Review: The Other La Boheme




Synopsis:

The Other La Bohème is literary fiction that depicts the lives and loves of four friends who pursue opera singers’ careers in present-day New York City. Jennifer (soprano), Stephanie (mezzo-soprano), Henry (tenor), and John (baritone) met in music school in Manhattan, where they performed Puccini’s famous opera La Bohème at their graduation concert. After graduation they banded together as a group called the Dolci Quattro, pledging to support one another in their professional pursuits. Several years later, they have landed the roles of Mimi, Musette, Marcello, and Rodolfo in the nearly forgotten opera La Bohème by Leoncavallo—known as “the other La Bohème”—which is to be produced by the New York Bel Canto Opera.

The novel begins with arias and a duet sung by Henry and Stephanie in the Café Momus. Jennifer and John come in, and they congratulate each other on their new roles. Immediately, though, the thoughts of the current state of their personal lives cool their enthusiasm. 

As the story unfolds, Jennifer discovers that her fiancé, Richard, an investment banker and a fiction writer, is having an affair with another woman. Stephanie struggles to find a steady love, while perturbed by a strained relationship with her father, a billionaire hedge fund manager, who abandoned her late mother. Henry faces a pressure from his family to renounce his bohemian life for a more respectful career as he meets his new love, Christine, a poet. John receives a summons for divorce from the lawyer of his wife Michelle, a painter. 

Set in the rich artistic backdrop of New York City, the Dolci Quattro’s lives and loves go through ups and downs in joy and despair, while true to their pledge they give one another much-needed moral support. As the opening night nears, the Dolci Quattro make their utmost efforts to perfect their singing for the opera that will determine their future. 

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

The Other La Boheme by Yorker Keith is stunning tale of four friends whose lives are falling apart as they prepare for their opera performance. An opera performance that may change their careers forever. I loved how Yorker Keith brought the opera life and the lives of the singers in a three-dimensional way. They popped from the pages. Their troubles felt real and the story continued to captivate as their struggles grew. Each friend pledged to support one another and so they do…but life can be difficult to manage as well as maintain a certain professional appearance in the singing careers. Relationships, family, and friends are major themes of this book. I found it captivating. The writing was easy to follow along and engaging. The characters each faced a different issue and their bond as friends helps. A very realtic novel that everyone can relate to. Overall, The Other La Boheme is a must read for those who love music, opera, and art. 

Review: Remembrance of Blue Roses

 

Synopsis:

Remembrance of Blue Roses follows a man and a married couple in New York City, whose intricate relationship oscillates among friendship, love, love-triangle, and even obsession. Its romantic ambience is interwoven with classical music, opera, art, family legend, and international affairs, illuminating the lives of international civil servants at the United Nations and the UN peacekeeping mission in Sarajevo, and those with direct experience of the Israel-Palestinian conflict and the Holocaust. Mark, the narrator and an American, works for the United Nations in New York as a personnel officer; his friend, Hans, German, also works for the UN as an economist; and Yukari, Japanese and Hans’s wife, is a professional violinist. One day Mark encounters Hans and Yukari in a museum. As Hans enjoys opera singing and Mark is into painting, the three foster their friendship through classical music, opera, and art. Mark resists feeling drawn to his friend’s wife. One evening over dinner, they discover that their families were acquainted generations ago. This bonds them together. During the summer, inspired by the beauty of Yukari in her light blue dress at the UN garden, Hans and Mark secretly plant blue roses there for Yukari. The blue roses later blossom sumptuously. The three enjoy their blue roses, the symbol of their friendship and bond. The story becomes complicated by the involvement of two other women: Mark’s ex-wife, Francine, a Swiss, who is remarried to another of Mark’s friends in the UN, Shem Tov, an Israeli; and Mark’s high school sweetheart, Jane, to whom he was briefly engaged. Francine encourages Mark to be happy with Yukari, while Jane now wants to marry Mark. Yukari becomes pregnant with Hans’s child and happily settles into her role as

During the summer, inspired by the beauty of Yukari in her light blue dress at the UN garden, Hans and Mark secretly plant blue roses there for Yukari. The blue roses later blossom sumptuously. The three enjoy their blue roses, the symbol of their friendship and bond. The story becomes complicated by the involvement of two other women: Mark’s ex-wife, Francine, a Swiss, who is remarried to another of Mark’s friends in the UN, Shem Tov, an Israeli; and Mark’s high school sweetheart, Jane, to whom he was briefly engaged. Francine encourages Mark to be happy with Yukari, while Jane now wants to marry Mark. Yukari becomes pregnant with Hans’s child and happily settles into her role as

One day Mark encounters Hans and Yukari in a museum. As Hans enjoys opera singing and Mark is into painting, the three foster their friendship through classical music, opera, and art. Mark resists feeling drawn to his friend’s wife. One evening over dinner, they discover that their families were acquainted generations ago. This bonds them together. During the summer, inspired by the beauty of Yukari in her light blue dress at the UN garden, Hans and Mark secretly plant blue roses there for Yukari. The blue roses later blossom sumptuously. The three enjoy their blue roses, the symbol of their friendship and bond. The story becomes complicated by the involvement of two other women: Mark’s ex-wife, Francine, a Swiss, who is remarried to another of Mark’s friends in the UN, Shem Tov, an Israeli; and Mark’s high school sweetheart, Jane, to whom he was briefly engaged. Francine encourages Mark to be happy with Yukari, while Jane now wants to marry Mark. Yukari becomes pregnant with Hans’s child and happily settles into her role as an expectant mother. Mark, Hans, and Yukari celebrate New Year’s Eve at the height of their friendship and happiness. … Then a series of tragedies shatters their joy and alters their future forever.

Rating: 5 stars

Review:

Remembrance of Blue Roses by Yorker Keith is about loyalty, friendship, and love. The story swept me off my feet and into a beautiful yet sad tale. The ending brought back a little bit of peace to my heart. This literary novel is well-written. The characters are well-developed. Their friendship, betrayal, and desires will keep readers hooked. Friends stay true to another even until the end. A man who lusts after another man’s wife tries keeping the couple together. Soon the three are happy again. But then fate has a way of knocking down our doors. Two friends are taken away from this world but leave behind a gorgeous little girl. Almost an exact remembrance of her mother. The same mother who before she died was going to finally divorce her husband and marry the husband’s friend. They held so much in common. I felt like I was almost reading Romeo & Juliet in a way. Two lovers about to be together forever then taken from one another. However one dies and one still lives. Remembrance of Blue Roses symbolizes the blue roses that two male friends planted and soon become three friends. They would visit these blue roses and in the ending, a visit is made again to these blue roses in honor of the two people who died. Sad yet bittersweet but almost peaceful too. Yorker Keith’s writing has a way of drawing readers into his world of fiction. I couldn’t stop reading once I opened the novel. Overall, I highly recommend this title to readers everywhere.