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Monday, January 3, 2011

Abendlied - The Madrigals by Jennifer Linforth

Abendlied - The Madrigals by Jennifer Linforth
Publisher: Highland Press Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Historical, Inspirational
Length: Full Length (286 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4.5 books
Reviewed by Orchid

Madrigal Continues . . .

Desiring normalcy is difficult enough with a price on his head, but when Erik is falsely accused of killing Philippe de Chagny, brother of his nemesis Raoul, he is launched toward madness. Anna is an unlikely companion, sharing Erik's heart and the bounty on his head.

As the manhunt heats, Erik's mysterious relationship with Philippe spurs the campaign against them forward and exposes her darkest secret: defending her honor ended in murder. Plagued by his past as The Phantom of the Opera, Erik's memories enslave his heart to Raoul's wife Christine, whose shocking confession brings a ruthless bounty hunter into the fray and blackmail to the Chagny bloodline.

Blackmail from a hunter who cares little about the Phantom or Philippe and everything about the one he has lusted for: Anna. With the past weeping like an open wound, can love endure or will it take memories of one unlikely man to heal them all?

Memories of Philippe Georges Marie, Comte de Chagny . . .

Ever wondered what happened after Phantom of the Opera finished? Ms. Linforth continues the tale with extreme care and dedication to the original story.

Erik, the Phantom, has put Christine into his past. Anna is his true love, but he is so introverted and distrustful of others he fails to show his beloved she is the one for him. He gradually reveals his true self to her, especially after they join up with Pappy, an old soldier who treats Anna like a daughter. Accused of murder and chased from one place to another by Raoul, Comte de Chagny, Anna is afraid to tell Erik she is also a murderer and Raoul's hunter is after her, not Erik.

Meanwhile Christine, married to Raoul and mother of his son, yearns for the Phantom despite her love for her husband. Raoul is convinced Erik murdered his brother and will not give up until the Phantom is caught and executed.

This book is a deep and meaningful novel, not to be opened for a light afternoon's read. I found it impossible to read more than half a dozen chapters at a time. More than this would have been too much in one sitting. Nevertheless I kept being drawn back to carry on reading after a suitable interval. The writing is superb, well crafted but the contents of the story are dark and more of a literary novel than a romance.

At the beginning I wondered about the references to events after the phantom left the opera house. I had read a third of the book before I realised this was the second in a series. I would suggest a brief synopsis of the first book at the beginning would overcome the confusion of wondering who and what the characters refer to. Also the four points of view cause more confusion, as you don't know who they are unless you have read Madrigal This applies in particular to the character Anna.

This said Abendlied is a compelling novel in the classical sense. The author is obviously well versed in music as Erik's inner thoughts show. I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to those who like deep, dark and meaningful stories.

Abendlied is a wonderful read but to fully enjoy the story, time must to be taken to taste the full flavour of the author's wonderful mastery of words.