Author: Kristen Wolf

Publisher: Pixeltry

ISBN: 978-0-9996103-0-5


With her most recent richly textured and emotionally absorbing novel, Escapement Kristen Wolf illustrates her awesome ability to impart a distinctive voice to each of her women characters leading readers to an understanding of the dilemmas and ambiguities of their respective relationships through their complex psychological, sexual and philosophical mazes. Along with intense characters, Wolf intertwines music as an important theme of the narrative, which is no small undertaking, particularly when you strive, as she has masterly done, to accurately convey the emotions music conjures and the powerful persistent impact it has pertaining to her characters' lives.

Wolf employs classical music not just simply as part of the background of the story but rather as an integral element of the storyline. She even mentions within the novel's back page a few classical composers and a sampling of their music that inspired her as Johannes Brahms, Frederick Chopin, Robert Schumann and Henrietta Worth. And if you are a music connoisseur, you may even recognize another theme, the hidden role of female composers in the evolution of classical music which is often underappreciated.

The biggest reason for nestling this book in your lap are the compelling challenges the various characters face involving secrets, romance, charades, deceptions, nuances of intimate and dangerous liaisons, as well as scandals that ensnare them in complex webs.

Set during the tumultuous Romantic era, Wolf brings to life several complex characters. We have the brilliant composer Cristopher Vaughn who hopelessly yearns for Clara Thorne (you may recognize her as being Clara Schumann), the wife of his dearest friend and his most ardent supporter. Then there is the mentally ill and tormented Richard Thorne, who is willing to sacrifice his genius in order to gain the love of his wife, Clara, who is “unavailable to husband and admirer alike and desirous only of achievement.”

Above all, we have the principal narrator, Henri Worth, a female dressed up as a male, who owes her life to Cristopher and is more than his housekeeper, but rather someone who composes music under the shadow of another and has an enormous influence on his employer's music compositions. He pines for Ava, who is “the vine that tangles” everyone in the plot. “The one who yearns for Henri-a housekeeper of little means. An impossibility trapped in disguise.” Henri, a truly unique character whose astute observations reveals much about herself as well as others and allures us to root for her and succeed in overcoming the many challenges and obstacles that are thrown her way.

And we must not forget about Jacque Bertrand, husband of Ava, who is a womanizer and who holds Cristopher's musical hopes in his clutches “casting himself as music's great benefactor who is a collector of grand pianos, a connoisseur of composers, and a confidant of famed performers.”

Wolf has crafted a novel with extraordinary sensitivity and no one will deny the pleasure of her seductive prose and the skill with which she unfolds the many-layered saga, which exacts quite an emotional toll on her readers. Moreover, anyone who responds emotionally to music, in whatever form, would get something from this book. How many people would this leave out? Not too many.

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