Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Counterpoint: Dylan's Story by Ruth Sims

At eighteen Dylan Rutledge has one obsession: music. He believes his destiny is to be the greatest composer of the rapidly approaching twentieth century. Only Laurence Northcliff, a young history master at The Venerable Bede School for Young Gentlemen, believes in Dylan’s talent and encourages his dream, not realizing Dylan is in love with him.

But Dylan’s passion and belief in his future come at a high price. They will alienate him from his family and lead him on a rocky path fraught with disappointment, rejection, and devastating loss that kills his dream. A forbidden love could bring the dream back to life and rescue Dylan from despair and bitterness, but does he have the courage to reach out and take it? Will he deny the music that rules his soul?

Reviewer: BlackTulip
This story was such a roller coaster ride of emotions, that I don't know where to begin. I was literally engulfed by the book and I had some difficulty trying to emerged from it. As incredible as it sounds it left me nervously exhausted. Unlike other books that very swiftly fade away, this one continues to haunt me...

The thing that characterizes this novel is that it takes place over a long period of time thereby allowing the writer to take her time with her story. At a slow pace you are able to connect with all the characters and become intimate with them.

There are two wonderful and powerful love stories here. It begins with Dylan, as a young boy falling in love with his teacher and tutor Laurence. When Laurence disappears from Dylan's life some twelve years later, after a certain amount of time Dylan who is an older man at the time falls in love with a young violinist Geoffrey.

It is Dylan's journey of discovery of life! He has the arrogance of youth, he is very stubborn, impatient, and certain of so many things. He lives only for his music and he is the despair of his family and teachers in general. The only one that believes in him is Laurence. Pursuing his dream will cost him dearly, he will lose everything that is precious to him - family, security, and even Laurence for a time. They lose sight of each other in England when Laurence resign from his position, but they find themselves together again by chance in Paris, free from the English law and able at last to love each other!

Because of the length of this book, we have the opportunity to see Dylan mature little by little. We are able to share his frustration and disillusions. He will not conform to what is expected of him. This attitude at some point can be admired but at some other times it can be annoying and irritating as it closes many doors for him.

Laurence is a wonderful character that acts as a counterbalance here and tries to smooth things over. He loves without reserve, guiding, helping, and soothing. They are intricately connected to each other by their passion and this passion feeds Dylan's music. They have a rather uncomplicated love story but a very intense one.

And then the unthinkable happens, but I will not elaborate more here ...

Time stands still for Dylan. He has lost his fire, his passion, and his music; there is only coldness, loneliness, emptiness ... nothingness!

He cannot live in Paris anymore and he decides to return home. The Dylan that comes back to England is a different person. Life has its own way of teaching us lessons that allows us to evolve, thank God for that. Even after the worst there is still hope.

Dylan will meet again with Maestro Schoenberg and his protégé Geoffrey, he briefly met them in Paris. Geoffrey Dohnanyi has a Gypsy heritage and despite being extremely gifted, he is rejected by society. It gives a goal to Dylan, make society accept Geoffrey's talent. He is such an inspiration to him that Dylan against all odds seems to have found his way again with music.

Geoffrey is a very affectionate and caring young man who comes into Dylan's life when he needed it, giving a new meaning to his life. He has to let go of Laurence to get on with his life. Thanks to Geoffrey, Dylan is able to hear his music again and to feel passion a second time.

But fate strikes another time and the story takes another tragic turn. Their lives and love are put to the test. Once again there is tragedy and desperation but it will all end well.

Ruth Sims succeeds in intermixing very craftily real-life artists and fictional ones giving an exceptional depth to her novel. It is very clear too, that her research on Paris at that time was extremely well done. I was born, raised, and lived in Paris for forty years, and I've never felt something ring so true and be so realistic. The description of London in general and prison conditions in particular at the time seems dreadfully realistic also.

This book was awesome from start to finish. It was rather long but never boring. This story grabbed me at the beginning and didn't want to free me in the end but I have no regrets. I give this book 5/5 but if I could I would give more!

Publisher: DreamSpinner Press


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