Anna Reid accepts a position as a housekeeper at an estate in Cape Cod only to show up and realize the job is much more than she’d bargained for. Instead of simply managing the house at Yardley Manor, she’s also tasked with managing the day-to-day affairs of the reclusive former musician, Graham Yardley. Anna doesn’t know what to make of the cold, aristocratic woman at first, but slowly they settle into a rhythm, getting to know each other little by little. Their peaceful existence is disturbed, however, when a ghost of Graham’s past comes back to visit Yardley.
I know Graham gets a lot of love from other readers because she’s all brooding and hunky, totally the beast that gets tamed by the love of a girl next door. And even though I enjoyed Graham’s journey to trusting Anna, I’m actually on team Anna, all the way. I feel like Anna’s arc is much more interesting because she’s finding her way after ending a marriage, and that way just happens to be into the arms of that brooding, hunky woman! She’s warm, genuine, and exactly the kind of person I’d want to have as a best friend. Graham, her mega talent, and obsessive ways when it comes to music and women are fun to read about, but she’s not really the kind of person I could see myself hanging out with (although to be fair, I doubt she’d have much of time for me either).
The Writing Style
The way Love’s Melody Lost is written makes it feel like it’s of another era, and I don’t just mean 20 years ago when it was written. In a lot of ways it reminds me of Jane Eyre, actually. Graham is like Mr. Rochester after the fire and Anna is like Jane, convincing her partner of her ardent and true love. They’re on an estate with other staff, big old gardens (which are just as unkempt as their mistress at first), dramatic scenes by the sea. Even the dialogue feels like it’s of another time. It all works very well.
Paige McKinney was a perfect choice to narrate this book. Her voice was a great match for the overall dramatic tone, and she had me hooked from word one.
If you love a really angsty romance that’s done well, you’ll want to pick up this book. The character development is excellent and the romance is great.
First of all, this book desperately needs to have its cover redesigned. Bold Strokes is putting out excellent covers these days, so older ones like this just don’t hold up at all.
Secondly, I think there are some issues around the fact that Graham is blind and how that’s handled. It’s a big part of why she’s a recluse (or possibly is even entirely why). I suspect she did her fair share of brooding before the incident that led to her becoming blind, which is part of why I compare her to Mr. Rochester. As someone who has never been blind, I can’t speak to the experience at all, but I wouldn’t point to this book first if someone were looking for positive blind representation in fiction.
Love’s Melody Lost is a classic lesfic angst fest. The romance is beautifully done and the characters have excellent arcs, making it a satisfying read. It’s not quite like any of Radclyffe’s other books, with its different, dramatic tone of a different time. This would be a great choice when you want to sink into a book for a weekend and just get away from the world.
Excerpt from Love’s Melody Lost by Radclyffe
Anna pulled a small footstool in front of one of the large chairs in the central seating area. She extended her legs toward the warmth of the fire and leaned back, watching the crackling flames, wondering if she wouldn’t soon be headed back to Boston. She was nearly asleep when a deep voice behind her startled her from her reverie.
Anna turned, stifling a gasp of surprise as she found herself face to face with the figure in the portrait. Standing before her was one of the most striking women Anna had ever seen. Her portrait, however arresting, had not done her justice. She was quite tall, with thick black hair brushed back from an exquisitely sculpted face. Her eyes, perhaps her most compelling feature, were nearly black, as the artist had depicted, and contrasted sharply with her pale, luminescent complexion. The oils however had not conveyed the intensity of her gaze, nor the glacial severity of her bearing. Anna tried not to flinch at the scar which marred the handsome face, running from just below her hairline across the broad forehead to one elegantly arched brow.
Anna stared, completely at a loss as the woman approached. The dark-haired woman leaned slightly on an ornate walking stick, and, despite a slight limp, was imposing in finely tailored black trousers and an open-collared white silk shirt. A gold ring with some sort of crest adorned the long fingered hand that she held out to Anna.
“I am Graham Yardley,” the woman stated simply. It was delivered in a tone that left no doubt as to who was the master of Yardley Manor.
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Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9781933110004
- Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
- Audiobook Publisher: Bold Strokes Books Inc
- Narrator: Paige McKinney
Note: I received a free review copy of Love’s Melody Lost by Radclyffe. No money was exchanged for this review. I will always review books as honestly as possible and on occasion I refuse to review books.
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