Letters to the Pianist is S.D. Mayes fascinating, gripping, emotive, and harrowing tale of a family torn apart in wartime London – of a plucky daughter on a quest to keep her family together, to find her father – of a man without memory, who discovers his talent and falls into a bed of roses. Roses have ugly thorns though and in this case, carry a gruesome legacy…
London, 1941. Despite the danger, Joseph Goldberg is adamant their family, with their three children, Ruth, Hannah, and Gabi, stays together. One fateful night, the family home is bombed. Life changes dramatically for the children – without parents, they have to live with an aunt and uncle. Unluckily for Ruth, her siblings are sent away to Bournemouth. There, Hannah and Gabi start feeling happy again until tragedy hits once more.
“And finally, I knew. That dreams and wishes and fairy tales were like icing on a
mouldycake – they can’t hide the truth – because when you take a proper bite, you choke.”
– Ruth Goldberg, 1941
Meanwhile, a man without memory has been admitted to the London hospital and the psychologist takes a special interest. To both the doctor’s and the patient’s utter surprise, he, Edward now, proves to be a gifted piano player. With a beautiful woman who’s interested in him, a promising piano career, his life seems to move forward. Then he receives a letter from the past and also realises, his new life has its disadvantages…
Wow. I’m blown away by this work of historical fiction. It’s emotive and shocking, insightful and harrowing, compelling and gripping. Ruth is such a lovely character, a brave little girl carrying the world on her shoulders. A world of responsibilities, of being the eldest sibling, of taking care of her own safety too… She’s a wonderful girl, I love her. Her forgiveness is something we should all strive for.
‘Letters to the Pianist’ is multi-layered, it entwines personal lives with England during WWII, it gives us a peek into wartime life. It also makes us aware of ‘the enemy within’ of thinking you do the right thing but at the same time, hurting those you love most. Those that are dependent on you. Joe is a fab character, still, I felt sometimes I wanted to shake him for his naivety, for abandoning his children…
I’d like to mention one more character, one whose personality sparkled from the pages: Aunt Betty – glamorous, lovely, delightful, and elegant Betty with her petite boutique who opens her heart and home to Hannah and Gabi.
Suspenseful and thrilling, this is an engaging tale, woven against historical facts and events – a book you won’t be able to put down until you’ve reached the gripping climax at the end! Highly recommended.
About the Author
S.D. Mayes worked as a journalist for nearly twenty years before turning her hand to fiction. Inspired by the bizarre but factual events of Hitler’s obsession with the supernatural, along with her mother’s terrifying wartime memories, Letters to the Pianist is her first historical suspense novel.
Originally from the West Country, she currently lives in Berkshire, United Kingdom.
S.D. Mayes on Social Media:
Amazon Author Page
‘Letters to the Pianist’ is available at Amazon: Getbook.at/LetterstothePianist
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