Published By: Anchor
Released On: 01/02/2022
Ray McMillian loves playing the violin more than anything, and nothing will stop him from pursuing his dream of being a professional musician. Not his mother, who thinks he should get a real job, not the fact that he can’t afford a high-caliber violin, not the racism inherent in the classical music world. And when he makes the startling discovery that his great-grandfather’s fiddle is actually a priceless Stradivarius, his star begins to rise. Then with the international Tchaikovsky Competition – the Olympics of classical music – fast approaching, his prized family heirloom is stolen. Ray is determined to get it back. But not his family and the descendants of the man who once enslaved Ray’s great-grandfather are each claiming that the violin belongs to them. With the odds stacked against him and the pressure mounting, will Ray ever see his beloved violin again?
Thanks to Anchor for the advanced copy of this title in return for an honest review.
I started to learn the violin when I was about 8-9 years old, and as much as I loved it, I stopped because – and this is going to sound so lazy – I couldn’t be bothered to keep taking it to and from school. I wish I’d carried on because, whilst I wasn’t fantastic at it, I did love playing it. And now whenever I hear people playing it on the telly or on the radio, I always imagine me doing it – albeit not as well.
I read this so quickly, I just couldn’t put it down. Before I knew it, I was over half way through; it was just so gripping.
Brendan is so sensitive, but not afraid to touch on the racism Ray experiences in this book. It still horrifies me that anyone can make assumptions of a person just because of their skin colour, and I know this is a fictional story, but it really made me angry at times. There such a realism under the story that made me so invested. Ray is such a likeable character that you will him on every step of the way, and celebrate all his successes.
The story is gripping, the plot emotional, and the characters became my friends. It’s full of twists and turns and you can never confidently pinpoint who took the violin. You can tell this world of classical music means a lot to Brendan, and his passion is sewn seamlessly through each sentence.
This wasn’t necessarily a book I would have gravitated towards, but I’m glad I did. It was such a well written story that I’m sad to have finished it. There’s a lot of heart to this book, and I think Brendan puts its perfectly in his author’s note:
“Alone, we are a solitary violin, a lonely flute, a trumpet singing in the dark. Together, we are a symphony.”