Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Several years ago I ran across a book that I absolutely loved, The Glass Harmonica, by Louise Marley. The story involves a little homeless girl in the 1700's who plays musical glasses on the street for handouts. She is rescued by Benjamin Franklin, who has invented the glass harmonica, and she becomes his protege and lives in his house, a lifestyle very much removed from her previous life.
Contrasted with this story is another one set in the future (2018) involving a concert musician who plays the glass harmonica, which is enjoying a resurgence in popularity due to a wave of nostalgia sweeping the country.
I don't really have any interest in classical music, and I almost never read historical novels, but for some reason, this one really grabbed me, and I loved it. In Marley's novels, the present and the past are blurred--the veil between the worlds is very thin. She is able to write historical novels that also bring in science fiction-like stories, and weave them all into one wonderful book. She also writes books that are more straight science fiction, and while I tried them, I didn't really like them.
I recently discovered that, since The Glass Harmonica, she had written several more similar books. In short order, I read The Brahms Deception, which involves time travel between Brahms' time and the present, and The Glass Butterfly, which moves back and forth between a present day psychologist who is running for her life, and a young housemaid in opera composer Giacomo Puccini's household in the early 1900's. The glass butterfly in the title is a paperweight which ties the two women's stories together.
Next up is Mozart's Blood, which is somewhat different in that it's a vampire book . . .