A Note Yet Unsung by Tamera Alexander
Published By Bethany House Publishers January 31, 2017
Genres: Historical, Romance, Christian
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
A master violinist trained in Vienna, Rebekah Carrington manages to wheedle her way into an audition with the new maestro at the Nashville Philharmonic. But women are “far too fragile and frail” for the rigors of an orchestra, and Rebekah’s hopes are swiftly dashed when the conductor–determined to leave his mark on the world of classical music–bows to public opinion. To make matters worse, Adelicia Cheatham, mistress of Belmont Mansion and Rebekah’s new employer, agrees with him.
Nationally acclaimed conductor Nathaniel Tate Whitcomb is Nashville’s youngest 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 symphony hall. Even more pressing, he must finish it for the one who first inspired his love of music–his dying father. As Tate’s ailment worsens, he knows Rebekah can help him finish his symphony. But how can he win back her trust when he’s 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’s final story in the Belmont Mansion Series brings the world of classical music and composing to readers to share the beauty and pain that often goes into creating a true “Masterpiece”.
Tamera Alexander is an author that often brings stories of the Victorian era into delightful light that both entertains and challenges her readers. Not content with simply sharing a “good” or “wonderful” story, Ms. Alexander invites her readers to examine the situations and problems that face her characters and, as in my own case, challenge oft-held assumptions or beliefs. The Belmont series is one that I had come across last year and enjoyed the first in the series but had not be able to continue with until being offered this book for review. I have loved Ms. Alexander’s style of writing and depth of characters in other stories she has written and was intrigued to see how she would navigate the world of classical music. Like a number of children growing up, I took piano lessons and although playing never became a passion for me, I do love to listen to those who have true talent with this and other instruments. As is often said “Music brings people together in a way that ignores all lines of race, gender, belief or creed”, and Ms. Alexander will show this truth most clearly in her excellent story. Her main female character, Rebekah Carrington is a woman that everyone can relate to in some way. She is possessed of great skill in playing not only the piano, but the violin and oboe as well – a skill that is not valued as it should be for the simple fact that she is a woman. Long held societal beliefs when it comes to the acceptable roles that proper women can hold has kept her passion and talent from being heard by the world and she is determined to break that mold, for herself and those who will come after her. But to do that she will have to convince Maestro Whitcomb that she should be allowed to join the Nashville Philharmonic Orchestra. But the Maestro is dependent on the opinions of his supporters for his livelihood and is unwilling to allow Rebekah to join the orchestra, in spite of being most impressed with her talent. When the opportunity presents itself for Rebekah to work as Maestro Whitcomb’s assistant to help him complete his symphony, she will take the job -albeit reluctantly – hoping to prove to him she has what it takes to be acknowledged in “men only” world of classical music. Maestro Nathaniel “Tate” Whitcomb possesses great talent for a man so young – he is not yet 35. He has spent many months composing his own symphony but upon being plagued by crippling headaches and ringing ears he has become blocked in finishing the work that he believes God made him to do. Tate is afraid of what these headaches will mean for his future in music but is determined to complete his symphony – even if he has to beg Rebekah to work with him. Together Tate and Rebekah will create a piece of music unlike any that has been heard in the world of classical music – a symphony that will appeal to everyone, no matter their standing in society. Ms. Alexander will use Tate and Rebekah to break societal norms in several ways that I applaud, from showing that a person’s background does NOT define their talent or future, to showing that a person’s gender should not decide their inclusion or exclusion in an opportunity when they show incredible talent and passion for the task. And it will be the the fleshing out of these breaks that make Ms. Alexander’s book one of my all-time favorites. The grace and acceptance that she has Rebekah maintain throughout the story, while still feeling anger and disappointment, made me think back and question my reactions to disappointments I’ve experienced. And Rebekan’s steadfast faith that God would bring beauty from the ashes of her relationship with her mother and stepfather was thought provoking to say the least. I questioned whether I would have had the humility to accept what God gives or allows and use it to fuel the passions and gifts He also gave me. Tate, likewise found his faith challenged when he received the news of his impending deafness – why would God give him such talents if he will soon be unable to use them? And how will he be able to honor his family heritage of music if he is unable to finish the symphony he is writing to applaud his father’s legacy. Humility and grace were the two main themes I saw woven throughout this incredible story and know that I have learned much through what Ms. Alexander has written. And to be reminded again that a person’s acceptance by others should not be determined by where they are from or their level of education was an excellent way for Ms. Alexander to bring all of the characters in her story together at the end. She chose a wonderful topic to close her series and I will most certainly be adding a copy of this story to my own shelves. I will also pass it along to my friends and family highly recommended, and look forward to her next works with anticipation.
I received this e-book free of charge from Bethany House Publishers via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. I will receive no fiscal compensation from either company for this review.