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Variation on a Theme

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Overview

New York Times bestselling author Barbara Delinsky enthralls millions of readers with emotionally powerful stories that vividly demonstrate the heart's, power to love. Here, first published in 1984, is an unforgettable story of a woman who must discover who she is before she can give herself to the man she loves.

Although he'd already heard a great deal about Rachel Busek, nothing prepared Jim Guthrie for the beautiful flutist's gentle grace. A rough-hewn private investigator, ...

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Variation on a Theme

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Overview

New York Times bestselling author Barbara Delinsky enthralls millions of readers with emotionally powerful stories that vividly demonstrate the heart's, power to love. Here, first published in 1984, is an unforgettable story of a woman who must discover who she is before she can give herself to the man she loves.

Although he'd already heard a great deal about Rachel Busek, nothing prepared Jim Guthrie for the beautiful flutist's gentle grace. A rough-hewn private investigator, Jim is nearly overwhelmed with the urge to love and protect her. And Rachel is both amazed and delighted at the ease with which Jim slips into her life. Yet as quick passion gives way to leisurely love, Rachel finds herself holding back. Troubling pieces of her past remain a mystery even to her, and keep her from trusting her heart. Now, she must either discover the truth about her past or risk losing the first man in her life worth keeping.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061042348
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/28/2001
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 827,262
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Barbara Delinsky

Barbara Delinsky, a lifelong New Englander, was a sociologist and photographer before she began to write. There are more than 30 million copies of her books in print.

Biography

Born Ruth Greenberg, and raised in suburban Boston, Barbara Delinsky worked as a sociology researcher in children's services and was a newspaper photographer and reporter before turning to fiction writing full-time. In point of fact, she never intended to pursue a literary career. But, in the early 1980s, a newspaper article profiling three women who successfully balanced home, family, and romance writing caught her attention. Intrigued, she spent months researching and writing her first novel. It sold -- and Delinsky was off and running.

Praised by critics and fans alike for her character driven studies of marriage, parenthood, and friendship, Delinsky is one of a small cadre of successful women writers (including Nora Roberts and Sandra Brown) who started out writing pseudonymous paperbacks for the category romance genre and muscled their way onto the bestseller lists with hardcover escapist fiction. Yet she is candid about the hard work involved and insists there's no tried-and-true formula that converts automatically to easy money. As if to prove her own point, Delinsky works from eight in the morning to about seven at night, writing in the office above the garage in her Newton, Massachusetts home; doing research; handling interviews; or -- her least favorite part of the job -- touring the country making author appearances.

Over the decades Delinsky has written dozens of novels that have landed on The New York Times bestseller list, including Twilight Whispers (1988), For My Daughters (1994), Three Wishes (1997), Flirting with Pete (2003), and Family Tree (2007). In 2001, she published her first nonfiction title, Uplift: Secrets from the Sisterhood of Breast Cancer Survivors. A cancer survivor herself, she has earmarked all the profits from the sale of this book to benefit breast cancer research.

Good To Know

When she isn't writing, one of Delinsky's favorite pastimes is kayaking.

She gets some of her best ideas in the shower. "It's a little harder to write ideas down there," she wrote to fans on her web site, "but I've been known to yell something out to my husband, who does it for me!"

The family cat, Chelsea, is named after her 1992 novel The Passions of Chelsea Kane.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Billie Douglass, Bonnie Drake; born Ruth Greenberg
    2. Hometown:
      Newton, Massachusetts
    1. Date of Birth:
      August 9, 1945
    2. Place of Birth:
      Boston, Massachusetts
    1. Education:
      B.A. in Psychology, Tufts University, 1967; M.A. in Sociology, Boston College, 1969

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

His small overnight duffel swung from his shoulder to graze his hip as he took the stone steps two at a time. He'd hoped to arrive earlier, to catch the entire concert, but the plane had been late leaving Raleigh, even later landing in Chicago. Not that he should complain, he told himself. He'd been lucky enough to have gotten a last-minute seat.

The wooden doors of the hall stood open in invitation to the warm May breeze. Looking for all the world as though he'd been invited himself, he strode through the empty lobby and followed the sounds of animated applause to the main entrance of the auditorium. The house was packed. As he prepared to join the standing-room-only crowd just inside the door, an usher materialized by his side.

"Your ticket?"

He ignored the question. "How much have I missed?" His gaze passed over the throng of heads to the stage, there riveting on the one female member of Montage. Even if there had been other women in the ensemble, even if he had never seen her photograph, he would have been drawn to her. She was as breathtaking as he'd imagined, and Lord only knew he'd done his share of imagining since he'd first seen that picture atop Tom Busek's desk.

"We're about midway through the second half. Do you have a ticket?"

Never once looking at the usher, he launched a diversionary tactic. Diversionary tactics were his specialty. "Damn! I wanted to catch more of the show." Entranced, he broke into a smile that was broad in calculated pride. He jutted his chin forward. "That's my girl. Rachel Busek." In truth, the smile wasn'tall for show. He couldn't take his eyes from her. "My plane just touched down from North Carolina. She doesn't know I'm here." His grin persisted, taking on a faintly mischievous slant.

The usher took a minute to look him over. He was certainly older than the average member of an audience filled to overflowing with students, late thirties, perhaps forty, clean, not bad looking. The voice was right, bearing just a hint of a twang. And the look of pleasure on his face could hardly be mistaken, any more than could the overnight bag he carried. The usher cast a glance toward the woman on stage, then refocused on the tall man beside him for a moment's speculation.

"Sorry I can't give you a seat. No one's budging. You'll have to stand back here with the rest. "

"That's fine. Fine."

The crowd stilled as a soft piano struck the opening chords of an instantly recognizable tune. There was a murmur of appreciation, a scattering of applause, then strains of violin, cello and guitar as Rachel Busek raised the flute to her lips.

James P. Guthrie had never been a concert goer; indeed, his background had held anything but culture. Yet he held his breath, feeling the anticipation of the audience, sharing it as she inhaled, and bowed into the song. "Greensleeves." Even he recognized it now, though the notes were more sweet and vibrant, the rendition more poignantly beautiful than any he'd heard before. He was mesmerized as much by the haunting sound of the silver flute as by the woman whose breath, whose lips, whose fingers orchestrated that soulful tone.

She was dressed in white, with gentle frills at her neck, wrists and ankles. Her long blond hair flowed gently over her shoulders, fanning as she moved with the feeling of the song, sorrowful, innocent and infinitely soft. Her skin was pale, her hands delicate. Though one of seven in the ensemble, she seemed apart, playing with them yet somehow rising above to the level of a true virtuoso.

His applause was as hearty as any around him when the song ended. Then she smiled, and his pulse quickened. His hands stopped midair, wavered, and dropped to his sides. In all his years, he'd never been as touched by a woman's smile. Direct and unfettered, it held warmth, gratitude, even a kind of shyness that he'd never have attributed to a seasoned performer. When, cheeks flushed, she turned her smile on her fellow musicians, Jim Guthrie felt sheer envy.

Propping his elbows on the wood railing before him, he stood, spellbound, through several classical pieces. They were utterly foreign to him yet familiar now in the richness of tone produced by that one gleaming instrument. When, after tumultuous applause, shouts from the audience brought another song he recognized, he grew more alert. "Duelin' Banjos." He'd seen the movie that had brought it fame, and the song itself, the spirit it embodied, was a hard one to forget. But "Duelin' Banjos" after Mozart, or Bach, or whatever the hell it was they'd played moments before?

Then, in a suddenly silent house alive with expectation, the guitarist began to slowly, skillfully strum the opening chords of the duel. His message was clear, a resonant dare that was picked up, after no more than several seconds' pause, by the coy vibrato of the flute. Jim leaned forward, one of many who held their breath. The guitarist plucked each note carefully, eyeing the flutist all the while; Rachel answered likewise, with the confidence, if not the laziness, of a purring kitten. When the guitar came again, tossing in agile slurs on the last two notes, the flute, undaunted, echoed smugly. Once more the guitarist boldly declared his terms; once more the flutist met them slyly, tone for tone. The next exchange was slightly faster, the next even more so, until at last, with a jumping into the fray of the violin, cello, and finally piano, the heart of the duel was on.

Variation on a Theme. Copyright © by Barbara Delinsky. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 7 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 9 of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2012

    A snooze

    This was the worst book by this author i have ever read. Long and boring,no storyline just boring sex scenes with jimbo,not worth5.99.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2001

    Very Enticing Romantic Novel

    I found this novel very good. It keeps you into it and wanting to read more and not put the book down. I would recommend it to anyone who likes romantic stories that defy the true meaning of love.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2012

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    Posted January 8, 2010

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    Posted June 25, 2011

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    Posted January 15, 2011

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