cover image The Prague Sonata

The Prague Sonata

Bradford Morrow, read by Christina Delaine. HighBridge Audio, unabridged, 15 CDs, 19 hrs., $49.99 ISBN 978-1-6816-8700-1

Actor Delaine opens the audiobook of Morrow’s latest in an over-the-top, sultry voice reminiscent of Marilyn Monroe singing “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” to John F. Kennedy. Thankfully she soon settles into a more natural and pleasant voice. Meta Taverner, a young American musicologist, is given a section of an 18th-century sonata score and charged with two impossible tasks: find the other two sections of the sonata and return the complete piece to its original owner. Meta is haunted by the exquisite music, which she strongly believes to be an undiscovered work by a master composer, possibly Beethoven. Morrow evokes life in the Nazi and Communist eras of 20th-century Czechoslovakia and explains the characteristics of various musical forms as they arise in the story. Delaine has trouble with various character accents: while Meta’s new love interest and several elderly Czech men and women are quite believable, some of the other Czechs, like the villains trying to steal the manuscript, and Americans, among them the heroine’s generous friends, scratch the ear. But overall Delaine keeps listeners attuned to this well-wrought novel. A Grove hardcover. (Oct.)