Saturday, December 1, 2012

The First Violin by Jessie Fothergill

When I decided to partake of a Victorian reading challenge, I decided not to read the same old stuff that everyone else was reading. I was looking towards the more obscure novels, particularly ones written by women authors whose names have been forgotten through history.

I first came across this book on Girlebooks. I liked the sound of it, and promptly downloaded and put it on my nook. It was a bit different than the average Victorian drama: set in Germany, with the heroine involved in the music scene.

The usual obstacles and secrets keeping the hero and heroine apart were there, but in a different setting. Our heroine, May, comes to Germany as a companion to an older, recluse lady. Once there, she starts singing lessons. May stays in Germany, when the lady decides to head back to England, and continues her musical pursuits. I loved reading about a young woman living on her own in 19th Germany perusing her passions. How unique!

The story is told from two perspectives: May, and Helfen, the roommate of the the suffering Eugen, who is the object of May's affections. Through Helfen's view, we can just about guess that Eugen is hiding something. What kind of Victorian hero would he be if he wasn't?

There's lots of German words, and much musical talk, which makes this story unique. It also has a dastardly bad guy, secrets (like I said) and melodrama, which makes it like the average Victorian story.

I enjoyed it. I liked the German setting; it was something different. And anything with a music storyline always grabs my attention. Very recommended – this book needs more love!