Thursday, June 09, 2016

Review: Secrets of a Soprano


Miranda Neville

Secrets of a Soprano

Miranda Neville
Miranda Neville, April 2016

About the Book

No one knows the perils of celebrity better than Teresa Foscari, Europe’s most famous opera singer. The public knows her as a glamorous and tempestuous diva, mistress to emperors, a reputation created by the newspapers and the ruthless man who exploited her. Now she has come to London to make a fresh start and find her long lost English family.

Foscari’s peerless voice thrills all London—except Maximilian Hawthorne, Viscount Allerton, the wealthy patron of opera—and lover of singers. Notorious Teresa Foscari is none other than Tessa, the innocent girl who broke his youthful heart. When his glittering new opera house sits half empty, thanks to the soprano filling the seats of his competitor’s theater, Max vows to stop the woman he unwillingly still desires.

Amidst backstage intrigue and the sumptuous soirĂ©es of fashionable London, the couple’s rivalry explodes in bitter accusations and smashed china. With her reputation in ruins, Tessa must fight for her career—and resist her burning attraction to the man who wishes to destroy her.

My Review

“La Davina”, opera singer Teresa Foscari, comes to London to perform in the opera house and take a closer look into her English family tree. Teresa has quite a reputation for scandalous liaisons with the wealthy and powerful and a penchant for breaking china.

Very few know, however, that the gossip is all untrue (all manufactured for public intrigue by her late husband) and that the most famous of opera singers is, in fact, nearly broke. To make matters worse, Lord Allerton, the man who broke Teresa’s heart years ago, now runs a rival opera house and wants nothing to do with the young woman he once knew. Teresa can’t avoid Allerton, a major player in the opera and social circles, and he is hell bent on thwarting her, never knowing that all her alleged liaisons are false and the diamonds she wears are fakes.

I confess that I am not an enthusiastic fan of the straight romance genre, as it has too little plot for me, and I think this book falls into that category. The opera details and the characters are well drawn, but the plot twists will be surprises to no one who has read a romance novel before. That being said, Ms. Neville does a great job at highlighting secondary characters for flavor: Max’s wily mother, Tessa’s cousin, etc. But no one will miss the time honored romance plot line of misunderstandings, conflict, torrid reunion, another misunderstanding, declaration, and reconciliation.

I would probably fall more into the historical romance category where the emphasis is on plot and romance is more of a flavor, but if you want a solid romance novel to get you ready for summer, this is a good choice.

Rebecca Henderson Palmer