August 2010 Indie Next List
“Opera and medicine, two unlikely subjects that come together beautifully in this stunning and haunting novel. As unlikely as the subject seemed at first, I could not put the book down and had to ration my reading time so as to draw it out. Adrienne McDonnell's first work, based on a true story about an ancestor, is lush with promise, ripe with feeling and totally absorbing. And that was only the first chapter. Follow Erika, a woman gifted with a huge talent as she struggles to find her place in a society that demands she give up her operatic dreams to raise and nurture a family. One she can't have. Once Dr. Ravell takes it upon himself to help her, she finds herself with child and those dreams seem banished forever. But there's more to come. Cold Boston turns into steamy South America and then to the beauties of Florence. Will she find her way without losing herself?”
— Beth Bower, Watermark Books, Wichita, KS
"Some novels just naturally enslave you, and this is one of them...Serious and gripping...[a] brilliant debut novel." -"The Washington Post"
It is 1903, and Erika von Kessler has struggled for years to become pregnant. Resigned to childlessness, Erika-a talented opera singer and the wife of a prominent Bostonian-secretly plans to move to Italy to pursue her musical career. When the charismatic Doctor Ravell takes Erika on as a patient, he is mesmerized by her. Impetuously, he takes a shocking risk that could ruin them both.
Inspired by the author's family history, the novel moves from snowy Boston to the gilded balconies of Florence in a stunning tale of opera, longing, and the indomitable power of romantic obsession.