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A Note Yet Unsung
By Tamera Alexander
Baker Publishing GroupCopyright © 2017 Tamera Alexander
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Nashville, Tennessee January 12, 1871
Rebekah Carrington stood shivering across the street from her childhood home, satchel heavy in hand, cloak dusted with snow. She counted the strides it would take to reach the front door. How could such a brief distance feel so insurmountable, so much greater a course to navigate than the ocean she'd just traversed? She wished she could blink and be back in Vienna.
After ten years, Austria felt more like home than the city in which she'd been born and lived the first half of her life. But the letter delivered nearly four weeks ago, only days before Christmas, had changed every —
The front door to the house opened.
Rebekah pressed into the shadow of a nearby evergreen, its pungent pine needles sharp and prickly with cold. She lowered her head to peer through the icy branches — breath fogging, hanging ghostlike in the air — and her stomach turned with something more than hunger.
It was him.
How many times since leaving Nashville had she pictured the man?
Yet looking at him now, a decade later, through a woman's perspective, he seemed so different than when she'd peered up at him as a girl of thirteen. Though thicker through the middle with age, he was still tall, standing nearly six feet, and still possessed a commanding presence.
But he wasn't quite the towering figure her memory had conjured.
For years, recollections of the encounters — and that one night, in particular — had haunted her. With time and distance, she'd moved beyond it. She was no longer that young, naive girl, and she wasn't afraid of him anymore.
So why was her heart all but beating out of her chest? She straightened her spine, pulling her courage up along with it.
Her stepfather climbed into a carriage, one far grander than what she remembered him and her mother owning years earlier. Perhaps a purchase he'd made with money he'd gained in a recent inheritance.
That possibility only deepened her resentment toward him, and made her question, yet again, the untimeliness of her grandmother's recent passing.
Not a word from Grandmother Carrington about feeling unwell, much less being ill, and then the shocking news of her "sudden and tragic death." It didn't make sense, and the ache of loss reached deep.
Rebekah eyed the carriage, and the silhouette of the man inside.
Barton Ledbetter was not an honorable man, she knew that well enough. But surely he wasn't so devoid of morals that he would have dared to —
"Who you hidin' from?"
Rebekah jumped and spun, her thoughts veering off track.
A young boy peered up from beneath the bill of a ragged red cap, his belligerent expression repeating the question.
She frowned. "I'm not hiding from anyone."
The tilt of his head told her he thought differently.
"I was merely ... considering my plans." Hedging the truth, she found the tug at her conscience easily allayed by the fact that her actions were decidedly none of this boy's business.
A half-empty sack of newspapers hung from a slim shoulder. And as though he sensed an opportunity, he whipped one out, rolled it up in a flash, and offered it to her as though presenting the crown jewels of the Habsburg family.
"Nickel for a paper, miss. Make it two" — a smirk tipped one side of his mouth — "and I'll keep quiet 'bout what I seen."
Rebekah eyed him. "And what exactly is it you think you've seen?"
"I caught you spyin'. On that family what lives right there." He pointed to the house.
She looked back at the carriage. It was about to pass her! Her stepfather looked up, seemingly straight at her. And she froze. He and her mother weren't expecting her until tomorrow. She'd arrived a day early due to fair weather while crossing the Atlantic, but —
She pressed into the spiky secrecy of the pinon pine, realizing she wasn't ready to face him after all. She needed time to plan her next steps — steps that would take her away from him. And sadly, from her mother too. Unless ... she could persuade her mother to leave with her.
The carriage continued, and only after it turned the corner did Rebekah breathe easier.
"Well, lady? What's it gonna be?"
She turned back to find the boy still there, watching her, triumph in his expression. Recognizing an opportunist when she saw one, she leveled a stare. "You don't even know who resides there, young man."
"Yes, I do!" His tone and set of jaw were almost convincing. "That man there" He pointed in the direction the carriage had gone. "Him and his wife. That's their place. I see em comin' and goin' all the time."
Judging from his meager height and frame, Rebekah didn't think the boy more than seven or eight years old. He was on the lean side, as though regular meals were a scarcity, and his threadbare coat was tattered at the collar and absent its buttons. But he had a shrewdness about him she recognized. Similar to that of boys his age who'd grown up on the streets of Vienna. It was a savvy she both admired and pitied.
No child should be without a home, a safe place from the world. And yet having a home didn't necessarily guarantee a child's safekeeping, she knew.
An idea came to her, and she set down her satchel. She hadn't been raised on the streets, but neither was she an innocent. She reached into her reticule, deciding that — either way this went — the decision about her homecoming would be made for her, and she would accept it.
"I'll purchase one newspaper for myself." She met his scowl with a firm stare. "Along with another. And I'll give you an extra nickel if you'll agree to do something for me."
His eyes narrowed. "What's it you're wantin' me to do?"
"Deliver the second newspaper to that house across the street. Knock on the door, and when the housekeeper answers"— which Rebekah felt certain she would —"ask her to deliver the paper to Mrs. Ledbetter. If Mrs. Ledbetter is at home."
A grin split his face. "Told you, you was spyin'!"
She stared. "Do you want to earn an extra nickel or not?"
He adjusted his cap. "What if she ain't home? You gonna try 'n cheat me outta my money?"
"Not at all. You'll still get three nickels either way. Do we have ourselves a deal?"
He held her gaze, then nodded once, slowly, as though considering another, unspoken, alternative. "I'll do it, just like you said."
Rebekah took the newspaper from him and pressed three coins into his grimy palm. His brown eyes lit, and she gripped the hem of his coat sleeve, having seen how swiftly these boys could run. "I warn you, young man, I'm fast on my feet. Keep your word or risk being chased down the street by a girl."
He snickered. "You ain't no girl. You a lady. And ladies, they never run."
She narrowed her eyes. "This one does."
His expression sobered as he turned, but Rebekah was certain she glimpsed a trace of amusement — and admiration — in his eyes.
From her niche behind the tree, she watched him pause at the edge of the street, waiting for conveyances to pass. She pulled her cloak collar closer around her neck as the flutter of nerves resumed in her stomach, same as happened every time she imagined seeing her mother again after all these years.
Her grandmother had managed to visit Austria every two years, staying a handful of months when she did. But her mother? Not once did she visit, despite Grandmother Carrington's offer to pay. Which had hurt more than Rebekah had ever revealed in her correspondence. Growing up, she'd always been closer to her father, responding to his warm, patient manner. The memory of her mother's attention in those earlier years, while consistent and plentiful, was tainted with the memory of her cooler demeanor and a propensity toward the critical. As though nothing Rebekah had done was quite good enough.
Still, Rebekah couldn't remember exactly when her relationship with her mother had gone so awry. Sometime after her father died. But, no, that wasn't it, though that loss certainly had changed their lives.
It was after her mother married Barton Ledbetter. That was when she'd become more solemn, distant. And ... far more censuring.
They'd exchanged letters through the years, of course. Letters that had grown less frequent as time passed. Yet Rebekah still loved her and knew the affection was reciprocated, in her mother's unique way. But the thought of seeing her again after all these years was an unnerving prospect.
She rubbed the taut muscles at the base of her neck, weary from travel and uncertainty. After having been back in the city scarcely two hours, she knew that Nashville — and her family home — would never feel like home again.
In a flash, the boy darted across the street, skillfully dodging a lumber delivery wagon and outwardly oblivious to the heated curses the driver called down on him. The boy headed in the direction of the house — then stopped cold.
Every muscle in Rebekah's body tensed.
She gathered her skirt, debating whether she'd truly give chase over two nickels, despite her threat, but the boy glanced back in her direction and grinned — grinned, the little urchin — before continuing on to the front door.
Rebekah let out her breath and felt a speck of humor, even though she wanted to throttle his scrawny little neck.
She followed his progress and then found her gaze moving over the house, which had not aged well in her absence. Though her family had never been landed gentry, her father had inherited several parcels of land surrounding their home, which had allowed them to raise animals and keep a substantial garden. A nicety when so close to the city.
But after her mother remarried, Barton sold most of that property. Though where all the money had gone, she didn't know. Now a mixture of clapboard houses squatted one after another along the street that had once been a country-like thoroughfare where low-limbed oaks, decades old, had lent such joy and adventure to childhood summers.
Rebekah pictured the rooms of the house as they were when she'd last lived there, and still found it difficult to believe Grandmother Carrington was gone. Oh, Nana ...
Grief was a strange thing. You could try to avoid it, keep it at arm's length, even maneuver around it for a time, but grief was patient and cunning. And always returned. With a vengeance.
She sucked in a soft breath, her vision blurring.
The letter from her mother had been succinct, void of any detail other than "your grandmother passed unexpectedly, yet peacefully, in her bed," and had spelled out in no uncertain terms that it was time for Rebekah to return home. Then her mother had effectively cut off her funds.
Rebekah wiped her cheek. Dealing with the sudden loss of her grandmother — and benefactor, though of so much more than money alone — was difficult enough. But being forced to return to Nashville, and with the unequivocal expectation of her residing in that house again — with him — was unfathomable.
She couldn't do it. She wouldn't.
Yet she didn't have her paternal grandmother to side with her anymore. To insist on the importance of an education abroad. As if that had been the impetus behind her leaving for Vienna years earlier than originally planned by her father, God rest him. Her grandmother had believed her about the events of that horrible night. But her mother? "Certainly you're confused, Rebekah. There's no way he would even think of ever doing anything like that. You're his daughter now. He's simply trying to be a loving father. Something for which you should be grateful ... instead of misconstruing."
At her grandmother's urging, Rebekah hadn't confronted him about it. They'd all acted as though it had never happened. At times she wondered if that had been the wisest choice ... or merely the easiest.
The boy rapped on the front door, three sharp knocks, and when the door finally opened, Rebekah's heart squeezed tight.
The woman was still as round and robust as Rebekah remembered, almost as wide as she was tall. Even at a distance, the cook's apron appeared perfectly starched and gleaming white, same as every day of Rebekah's youth.
Like pearls gliding on a string, her thoughts slipped to Demetrius, and she wondered if Delphia's older brother was there or on an errand, or perhaps in the garden out back that he loved so much. In nearly every letter her grandmother had written, shed included kind regards from Demetrius, oftentimes along with something witty hed said.
Of all the people shed thought about since receiving her mother's letter, she'd thought most of him. Demetrius was the one bright spot about returning. And she could hardly wait to show him what she'd finally mastered, thanks to his patient kindness and all he'd taught her.
She reached into her cloak pocket and pulled out the wood carving shed carried with her for nearly fifteen years now. The carving was of the dog she'd had as a child. The likeness to the cute little pug — Button — was amazing, as was everything Demetrius carved. Hed told her he simply saw things in pieces of wood and then carved until hed set them free.
Rebekah watched as Delphia stared down at the boy, hands on her hips, and it occurred to her that she hadn't bothered asking the lad his name before sending him on this errand. Delphia took the newspaper from him — the boy talking as she did, though Rebekah couldn't make out what he was saying — and Delphia slowly shook her head.
So then ... Rebekah sighed. Her mother wasn't home.
Part of her felt disappointment, while the greater part felt relief. So the decision was made. Shed just bought herself another day to work up the courage for her official homecoming, and to try to find another place to live, though the two dollars and twenty-four cents in her reticule wouldn't stretch far.
Grandmother Carrington had told her during her last visit to Vienna almost two years ago that, in the event of her passing, shed laid aside some money for her. Rebekah didn't know how much, but she was grateful. Even a small amount would help until she found a way to support herself.
Delphia spoke to the boy again — this time glancing beyond him to the street — and Rebekah held her breath, waiting for him to turn and give her away.
But he merely shrugged his slim shoulders and tipped his red cap in a way that drew a smile from the older woman. Something not easily done.
The little urchin was a schemer and a charmer.
When the front door closed, the boy retraced his steps to the street. He looked briefly in Rebekah's direction and gave his cap a quick tug, his smile claiming victory. Then he took off at a good clip down the street.
Rebekah watched him go, feeling a peculiar sense of loss when he turned the corner and disappeared from sight. Which was silly. She didn't even know the boy.
Yet she felt beholden to him in a way.
The growling in her stomach redirected her thoughts and dictated her first course of action, so she headed toward the heart of town in search of a place to eat.
But the Nashville she'd tucked into memory years earlier was no more. Everywhere she looked, she saw remnants of the heartache her grandmother had written to her about during those awful years of conflict. What few buildings she did recall seemed to have aged several decades in the past one, their brick façades riddled with bullet holes, the dirt-filmed windows cracked and broken or missing altogether. Such a stark contrast to the opulent wealth and beauty of Vienna.
But what she found most surprising was the number of Federal soldiers walking past or standing grouped at street corners. She had no idea so many were still assigned to the city. Surely their continued presence wasn't helping to mend any fences.
Finally, nearly half an hour later, she discovered a small diner and claimed an open table by the front window, grateful to be out of the cold. Having had only a package of crackers since yesterday afternoon, she splurged on a breakfast of hot cakes, scrambled eggs, and bacon.
By the time her meal arrived, she'd scanned the list of advertised job openings in the Nashville Banner, which left her more discouraged than before. She perused the first column again as she ate.
Excerpted from A Note Yet Unsung by Tamera Alexander. Copyright © 2017 Tamera Alexander. Excerpted by permission of Baker Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Tamera Alexander has taken me on an unforgettable romantic adventure I will not soon forget. What a beautiful way she uses words. She inspires and touches hearts. I loved A Note Yet Unsung. This novel to me was a perfect work of art. Tamara's characters are so well developed, Rebeka Carrington and Nathaniel Tate Whitcomb are no exception to her excellent work. Rebeka, a beautiful talented master violinist trained in Vienna, but born in the 19th century and before her time. Women were considered “far too fragile and frail” to play in an orchestra. Tate a maestro conductor at Nashville Philharmonic, which he achieved at a very early age. Their swoon worthy relationship gets off to a rocky start. They both are driven people who want to leave their mark on the music world. Despite their differences they find they have a lot in common. Rebeka and Tate realize they must work in harmony to achieve their goal of finishing his symphony. There are a host of other characters in this story that you will long remember and treasure as you do a close friend. I found myself in tears on more than one occasion. I love the way Ms. Alexander, through her characters, is able to draw hope out of the darkness. It is not often I find a book that I want to read more than once, but A Note Yet Unsung is one. Thank you Tamara for writing beautiful, exciting and clean Christian historical romance works of art.
A Note Yet Unsung is the third book in Tamera Alexander’s Belmont Mansion series, coming after A Lasting Impression and A Beauty So Rare. I really, really enjoyed both of the previous books in this series so I was extremely excited to read this final installment, and I was not disappointed. Though, I must confess, I finished this book a few months ago, and I’m only just now getting around to reviewing it. Unfortunately I’ve been really bad about that lately, but I’m finally starting to catch up. Anyway, this novel was definitely worth reading, and I’m so glad I discovered Tamara’s work. Rebekah Carrington reminded me so much of myself, although at the same time we are also very different. But her passion and determination, and refusal to be put down because of her gender, spoke to me from the first few pages. I couldn’t help but hope that she would one day achieve her dream, and I loved being able to read how she tried to go about it. Plus, just her disregard for silly social rules made me laugh, while I also honestly agreed with her. Tate Whitcomb was a character it actually took me a little longer than normal to really love. But once I started, there was no going back, because underneath his somewhat harsh, anti-feminist exterior, beat a truly thoughtful, compassionate heart. Besides, once I learned his secrets, I couldn’t help but love him all the more. And his passion for his music was a characteristic I wish I shared, as it is so difficult to really work at it like he did. All in all, I really loved this story, and I cannot imagine giving it anything but all five bookshelves. Tamara finished this series in the most perfect way, and I can’t wait to read more of her novels. Since these three books all made it onto my favorites list, I cannot help but believe that more of her books will as well. (This review is from my blog, spreadinghisgrace.blogspot.com)
The last book in Tamera Alexander’s Belmont Mansion series, A Note Yet Unsung offers the series a perfectly satisfying and fitting conclusion. Not only that, this book gives readers a captivating and compelling story of its own, filled with excellent classical music appreciation. Master violinist Rebekah Carrington and acclaimed conductor Nathaniel Tate Whitcomb have startling challenges set before them, which bring them together in surprising ways. Despite their adversarial start, I loved seeing the relationship develop between these characters, growing with respect, banter, and heart. The way the story unfolds proves unique and interesting and kept me turning pages without stopping until the end. I can easily recommend A Note Yet Unsung to interested readers—it’s so worth a read! Thanks to Bethany House, I received a complimentary copy of A Note Yet Unsung and the opportunity to provide an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, and all the opinions I have expressed are my own.
Finding Your Song After Rebekah Carrington’s step-father’s failed attack, her grandmother whisked her away to Vienna for the past ten years. She thrived under the intense musical training there, but with the recent passing of her grandmother, Rebekah has been summoned back home to Nashville. Determined not to find herself in another dangerous situation with her step-father, Rebekah has been desperately searching for a job that includes food and board. Her heart’s desire would be to do something that includes music. Unfortunately, in 1871, women are considered too fragile and frail to be part of the Nashville Philharmonic, and that thinking is held by the new Maestro, Nathaniel Whitcomb. Rebekah does find work with one of the richest women in the city, but ironically, part of her job is working with Maestro Whitcomb. Unexpectedly, Rebekah discovers Whitcomb is living a secret life. Additionally, she becomes privy to even more information about him which causes Rebekah to view the Maestro in a different light. Completely against her will, she actually starts liking him—sometimes. She also does something at one of Mrs. Cheatham’s parties that Rebekah thinks will please her, but almost causes her to lose her job. This is the third installment in the Belmont Mansion Novel Series, but this story stands alone without the need to read any other books. I enjoyed this five-star book, and the strong musical element in the tale. Bringing Whitcomb’s secret life into the story really made the tale interesting. There are other surprises for the reader as this narrative goes on which makes it a fun read. Fans of music, historical novels or romances will enjoy this tale, but it will appeal to anyone who likes well-written and clean, Christian fiction. The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of A Note Yet Unsung through Bethany House Publishing for the purpose of review. I have not been compensated in any other manner. All opinions expressed are my own, and I was not required, or influenced, to give anything but an honest appraisal.
If you enjoy historical fiction with encouraging faith reminders, you need Tamera Alexander’s novels. The last of the Belmont novels did not disappoint and was all the I have come to expect in every Alexander novel. I may have also listened to some Lindsey Stirling while writing this review. I love that each book in this series dealt with the three things the real life Adelicia deemed important (art and nature being the first two), with this one covering music. It added such intrigue to who she was and made for a fabulous backdrop in each novel. And like the first two, I enjoyed this one. From the beauty of music (this book made me want to take violin lessons) to being able to imagine the joy Rebekah’s passionate talent brought to the hearts of the crowds, this had me captivated. I loved her fiery spirit and I loved the story surrounding Tate. Both unique and both interesting. There were also some unexpected and sweet surprises. I was left encouraged to never stop going after your God given passion and that no circumstance is wasted. Life may throw you some curve balls, but we can always trust in Him. Have y’all read some of Tamera’s books? Which is a favorite? (Originally posted at http://booksandbeverages.org/2017/06/15/note-yet-unsung-tamera-alexander-book-review/)
I recently read the historical fiction, A Note Yet Unsung, and it was AMAZING! I absolutely loved the whole thing. The storytelling was remarkable. I truly felt that it was a joy to read. The story is about a young girl, Rebekah, who's father passes away while she is young, and her mother remarries a brute of a man. Rebekah grows close to the servants and discovers her natural talent, and love, for the violin. After being attacked by her step-father, Rebekah's grandmother pays for her to study abroad in Vienna. She begins working as a governess for a famous symphony Maestro and learns to transcribe music and play the violin exceptionally. She begins to dream of one day playing in a big symphony herself, but her dreams continue to go unrealized since it is frowned upon for women to play the violin in public - it is much too scandalous. The book begins when Rebekah is forced to return home to Nashville, upon the news that her grandmother, and benefactress, has unexpectedly died. This is the story of how she overcomes the demons of her past, gains confidence and independence, and strives to make her dreams come true. Oh, and did I mention the incredible love story interwoven throughout the book? It is one that you aren't going to want to miss!! I highly recommend you read this book!! If you love historical fiction - this one is for you! After reading A Note Yet Unsung I realized that it was the last book in a series of 3! It is amazing as a stand alone story, but I am now intrigued and feel I must go and read the first 2! I received this wonderful book free in exchange for my honest, and unbiased critique. All the thoughts above are my own.
I have yet to be disappointed by any book by this author very well written and hard to put down, Great history, adventure and romance. I preorder every book she writes, only wish there were more
A Note Yet Unsung by Tamera Alexander is the third novel in the “Belmont Mansion” series, published by Bethany House. I haven’t read the other books in this series, but this one was fine as a stand-alone; I wouldn’t have even known it was in a series if I hadn’t been as familiar with this author. This was a sweet story about Rebekah Carrington, a master violinist trying to make it in a music world filled with men and their prejudices. When the book begins, she is returning from Vienna, where she studied music for several years thanks to her grandmother’s contributions to her education. Now that her grandmother had passed, Rebekah had to return to Nashville where she tries to fit into the overwhelmingly male orchestra industry. Returning to her mother and step-father is a fate she doesn’t want to fathom, so she knows she is now on her own. Luckily, Rebekah becomes a governess for a daughter of a lady who has great sway in the local opera hall. Now she just has to get on her employer’s good side, which is not an easy feat. Conductor Nathaniel Tate Whitcomb has been hired to compose a symphony for the opening of the new opera hall, but due to an accident shortly before the grand opening, his hearing is diminishing. When he hears the talent of a Ms. Carrington, he knows he needs her help, but can’t get over the fact that she’s a woman, and his belief that she shouldn’t be in the music industry. Can the two of them team up to fulfill each others’ dreams? This was a rather long book that was a little hard to get into, but overall, it was a sweet story of people trying their best and overcoming social prejudices against them. The characters draw you in and make you hope for their happy endings right along with them. I loved the historical setting of it and will be passing the book along to my music-loving friends! Thank you to Bethany House for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review. All opinions are my own and were not required to be positive. *Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion – which I’ve done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*
This is a wonderful addition to the Belmont Mansion series. I laughed and cried in this story. I did not know that women were not allowed to play in the symphony at that time. I really hated the reason that they give for not allowing them to play. I am so glad to live in this time. Rebekah wants to play in the orchestra. . She hopes that maybe Nathaniel Tate Whitcomb who is the new orchestra leader for Nashville will be more liberal. These characters are very good. They are both very strong people. I received a copy of this book from Bethany House for a fair and honest opinion that I gave of my own free will.
Sad to see the Belmont Mansion series end - but what an riveting story to round out this great trilogy! I love how Alexander chose three compelling interests of estate owner Adelicia (Hayes Franklin Acklen) Cheatham for the themes of these books - art, nature, and music. Through her careful research, each of her novels taught me much I didn't know about these common subjects. And her characters, whether main or supporting, are layered and interesting. One of my favorite 'lesser' characters in this book died well before the opening page, but made the book cohesive and spiritually profitable. Grandmother Carrington found a way to speak to her beloved granddaughter, Rebekah, even from the grave; her prayers tied the story together well. Her wisdom and faith in God's sovereign guidance is timeless. Adelicia of course played a familiar and important role again, providing a home and job for the female lead, and forcing her to be honest with herself as well as her employer. I love the tough yet gentle leadership she gives these young women who are coming of age in changing times. In this case, Rebekah possessed unusual musical ability, which she honed over a decade of study in Vienna. But social mores did not allow women to perform publicly, especially in the conservative South. In hiring her to tutor her daughter in violin, she gave her more than room and board - she supplied Rebekah with a stepping stone to make a real life for herself, and to influence the next generation. Conductor Tate is delightful as a reluctant admirer of the violinist his orchestra desperately needs but can't have. His carefully guarded private life becomes the catalyst for turning a talented "assistant" into a friend and mentor. So many neat twists in this novel, and plenty of reasons to keep the kleenex handy. *A lovely addition to this story is is a playlist available on the author's website. I love classical music, and it was a real treat to listen to the melodies that shaped this story - they made it even easier to be transported to the world Alexander has composed for us. I heartily recommend A Note Yet Unsung.
There's a unique quality to Tamera Alexander's storytelling that stays with me after I finish her books. The narrative is not fast-paced, but the descriptions steadily develop the setting and characters until I feel immersed. The world of music and composing in the 1800's was fascinating and I loved the historical details that brought the story to life. Rebekah and Nate have an interesting dynamic, although I didn't quite feel the chemistry between them. They are both strong personalities that don't back down, so they had to find a good working balance as they collaborated on Nate's symphony. The secondary cast was quite varied, from Rebekah's estranged family, to her extraordinarily wealthy employer, to Nate's warm and loving mountain family. There is a real sense of Rebekah's frustration as she seeks to fulfill her dreams only to be held back by society's restrictions against her gender. It makes me more appreciative of the freedoms we enjoy today because of the determination of women who worked for change. (I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)
4.5 stars Oh my goodness! What a wonderful story. This book has cemented Tamera Alexander as one of my favorite authors. One thing that I love about historical fiction is when I learn something interesting. I did not know that at one time women were not encouraged to play the violin. It was considered a manly instrument and men were allowed to perform on stage. Really? Wow! I am so grateful for the women who paved the way for me to have had the experience of playing the violin on stage in an orchestra. The love story between Tate and Rebekah begins on a "sour note." (Pun intended.) Really it was a miscommunication of intent, but I loved Rebekah's gumption and willingness to put herself in uncomfortable situations to go after her dream. The way their past unfolds and their secrets revealed was well written. This story is great from start to beginning. This is the third book in a series. Characters from the previous two are mentioned, but this book can be read as a stand alone. The book contains Christian themes, non-graphic violence, non-graphic sexual assault, and kissing. I received a complimentary copy of the book. I was not required to leave a review.
Tamera Alexander concludes her Belmont Mansion series with perhaps my favorite novel of the trilogy. It’s 1871 and Nashville is a city recovering from the Civil War. Rebekah spent the war in Europe and is saddened by the damage wrought by the fighting, but she still wants to make Nashville her home again. Unfortunately, the money she had is gone and her biggest supporter is deceased. The last thing she wants is to become dependent on her step-father, with whom she has a bad history. Becoming a music teacher is the best she can hope for, but that position is for a limited time. What will she do after that? A Note Yet Unsung is a lovely story with a mix of characters from all walks of life. Rebekah gets along with both her family’s main servant and Mrs. Cheatham. Tate’s family situation, however, is vastly different and several scenes take place in a cabin in the mountains of Tennessee, which is about as far removed from Belmont as you can get. These scenes were among my favorite in the book. A dark incident from Rebekah’s past is often mentioned. While it isn’t explicitly described, the reader can guess what happened and a near repeat takes place towards the end of the novel. Given that Belmont Mansion is the central location for this series it’s no surprise that the home’s owner (full name Adelicia Hayes Franklin Acklen Cheatham) also plays a major part in this novel. Other Nashville characters from the time are also included, such as portrait painted William Brown Cooper. While this is the last of the Belmont Mansion series, Tamera Alexander does have one more book coming out this year set in Tennessee. To Wager Her Heart is the last of the Belle Meade Plantation novels set just southwest of Nashville. It releases in August and is available for pre-order. Thank you to Bethany House for my complimentary copy of A Note Yet Unsung, which I received in exchange for my honest review.
What a treat it was for me to read this latest in author Alexander’s series, A Belmont Mansion Novel. This book is over 400 pages but went so quickly for me as the writing and the characters pulled me into their world for a while and I had a hard time coming back out of it. Taking place shortly after the Civil War, Rebekah Carrington has been called back from Vienna to her home in Nashville, Tennessee after her beloved Grandmother has died. Reluctant to come back home to a mother who does not understand her and to a step-father who is a rather evil man, Rebekah becomes desperate for a job and other living arrangements. She lives in a time where it was very much frowned upon to have a woman play in the orchestra. That however is Rebekah’s dream job and she is a very gifted musician. It was frustrating to see the pigheadedness and the political mechanisms that kept women in their so called place, and I am so thankful I live in the time that I do. Enter Maestro Nathaniel Tate Whitcomb who sees talent in Rebekah (and more) but bows to the confines of the culture; understandably so, but no less frustrating. Tate was a very likable character with a depth about him that we get to see as the layers of his life are pulled back, and we like Rebekah get to know him. His storyline took me by surprise and I enjoyed getting a much more in depth look at both his and Rebekah’s lives. This story was very romantic and had me in the mood for classical music. I liked that the author brought in a real person in history that tied this series together. As always I appreciate the author notes and I am very interested in learning more about the Belmont Mansion and the lady herself, Adelicia Cheatham. This moves to second place of my favorite books by author Alexander. To Win Her Favor is still my favorite, but this is a very close second. I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions and views expressed are my own. I highly recommend this beautiful story.
Deb’s Dozen: A maestro and his assistant—creating a symphony. Sharing music or life? Tamera Alexander writes the most exquisite novels. Her Belmont Mansion series and her Belle Meade Plantation series hold much of her best work. A Note Yet Unsung is the last of the Belmont Mansion series. I am disappointed to see the series end—I’ve come to love the mistress of the mansion, Adelicia Acklen Cheatham, and the personalities who are drawn to her and surround her. A Note Yet Unsung brings us yet another cast of fascinating characters. Rebekah Carrington comes back to Nashville from almost ten years in Vienna where her grandmother had sent her to perfect her music. But her beloved grandmother has died and the funds for Rebekah’s living have ceased. Dreading her return home, Rebekah dallies across the street from the house remembering her disgust for her stepfather, Barton Ledbetter. She is accosted by a street urchin selling papers. After an interesting interchange, she persuades him to go to the house to deliver a paper there and to see if her mother is at home. With the knowledge her mother is not there, she pays him the three nickels promised and delaying still, begins reading the paper. Rebekah reads about a position open at the Nashville Symphony for a personal assistant for the maestro, Nathaniel Tate Whitcomb. Deciding she has nothing to lose and determined to show him her musical ability, she heads to the opera house. Having talked her way past the dragon lady guarding the maestro’s time, she pauses in the hall outside his office, hearing a lecture going in within. The lecture ends, the door opens and who should emerge but her childhood nemesis, Darrow Fulton. True to past form, Darrow scathingly attempts to put her down but finds the older Rebekah a match for his taunts. Tate Whitcomb is frustrated—the orchestra and Darrow are not performing up to his standards. And now he must put up with interviewing another simpering female who wants the job, but mostly wants the conductor. Finally making Tate understand she was not there for the assistant position, Rebekah masterfully plays her oboe for him and asks for a position in the orchestra. He turns her down flat—women are not allowed to play in the orchestra—it just isn’t done! The maestro then rushes out for another appointment. Surprisingly, the dragon lady, Mrs. Murphey, give Rebekah a lead for another position—at Belmont Mansion. And so all the characters are in place. You will love this last story in the series—and you’ll love Rebekah and Tate. You’ll wonder if either of them will ever attain their dream. And you’ll come to appreciate Adelicia Alklen Cheatham even more than you have if you’ve read the other books in the series. Five stars! Tamera Alexander has five series to her credit. She is a USA Today best-selling author. She is also a genuinely nice person, who cares for her readers and her fans. Her novels are well-researched and she willingly shares the research with us—down to recipes for beaten biscuits or classical music. Find out more about Tamera at TameraAlexander.com I purchased my copy of A Note Yet Unsung, so I was in no way obligated to write a favorable review.
Sigh. My paltry words could never convey the beauty of this final novel in the Belmont Mansion series. Tamera Alexander once again has created a story that resonates with the heart and soul, transporting the reader to nineteenth century Nashville, behind the curtain of the Nashville Philharmonic. As always, Alexander brings the story to life with multi-faceted, authentic personalities who walked right off the page and into my heart. Rebekah immediately garnered my sympathy as she endeavors to escape her unhappy and dangerous home situation and find safety and a livelihood to support herself. Adelicia Acklen Cheatham always simultaneously delights and intimidates me as she is a force to be reckoned with, both in society and on a personal level! Tate Whitcomb is an enigma until a peek into a hidden part of his life completely endeared him to me. Rich, exquisite prose and nuggets of truth tucked into the pages are hallmarks of Alexander's novels, and I kept sticky notes close by to flag special sections to remember. While I'm a fast reader and eagerly devour these books in a day, circumstances forced me to read more slowly over a period of a week or more, and while it was excruciating to set it aside, I savoured each moment I read it. A symphony for the soul, A Note Yet Unsung will warm your heart and stay with you long after you turn the final page. Don't miss this masterpiece! Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book free from Tamera Alexander and Baker/Bethany House for a blog tour. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
A Note Yet Unsung is a beautiful story! This third novel in the Belmont Mansion series highlights a deep love and appreciation of music, and I was fascinated by the historical details Alexander included. Alive with a richness and vibrancy that resonates through the narrative, I loved Tate and Rebekah and their emotional journey. From trials to triumphs, this pitch perfect tale captivated me from beginning to end! I received a complimentary copy of this book. No review was required, and all thoughts expressed are my own.
Believe it or not I have never read a book by Tamera. I just have never gotten around to it. But now I see what all the fuss is about. She is an extremely talented author. Reading this book was like meeting an old friend. I easily fell into step with this story. It helped, of course, that the main character was a musician. I could very much relate to her love of music. Rebekah is an easy character to like. She is struggling with her role as a female musician and something is also up with her step-father. Things that are hinted at early in the book had me very concerned for Rebekah's safety and the support she would receive from her mother. Tate is likable too (but not to Rebekah right away). But since we know his thoughts we can understand where he is coming from with the decisions he had to make. I couldn't wait to see how Tamera would unveil their relationship and how these two would fall in love. It didn't disappoint. If you enjoy historical romance I have no doubt you would enjoy this book. A copy of this book was given to me by the publisher. All opinions are my own.
Sometimes you read a book that just defies your ability to craft a review worthy of it. A Note Yet Unsung was such a book. I've read and own every single one of Tamera Alexander's books and this is her absolute best work ever! Powerful story and writing that totally blew me away. I wept through part of this book and at the end, I was crying full out loud. What a ministry to be able to put words on paper like Alexander does and touch the deepest parts of the reader's heart. Words flow from Tamera Alexander's pen like water flowing over a waterfall, falling effortlessly into a large pool to settle in the reader's heart, expanding outward to remain there in that heart for days, weeks and months. I'm sure that I won't forget this book and these characters ever. Every little part of this book is etched in my heart. There is ministry here. I know it ministered to me greatly in one certain way. I don't believe an author could write the way Alexander does without the help and power of the Holy Spirit. I truly don't. She has totally outdid herself with this book Alexander has crafted characters that just about literally leap off the pages into the reader's heart, bringing with them their emotions, their very lives. I could feel all this. I read this book in record time and it's a thick book, too. It had to end, as all books do, but I wanted to remain in those pages for a while. Just to soak up the blessings of the words on the pages. Alexander creates such vivid scenes on the pages of her books, richness dwelling in every word and scene, guaranteed to make you laugh, cry and just sigh with joy as you settle down deep into her pages. Beautifully and exquisitely written, this is a masterpiece!!! It will forever hold pride of place on my book shelves. I very highly recommend this book. I promise you will not be disappointed. (l
Tamera Alexander bids us return to the Belmont Mansion and post-Civil War Nashville in A Note Yet Unsung. Denied her one passion in life because of her gender, Rebekah Carrington becomes instead a violin tutor to Adelecia Acklen Cheatham's young daughter. As Rebekah's musical talent becomes apparent, she must help a struggling young maestro in his life's dream work, while realizing hers will not become a reality. Alexander always presents the struggles between the races and social classes with a heart-breaking realism and candid examination. She is also careful to balance out the picture with those of privilege or supposed superiority who understand that " all men are created equal" and live out that truth. Whether the opulent halls of Belmont, the lavish new opera house, or the lowly house in the hills, Alexander paints all skillfully with the master brush of a true wordsmith. Much research and detail has gone into this series, and it will leave haunting memories long after the books are closed. I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, which did not affect my opinions nor was I compelled to leave a positive review.
A Note Yet Unsung Tamera Alexander Transported to 1870's Nashville Tennessee, I became immersed in the culture and the history of this grand city. Belmont Mansion surely was quite the place in its day and Adelicia Acklen Cheatham, her mistress, a force to be reckoned with. This novel is so well researched and written, the people so well defined, I would find them just around the corner. Perhaps you, like me, were unaware that women were not permitted to play an instrument beyond the confines of society; playing in an orchestra was forbidden, playing a violin in public was downright scandalous. Enter Rebekah Carrington, a gifted violinist, who spent ten years of her youth in Vienna Austria, is determined to obtain a seat in an orchestra. How to obtain an audition is impossible. Only one orchestra in the entire US has accepted female violinist, the New York City orchestra. Her training in Vienna Austria included transcribing music, which suits her for a position assisting Maestro Nathaniel Tate Whitcomb, Nashville's new orchestra leader. The Maestro hires her as his assistant so that she might help him composing the symphony that must be written in time for the Grand Opening of Nashville's new opera hall. Will they get the symphony written in time? Why is the maestro disappearing every weekend? Where does he go? This novel had everything a reader could want in a novel. Highly recommended.
A Note Yet Unsung is book 3 in A Belmont Mansion Novel series written by Tamera Alexander. Rebekah Carrington moved to Vienna shortly after her father's death. While living there she was there she worked for a musician, often transcribing his music. She also learned how to play several music instruments. Her grandmother has past away and she is has returned to Nashville. Now wanting to live with her mother and step father, she allies for jobs the day she arrives. Rebekah manages to get an interview with the maestro of the Nashville Philharmonic orchestra. She does not get the job of his assistant but one of his co-workers gives her the names of Adelicia Cheatham, mistress of Belmont Mansion to apply for a job. Rebekah gets a job working Adelicia's daughter's violin teacher. Adelicia hires members of the Nashville orchestra to play music for one of her events. The musicians end early and Rebekah takes it upon herself to play more music. The orchestra maestro, Nathaniel hears her and goes in search of who is playing. Situations bring Rebekah and Nathaniel together and Rebekah eventually starts working for him. Nathaniel is very hard o n the musicians he is working with. He accuses them of not playing the music properly, but he is actually losing his hearing. Rebekah hides the truth of her background from Nathaniel as women are not allowed in orchestras. With Rebekah's help, Nathaniel is trying to finish his symphony for the opening of the new opera hall. This is a wonderful book. The story is so well written that it easy to hear the music while reading the story. At 422 pages this is not a quick read book, but it is very enjoyable and full of history. This story shows the life as it was for a woman. To be consider a weaker person than a man. It also brings out that people considered where you grew up as to what you could do as an adult. It has some mystery and suspense as well as romance in the story. The parts of the book that really impressed me where when Rebekah visited Nathaniel's family and when Nathaniel's could not play his father's favorite song, Rebekah did. She knew her secret about her music ability would come out, but her feeling for Nathaniel's and his family were more important. I also thought that Nathaniel was very fortunate to be allowed to go to school and develop his talents but he loved his family so much he returned to them very often and helped them out financially. The books in the series are stand alone stories. But characters from the first stories can carry forward, so reading the books in order is encouraged. The book is about a real mansion in Nashville, Tennessee. And the author has done research to keep the story true to history. The author has also set up a web site that allows you to look at photos of the mansion and listen to music at www.tameraalexander.com I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishing. I have written an honest review.
This is book three in the Belmont Mansion series, however it is a stand alone novel. There are characters in the first two books that we see in this one, yet they are not in the forefront of this novel. Rebekah Carrington has a mind of her own and talent most men would be envious of, yet because she is a woman will she ever be able to preform on stage? Rebekah is determined and strong willed, when she continually buts head with Nathaniel Tate Whitcomb, will there be more accomplished together or apart? Nathaniel Tate Whitcomb is trying to make a mark on the world through his music. Will Rebekah be a blessing or a curse? Tate and Rebekah both have a past they want to remain private, yet sometimes your past must be confronted before the present can truly be lived. Their love of music and the sparks that fly between them is great. Tamera Alexander always does such a great job at keeping your interest, writing her dialogue, developing her characters and throwing in just enough laughter and romance.
Tamera writes amazing southern fiction set in Nashville in the Reconstruction years. In A Note Yet Unsung, Rebekah is a professional violinist in an era that doesn't allow women to do such scandalous things like perform with an orchestra. She's a woman who doesn't fit and can't got home. But she can't leave either. This book will suck you into the time period, the setting, and a story that won't let go. This book has a depth to the challenges facing the characters that adds such richness to the story. I will thinking about this book for weeks if not months to come.