Bart Schneider, Author . Shaye Areheart $24 (353p) ISBN 978-1-4000-5442-8

In this prequel to the author's 2001 novel, Secret Love , Schneider, founding editor of the Hungry Mind Review, delivers a polished, faintly old-fashioned tale of a violinist doomed to unhappiness in early 1960s San Francisco. At 40, ice princess Inez Roseman plays in the San Francisco Symphony and is a well-known soloist. Gifted with perfect pitch and blond Swedish beauty, she is married to prominent civil rights lawyer Jake Roseman (the protagonist of Secret Love ) and has two children. Gradually, through an acquaintance with Sylvia Bran, a showroom pianist who passes herself off as a journalist in order to get to know lovely Inez, cracks are revealed in the pianist's exquisite exterior. Jake is an inveterate womanizer; Inez has been depressed since the birth of her eight-year-old son, Joey; and she harbors still-smarting emotional damage from childhood sexual abuse. Schneider's meandering narrative finally settles on the blossoming lesbian relationship between the self-invented Sylvia and the complicated Inez. Despite their passionate affair, Inez thinks constantly about committing suicide, which tortures Sylvia, who is haunted by the suicide of her own mother. The novel is set during the Cuban missile crisis, which deepens the climate of chilly self-destruction Schneider fosters. Though Inez and Sylvia's relationship is sensitively handled, readers may find it difficult to sympathize with poised, distant Inez. Agent, Marly Rusoff. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 11/22/2004
Release date: 02/01/2005
Open Ebook - 306 pages - 978-0-307-41985-9
Paperback - 355 pages - 978-1-4000-5443-5
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