novella and cut out most of the non value add sex chapters. Maybe elaborated other characters... or had more women in the story. Bechdel test failed... which is surprising in a romance novel.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Izzy

    I read this as part of a box set. I found myself pretty enthralled by the woman hiding behind a man to have her music published. Overall it was really fun read, but the love part was kind of rushed feeling. It seemed like out of no here Clara and Darien were suddenly in love. I will say I think it was a very unique historical romance for when it took place. Also the music parts were extremely interesting.

  25. 5 out of 5

    SuperWendy

    This was an OK read for me. I really wanted the heroine to have a little more fire in her belly. Her brother is more conflicted about their charade than she is, and that seemed topsy-turvy to me. Really enjoyed the musical back-drop though, and wished there were more "creative" characters in historical romance.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Aqilah

    Firstly I would like to say thank you to the author of the book, Anthea Lawson. This book is definitely not a quick read, but it is a brilliant historical novel. Darrien and Clara had a beautiful romance. The book was a little slow, but it was worth.it. All in all it was a beautiful historical novel.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sally Hannoush

    A woman writes music under a man's name and is urged to do so because of financial reasons. Under her brother's name they are invited to an engagement of the most famous maestro who catches the talent in the music and proposes a musical tour with him. This is where a new life and love began their story. Dreams can come true as the rags to riches love story had a Happy Ever After ending.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    Oh my gosh, this book was so well written, I stopped a few times to admire the language. The two main characters are musicians and I swear I could ear the music they were playing. Absolutely recommend, and I cannot wait to read more by this author!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Christy Christoffersen

    I could not put this book down until I had finished it. I love historical romance and I love classical music and this combined the two perfectly. It is well written and is a beautiful story. Thank you so much for this book and I'm looking forward to reading more!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Christine Woinich

    I really enjoyed this story. I could not put the book down. The description of the music (being played or being written) was fantastic. The scenes between Dare and Clara were great.

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