Encore by Shira Anthony ~ Book Review by Feliz

The “Blue Notes” Series novels are standalone stories, and can be read in any order. However, the chronological order of the series is:

1) Encore
2) Prelude
3) Blue Notes
4) Aria
5) The Melody Thief
6) Symphony in Blue
7) Dissonance

Order of publication is:

1) Blue Notes
2) The Melody Thief
3) Aria
4) Prelude
5) Encore
6) Symphony in Blue
7) Dissonance

encore_anthony Title: Encore

Author: Shira Anthony

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Catt Ford

Rating: 4.00 of 5 Stars

Blurb:

A Blue Notes Novel

Cool kid violinist Roger Nelson doesn’t give a damn about anything. Wannabe conductor John Fuchs is awkward, effeminate, and just figuring out he’s gay. Despite their differences, they become friends—then lovers—and after college, they try to make it work. But it’s the 1970s, and Roger can’t bring himself to admit he’s gay. Worse, after his brother is killed in Vietnam, Roger tries to live up to his memory and be the perfect son. Then after suffering one tragedy too many, he makes the biggest mistake of his life: Roger pushes John away.

Through the years, they dance around the truth and in and out of each other’s lives, never quite able to let go. Twenty years later, Roger still carries the pain of losing his dream of a brilliant career with him, while John is a superstar conductor with a wild reputation. John’s off-stage antics get him plenty of attention, good and bad, though deep down, he wants only Roger. Finally determined to hold on to what really matters, Roger asks John for another chance, and when John panics and runs, Roger has to convince him to listen to his heart.

Shira Anthony was recently a guest of Prism Book Alliance. Be Sure to check out their guest post here.

Feliz’s View:

This book tells the story of violinist Roger Nelson and aspiring conductor John Fuchs, two men who meet over their shared passion for music and fall in love with each other when they’re both in their teens. A perfect match, as different as they appear on the outside, theirs is a powerful connection of bodies, hearts and souls. But it’s the seventies, for one, where it’s hard for two men to live openly as lovers. And then, they’re both young and still quite immature in many ways and amenable to outward influnce as well as subject to their respective internal insecurities. Intrusive family members, tragedies and mere mundane everyday life – and music, of all things –  work together to drive them apart until eventually, their loving relationship appears broken beyond fixing.

But even though they aren’t together as lovers any longer, their friendship persists, even as both find new love interests. Over the course of the following three and a half decades, they part ways and reunite several times, never entirely losing contact. They circle around each other in a seemingly endless dance, slowly drawing  closer and closer until, eventually, they stand united against all odds as the music swells to a thriumphant finale.

Like in all of the Blue Notes series, Music plays a major role in this book. Despite the long period of time it spans, which would suggest a whole symphony, this book reminded me of a tango with all the to-ing and fro-ing between Roger and John. It was deeply moving to see their friendship, their love weathering some depressingly genuine real-life storms during the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.

Almost a third of the book is dedicated to the budding relatioship they share during their teens, so much so that I almost felt as if reading a YA novel. Both character’s mindsets, backstories, family environments are thoroughly explored, which had the actual story somewhat dragging at times. Nevertheless, it was necessary to explain many of both John’s and Roger’s choices and actions later in life. Because as much as they grow and mature over the course of the story, they remain essentially true to themselves. I found the characterizations especially well done here and became really invested in both main characters.

On the other hand, the in-depth addressing of John’s and Roger’s life experiences meant that some matters  were merely touched upon, which in some cases, I regretted. Especially when it comes to Nate, who was very important to John and whom I liked very much. Then again, with such a big picture to paint, it’s understandable that some figures, hovever lovely, need to remain on the sidelines.

Overall, this was a quiet story, sometimes kind of slow and meandering, sometimes fast-paced and dramatic. I can only warmly recommend this engrossing, pleasant addition to the Blue Notes series.

Buy Links

Dreamspinner Press
Amazon US
All Romance eBooks

I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

Brandilyn
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