Have you ever read a book that makes your skin tingle from the very first page because you instantly connect with it and everything thereon is exactly what you seek in a love story? You latch onto every word, every scene, giddy with excitement because it awakens every hopelessly romantic bone in your body. This is not only a superbly written story, emotional, sensual, well-rounded, complete in every sense, but it kept me in a state of subtle exhilaration from beginning to end because I knew, I just KNEW this was my kind of love story. And it not only did not disappoint, it blew me away.
“I’d rather have a few stolen moments with you over a short time than to live a lifetime wondering what it would have been like had I said yes, but chose to walk away instead.”
Savannah has lived under her mother’s shadow all her life, always expecting people to see her as entitled rather than the uniquely talented flute player that she truly is. Never knowing whether her achievements were due to her own abilities or her mother’s interference, she has worked harder than most people of her age proving to the world that she can make it on her own as an elite musician.
Gregory is at the top of his game, being not only a world-renowned cello player, but also a highly revered instructor at the New England Conservatory. But his reputation as a grumpy and short-tempered man, who acts as someone much older than he is and who is devoted to one thing and one thing only – his music – precedes him in the industry, people worshipping him as much as loathing him. He has devoted his entire life to the pursuit of excellence and perfection, committing endless hours to his instrument and forfeiting all other aspects of his personal life. He has always seen romance as an unnecessary distraction unworthy of the time or dedication it would demand from him and take away from his music.
“I’m a musician first. My music will always come first.”
But everything changes for Gregory the moment he lays eyes on a young flute player during her Conservatory audition performance, her energy and unique talent stealing his breath away. Savannah’s passion while playing are his undoing, her skill only matched by her desire to break the rules and create new beauty from the musical pieces before her. While they do not run into each other again during her first few years at the Conservatory, Gregory never forgets her or the way her music made him feel. Nor does she forget the man she wanted to impress the most during her audition.
“Did I know even then? Did I know that I would become obsessed with her? That I would sometimes wake in the night and see her brown eyes, her waist, her lips on her flute as she formed magical, incredible music?”
When Savannah finally finds herself in a class taught by Gregory, they quickly lock horns at every turn, Gregory’s methodical and old-fashioned approach to music constantly colliding with Savannah’s more liberal and emotional way of perceiving her craft. But even with constant exasperating arguments in class, their chemistry draws them to each other, their attraction making them unable to think of little else but each other and the fantasy of them taking it a step further. Eventually, their pull becomes too strong and they succumb to the passion between them, two bright stars colliding and creating a supernova of emotions which they desperately try to hide from the world around them, but fail miserably.
“You’re in love with him, Savannah.”
“I know,” I whispered, covering my mouth to silence the clamor of my tears. I knew. I was in love with him. And it was a horrible mistake.
You might think at this point that this is just another version of an illicit affair between a student and her teacher, but I assure you, the relationship between the two main characters might have started under a curtain of forbiddenness and secrecy, but while those circumstances brought them together and initially kept them apart, Gregory and Savannah’s battle to be together has a lot more to do with them wanting different things and having different priorities at different stages in their lives, than with society pulling them apart. They complement one another but they are also total opposites, Savannah living through her music and Gregory living for his. Their love is unquestionable, painfully palpable in every scene they share, but they both need to travel separate journeys in order to find their way to each other.
“…in her, I saw me as I could have been. Living a life that sometimes went beyond the music. Caring about other people. Having friends, dating, and loving.”
The story culminates several times during the timeline it covers, each culmination point representing a pivotal moment in their relationship after which everything changes between them. Each one of these deeply emotional climaxes has the power of breaking us apart, their struggle not to be together even when being in each other’s arms is all they dream of, is heartbreaking, soul-shattering at times, making this a timeless tale of love, loss… and perhaps love found again.
“Watching him, I thought that whatever his protestations, inside there was tremendous passion and emotion. Locked away, hidden, only released through the contact of bow and string.”
Music is an integral entity in this story, connecting the characters, expressing their emotions, allowing them to communicate with each other when words fail them, the mood of each musical piece played by the characters reflecting the storyline as well. Each component perfectly fitting the plotline, this is so much more than just a beautifully written story – this is a book that will truly stay with me for a long time to come.
“You’re my heart, Savannah. Not in it. Not a part of it. I’m consumed by you. Obsessed by you. I need you in my life any way I can have you.”