Tormented by guilt. Haunted by scandal. Freed by love.What is there not to love about Song of Seduction by Carrie Lofty? There's love, passion, angst, a different and gorgeous setting, excellent historical details and beautiful writing to top it all off.
Eight years ago, composer Arie De Voss claimed his late mentor's final symphony as his own and became an icon. But fame has a price: fear of discovery now poisons his attempts to compose a redemptive masterpiece. Until a new muse appears, intoxicating and inspiring him...
Mathilda Heidel renounced her own musical gift to marry, seeking a quiet life to escape the shame surrounding her birth. Sudden widowhood finds her tempted by song once more. An unexpected introduction to her idol, Arie De Voss, renews Mathilda's passion for the violin—and ignites a passion for the man himself.
But when lust and lies reach a crescendo, Arie will be forced to choose: love or truth?
In Song of Seduction, Lofty weaves a story where both main characters are flawed and in need of redemption and/or forgiveness in one way or another. They need to be accepted and loved as they are, for whom they are and forgiven for past injuries to others. I've always thought that flawed characters provide a writer with a greater opportunity of digging deeper into them, not just into their past histories but even down into their very souls to make them truly three-dimensional and believable. Carrie Lofty achieves this brilliantly in Song of Seduction.
It's 1804 and winter in Salzburg, Austria. Renowned musician and composer Arie De Voss arrives in the city looking for a patron and hopefully some students so he can continue to write his latest masterpiece. That's how he ends up at Lord Venner's home as the entertainment for the evening. Arie is best known for his first symphony, Love and Freedom, a composition that we almost immediately discover, he stole from his dying music master. He is obviously tormented with guilt and self-disgust over his past actions and not willing or able to enjoy the fame that music has brought him.
Arie is socially inept, rude and sarcastic to say the least, and hates and resents having to perform his music in these types of venues. To him these public performances are a necessary evil. Drinking before the performance is the only way he sees himself enduring an evening at the Venners. The only interesting part of the evening turns out to be his introduction to Mathilda Heidel, a widow and close friend of the Venners.
Mathilda first heard De Voss play Love and Freedom when she was sixteen years old and his symphony inspired more than just her inner musician to play the violin. There's hero-worship there on her part, and through the years he's played a central role in her personal fantasies. Tilda is young and alone except for the Venners, who took her into their household after her husband died.
She gave up playing the violin, repressing the inner musician after deciding to marry and lead the life of a doctor's wife. At first when her friend Lady Venner suggests that she should take violin lessons with De Voss, Tilda is reluctant, but after hearing his performance that night she's again inspired and agrees. At first Arie thinks that Mathilda is not really a musician, and just wants an excuse for a seduction. Instead to his complete amazement she turns out to be brilliant both as a violin player and as a composer.
The story has a slow beginning and Lofty takes her time with character development, but believe me it picks up and then it's worth every reading minute. Arie and Tilda don't fall into each other's arms immediately. The music is an important part of their initial relationship, however it creates an intimacy that helps the development of deeper and meaningful feelings on both sides. I love that the characters, especially Tilda, react and behave exactly how I would expect people from that time period to react and behave. As a result, Mathilda's conflicts felt real for a woman that lived in 1804 under her particular circumstances.
The love scenes between Arie and Mathilda are intense and passionate with a capital P. There's a sense of freedom and eroticism in them that I just didn't expect to find in this book, but then... I didn't expect to find the rest either. The love scenes reflect Arie and Mathilda's feelings for each other, as well as the intensity of their musicians' souls -- Lofty conveys this beautifully. Their love and romance is also well done as both Mathilda and Arie learn to love and accept each other as they are with all their foibles and past sins.
The writing is gorgeous too. Not only can this couple’s passion, torment and guilt be deeply felt, but in addition the music can almost be heard coming off the pages as Lofty describes Ari playing the piano and Mathilda the violin. The setting and time period are also so well conveyed that I was transported to the city of Salzburg in 1804, and the historical details and personages are there in spades as well for those readers who enjoy them.
Song of Seduction is a complete historical romance. Despite the slow beginning it has it all, from love and a romance riddled with conflict between compelling characters, to character depth and historical details in a beautiful setting, to excellent writing. I couldn't ask for more.
Category: Historical Romance
Series: Followed by Portrait of Seduction
Publisher/Release: Carina Press - June 7, 2010
Source: I won this book at a Desert Island Keepers book blog giveaway.
Visit Carrie Lofty here.
Song of Seduction
Portrait of Seduction - May 2, 2011