~ About the Book ~
Rose McNeil is rising the ranks at the Mozarteum in Salzburg as a violinist to watch. Her musical Nova Scotian heritage has loaned an unparalleled technique to her interpretation of some of the most beautiful compositions in the world. The opportunity of a first chair assignment to the Rainer Quartet under the baton of Oliver Thorne is a dream come true— until her visa expires and the threat of leaving Vienna looms. As much as she grieves the prospect of leaving Vienna and the quartet, it is Oliver—with his dry sense of humour and unexpected charm- she will miss most.
British ex-pat Oliver Thorne’s recent appointment as conductor to the Rainer Quartet make him the youngest in the role during its prestigious history. But it wasn’t the path he wanted. A tragic accident years ago forbade him from ever playing his beloved cello again. Now he spends his life teaching and guest conducting for premiere orchestras at the Musikverein. When he first hears Rose McNeil play, all the dreams he left by the wayside are reborn with her unexpected talent. When Rose learns she may have to leave Vienna, Oliver has to come up with a solution. Losing his first violinist is unfortunate, losing her is unimaginable.
So he comes up with a crazy idea: A marriage on paper only. She’ll take his name and his citizenship. They’ll split rent money and coin toss to decide who takes the bed or the the futon every night. They’ll keep their secret from the orchestra. She’ll play and he’ll conduct and, most importantly…she’ll stay.
Unbeknownst to each other, Rose is in love with Oliver and Oliver is in love with Rose. They might even find a happy ending, if only their pesky marriage doesn’t get in the way.
Genre: Contemporary Romance (Novella)
Release date: 30 September 2018
Publisher: Independently published
~ Excerpt ~
When Rose McNeil took the stage, the overhead lights haloed the blond braid crowning her head as she stepped to the center. Light blue eyes courted the spotlights well, her long fingers curved over the bow. She smiled out to the audience genuinely. He had been under a similar spotlight with limited view other than a blur of red chairs and shadowed figures several times before. The sting of the glare in your eyes, a congregation of shadows, a cavern catching the slightest cough or crinkle of candy wrapper.
He watched Rose McNeil lift the instrument and tuck it under her chin. She positioned the bow. A cough. The shift and shuffle of people falling into a repose of anticipating silence. Then, a full two bars of Bach’s Partita No 2. and the woman in front of him was unlike anything he had seen or heard before. On the third bar he wanted her for the Rainer Quartet and on the elusive, beautiful sixth bar, as she translated Bach’s age old notes with an inimitable artistry of her own, he tugged at his collar. Was the auditorium suddenly warm?
~ Review ~
I am in the very happiest of happy places. If you could see me right now, you would see a soft smile of contentment that lingers between gentle sighs that are half sweet memories of the story and half regret that the story is finished and I’ve been forced to return to reality. I didn’t know it, but this is the novella I have always wished someone would write: Vienna, music, romance, a marriage of convenience, and two characters who feel deeply and love deeply. *sigh* Can I just sit here and sigh happily and make that my review? *sigh*
Truly, this is a gorgeous novella. Vienna comes alive with all its history and romance—and the music! For a music-lover like myself, it was impossible not to pick out a few soundtracks to enhance the reading experience. But at the centre of it all are Rose and Oliver, who are now two of my favourite characters. Oliver, the quietly intense, Shostafreakinkovich-loving conductor working hard to be satisfied with second-best, and Rose, the bright breath of fresh air who captures Oliver from the third bar of Bach’s Partita No 2.
It was simply delicious to watch their friendship blossom, to feel the tension growing as their feelings deepened beyond their expectations and beyond what their circumstances allowed. I can’t believe I’m actually going to say this, but I was as one with Barry Manilow: “When will this strong yearning end?” Lol. But as corny as that sounds, this story was anything but. I was completely swept up and swept away. Sorry, I’m going to need to sigh again. *sigh*
Music, romance, Vienna, and the very capable pen of Rachel McMillan. What’s not to love?
I received a copy of this novel from the author. This has not influenced the content of my review, which is my honest and unbiased opinion.
If you’d like to know more about this book, make sure you check out my interview with Rachel McMillan.
~ Related Books ~
~ About the Author ~
Rachel McMillan is a keen history enthusiast and a lifelong bibliophile. When not writing or reading, she can most often be found drinking tea and watching British miniseries. Rachel lives in bustling Toronto, where she works in educational publishing and pursues her passion for art, literature, music, and theater.