Sarah Weston has spent her life studying Beethoven. So naturally her dream job would be cataloging his manuscripts. Well that dream is about to come true.
She has just received word that her mentor and master’s supervisor committed suicide in Prague.
He was working at Prague Castle on some Beethoven manuscripts for the newly developed Lobkowicz Palace Museum.
The Lobkowicz family contacts Sarah to take up where her professor left off. A paid summer at Prague Castle handling Beethoven’s letters? SOLD!
Sarah departs for Prague immediately, and almost as soon as she lands, strange things start to happen. First she hears strange rumors about her mentor being addicted to drugs and acting erratically before he committed suicide….if he really committed suicide at all.
Sarah knows he would never do drugs nor would he commit suicide….that only leaves one option, someone killed him.Then at dinner while hooking up with a stranger, someone planted an ancient artifact in her bedroom claiming she stole it.
It’s clear she has come to a dangerous place. The museums benefactor and heir, Prince Max, seems to have details about what her professor was working on but he too is acting very strange. Sarah aims to find out what happened in Prague whether it kills her or not!
OK so let’s get some of the criticism out of the way first…..I found this book in the fantasy section of the book store. I also see it marketed as a ‘para-romance’ from time to time. Yes it has fantasy-ish qualities (parallel universe or ‘time travel’, immortal dwarfs etc) but I don’t think those are enough to put it in the fantasy section. I would say maybe general fiction or magical realism….in my opinion anyway.
Some people say the sex was over done….I wouldn’t say it was over done or that it was unnecessary but maybe it could have been more subtle. I felt like it was thrown in as an awkward distraction to add romance and lust to the story. I think it was very appropriate at times to add an element of lust to the relationship between Prince Max and Sarah but I didn’t feel like sex equaled love.
When Max said ‘because I love you’ I found myself wondering at what point was there feelings involved? Same with Sarah….she seemed like she suddenly found herself ‘in love’ with Prince Max but there was nothing that happened between them really besides sex. So that bothered me a little bit.
There were a few loose ends that I think get wrapped up in the second book. I read the second book last year before I read this one and was lost in book II, but this book helped fill in some missing blanks for me though I think I need to re-read the second book so I can fully appreciate the story!
Though this book lacked some elements and gaps, it was still a great read! I am traveling to Prague in the spring and was thrilled to read something set in the romantic city! I would have read it for the scenery and setting alone!
The setting worked well with this book….so many novels are set in Paris or London while this book was set in a place that not many people are familiar with. Prague has an air of mystery and magic about it that added a lot to the plot.
It was a fast paced and the magical or ‘fantasy’ elements made me feel like I was reading about a magical place with a dark secret. I read this book very fast because I liked the mystery and the characters were charming enough….not overly swoon-worthy but enjoyable.
It was a good debut novel and I am glad that I read this though I am disappointed that I read this after reading the second book, I would much rather have read this one and then book two. Luckily I have the second book to re-read!
Paperback, 448 pagesPublished November 27th 2012 by Penguin Books
- Review copy provided by: Personal collection
This book counts toward: NA
- Hosted by: NA
- Books for Challenge Completed: NA
Recommendation: 4 out of 5
Genre: Romance, para-romance, fantasy, magical realism, time travel, gen lit
Memorable lines/quotes: NA