Book Review, Historical

Book Review – The Lost Melody

The Lost Melody

by Joanna Davidson Politano

When concert pianist Vivienne Mourdant’s father dies, he leaves to her the care of an adult ward she knew nothing about. The woman is supposedly a patient at Hurstwell Asylum. The woman’s portrait is shockingly familiar to Vivienne, so when the asylum claims she was never a patient there, Vivienne is compelled to discover what happened to the figure she remembers from childhood dreams.

The longer she lingers in the deep shadows and forgotten towers at Hurstwell, the fuzzier the line between sanity and madness becomes. She hears music no one else does, receives strange missives with rose petals between the pages, and untangles far more than is safe for her to know. But can she uncover the truth about the mysterious woman she seeks? And is there anyone at Hurstwell she can trust with her suspicions?

Fan-favorite Joanna Davidson Politano casts a delightful spell with this lyrical look into the nature of women’s independence and artistic expression during the Victorian era–and now.

What a tragically beautiful story.
Showing Gods handiwork in the darkest places.
Joanna Politano remains one of my favorite-of-all-time-authors.
Each and every time I read one of her books, I’m left sitting in wonder and amazement.
I wish I could write a review that one do justice to this book, but I don’t think it possible.

This story is a difficult read, but it is oh-so-beautiful. Probably the most difficult thing for me is the fact that a lot of the story happens in an asylum. I have a love-hate relationship with stories having asylums for settings. I am fascinated. And yet…horrified.

This book shows how easily the lines between sanity and insanity can be crossed, and any of us might be considered as mad. Or even be almost convinced of it ourselves.
Vivienne is a lovely character. But…I wasn’t quite sure I liked her at the beginning. I found her a bit self-centered and self-absorbed. As she grew into her life at the asylum, she went from looking down on the residents to seeing their possibilities.

The story has chapters filled with darkness. What completely redeemed it for me is that there are also absolutely lovely little bits of light woven throughout. And, just when you think things will never get better…light bursts through the cracks and paints everything in a beautiful glow.

Ms. Politano again begins each chapter with a quote. This is something that I absolutely love about her books. I will give you a few of my favorites
“Beauty still exists, even in the midst of playing wrong notes. Finding it, taking notice of it, might be your saving grace. Or it might be the point of the disruption all along.”
“God sends you somewhere that makes no sense, because He alone knows what you will find.”

These pages had me captivated, kept me hooked in the story, from the first chapter, all the way to the end. I highly recommend this for anyone who enjoys a historical fiction with hints of mystery and romance woven in.
I would like to offer a trigger warning. There is much talk of the asylum patients, and this book doesn’t mince words with what took place there. This is a dark, difficult topic, and not easy to read. Ms. Politano does not leave us as readers there in that darkness, but shows what God can do in spite of, or maybe because of it.

Disclaimer: I receive complimentary books from various sources, including, publishers, publicists, authors, and/or NetGalley. I am not required to write a positive review, and have not received any compensation. The opinions shared here are my own entirely. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

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