Facing the Music

Mary Sheepshanks, Author
Mary Sheepshanks, Author Thomas Dunne Books $22.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-312-16832-2
Paperback - 978-0-09-946801-1
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A young, talented British musician discovers her true potential in this buoyant, gently romantic second tale from English novelist Sheepshanks (A Price for Everything). Lapsed flutist Flavia Cameron decides to marry her father's friend Gervaise Henderson for all the wrong reasons: he's wealthy, he's secure and he's not her loathsome ex, Antoine du Fosset. Besides, she's tired of living at home, listening to her domineering mother harp on her wasted musical talent. So flighty Flavia decides (rather unconvincingly) that she loves Gervaise, and she moves to Winleyhurst, the boys' prep school outside London where he is headmaster. While the May-December couple's exploits among the British upper crust are amusing, the plot never shifts out of first gear until Flavia meets Alistair Forbes, the musically inclined single father of one of the Winsleyhurst boys. Sheepshanks manages considerable romantic tension as sparks fly between Flavia and Alistair, and Flavia is thrown into a whirlwind of long-stifled desires--emotional and musical. While a few underdeveloped minor characters overburden the predictable plot, the protagonists are well rounded, and Sheepshanks's telling descriptions of the politics at English boarding schools, and her accounts of some feisty family squabbles, enrich a well-spun romance. (Sept.)
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