The Song of Hartgrove Hall by Natasha Solomons
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Told in both the present tense and in flashbacks, there's a lot going on here: music, romance, more music (in the form of song collecting, family dynamics and whispers of anti-semitism and homophobia. The characters of Fox and Edie are well-drawn, the others less so, but what really takes pride of place is setting and music, both classical and folk (folk as in "rural country" not what we think of now as folk). At one point, George says that he is trying to reclaim Jerusalem in his farming methods and that Fox is doing the same with his song collecting. It's all very British. By the end, however, there were things that were not fully explained, like the real relationship between Fox and Edie (can't say more without spoilers) and what Jack's relationship to Hartgrove Hall is (again, no spoilers). With a little less serious intent vis-a-vis the music, this could be a good beach read. As it is, readers of Anne Rivers Siddons and Belva Plain may enjoy it.
ARC provided by publisher.