London Wall Publishing|6 June 2019|560 pages|e-book via NetGalley|Review copy|2*
When Catriona Drouot, a young music therapist, honours an opera diva’s dying request to help her son, Umberto Monteverdi, recover his musical gift, she knows it will be a difficult assignment. She had shared a night of passion with the once-celebrated composer ten years before, with unexpected consequences. The extent of her challenge becomes apparent when she arrives at her client’s estate on the glittering shores of Lake Como. Robbed of his sight by a nearfatal car accident, the man is arrogant, embittered and resistant to her every effort to help him.
Still, Catriona sings a siren’s call within him that he cannot ignore. Caught up in the tempestuous intrigues at Umberto’s Palladian mansion, Catriona discovers that her attraction to the blind musician is as powerful as ever. How can she share what she has hidden from him for the past decade? Soon she realises that hers is not the only secret that is rippling uneasily below the surface. Dark forces haunt the sightless composer, threatening his life – for the second time. Concerto is a sensual and romantic story of lost love and forgiveness, destiny and difficult choices, and of a heroine determined to put things right at last.
Having seen other reviews of Concerto, I am definitely in the minority in rating this book with 2 stars. I requested it after I read the description on NetGalley as I thought I would like it, but what the description didn’t tell me is that it is full of descriptions of everything – what the characters look like, what they are wearing each time they appear, and their emotions, plus pages and pages describing the locations, the buildings, the rooms, the scenery, the weather and so on. In addition it is not just plain description – in most instances it is accompanied by at least four adjectives and in the most fulsome and vivid terms. I like description but this is just too much.
The plot is a simple one, but it is padded out with stories and myths about so many people and places that, whilst these are interesting, they add next to nothing to the story They just slow the action down to practically zero. But the sad thing is that the plot is too simple, unconvincing and it is so easy to predict what will happen. It is full of cliches and the characters are for the most part stereotypes – particularly Umberto. It is a book full of angst, sensuality and passion, but the over-writing and repetition just killed it for me.
I was thinking of giving the book just 1 star but I thought the explanation of how music therapy works was interesting and I did like the descriptions of the Italian landscape to a certain extent. But, if like so many others, you love long, slow books, full of romance and passion with lovers being swept off their feet in the splendour of music, emotion and sensuality then you’ll probably enjoy it much more than I did.