+Book Review+ Tempesta’s Dream: A story of Love, Friendship, & Opera by Vincent B. “Chip” LoCoco

Posted Monday, 21 July, 2014 by jorielov , , , , 2 Comments

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Tempesta’s Dream: A Story of Love, Friendship, & Opera by Vincent B. “Chip” LoCoco

Tempesta's Dream Virtual Blog Tour with HFVBT

Published By: Cefalutana Press,26 September, 2013
Official Author Websites: Site | @VincentBLoCoco| Blog
Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook Page Count: 264

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Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a tour stop on the “Tempesta’s Dream” virtual book tour through HFVBT: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the author Vincent B. “Chip” LoCoco, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Tempesta's Dream by Vincent B. LoCoco Book Synopsis:

Tempesta’s Dream is the story of an aspiring opera singer coming of age in Milan; a tender and moving love story; a testament to the bonds of friendship; and, at its core, a tribute to the beauty, majesty and miracle of opera.

Giovanni Tempesta always dreamed of becoming an opera tenor and one day singing from the stage of the La Scala Opera House in his hometown of Milan, Italy. But with no real training, his dream has little chance for fulfillment . . . One day, he meets and immediately falls in love with Isabella Monterone, a dark-haired beauty, whose father, a very rich and powerful Milanese Judge, refuses to allow his daughter to date a penniless musician . . . At the lowest part of his life, Giovanni comes upon the Casa di Riposo, a rest home for musicians established by the great opera composer, Giuseppe Verdi . . . It is at the Casa Verdi that Giovanni meets Alfredo del Monte, a blind, retired opera singer with a secretive past who gradually becomes his mentor . . . Could Alfredo be the one person who could assist Giovanni in finding the break he needs? Or is Giovanni destined to be on the cusp of reaching his life long dream, only to find failure? . . . Tempesta’s Dream, at its core, is an Italian opera love story. The author tells the story simply and swiftly with an ending that is both an emotional and poignant moment of both “amicizia e amore” (friendship and love.)

Author Biography:

Vincent B. "Chip" LoCoco

Chip LoCoco was born and raised in New Orleans. He is an attorney, with an emphasis on estate planning. A lifelong lover of music, Chip’s passion for opera dates back many years now. He has seen operas all over the world at some of the greatest opera houses. Chip has been asked to give talks on opera as well as the Sicilian-American culture of New Orleans.

Chip’s second novel, Bellafortuna, has been named a Short List Finalist in the William Faulkner Writing Competition. A date for publication has not been set yet for his second novel.

Chip is married to his wife of 15 years, Wendy. They have two children, Matthew and Ellie and a beagle, named Scout. They reside in their beloved city of New Orleans, where if you try to find them on a Sunday in the Fall, they will be somewhere rooting on their Saints.


On the Revelations within the Author’s Note:

The author and I share a mutual thread of heritage and passion for music — as I was raised in a very artistic minded home, where art, culture, and music flourished. My grandparents had a particular interest in Japanese art and music, whereas my parents introduced me to Native American culture, religion, and art, as much as a definitive zest for classical music and compositions. On this level, my favourite ‘music’ as a child were actual motion picture soundtracks, specifically not the ‘pop’ track versions, the ‘scores’, by such conductors as John Williams. The 1812 overture was an especially keen favourite but that goes to the root of my patriotic birthright. I listened to a heap of ‘singles’ on vinyl editions, which gave me the propensity as an adult to seek out traditional record shoppes and restore my fever of excitement over collecting not only ‘new’ limited releases but the older classics from the early 20th Century straight through to classical opera.

Attending symphonies and orchestra performances is what lent my ear to listening to opera – in the traditional sense, the modern band versions, and of course rock opera from the theatrical stage! I love how music can evoke such an emotional connection and stir our souls into an elevated experience of heart, mind, and spirit. Music reaches us on a different level than vocalised speech, as it speaks directly to who we are past our humanity. Reading about the author’s own past growing up in a creative and spirited environment which celebrated the arts, most specifically the focus on music in its most classical forms, gave me a renewed belief that there are others out there who lived a similar life to my own. I had to nod in agreement with him about how there are differences between our childhoods and this modern world we are living in which tends to eradicate the traditional arts, cultural experiences, and musical traditions that have sustained the world for millennia. Yet I have started to seen a renewed interest in not only re-attributing the old world arts and crafts, but to give a new appreciation for the classical arts as a whole. This positive step forward renews my own heart and soul on the matter, as life without music (or any of the classical arts & crafts) is a life without a creative lifeblood cast onto the wings of our spirits.

I appreciated hearing about the conversations and visitations he had with Mrs. Cellini as it gave a personal glimpse into his writing life that not every writer shares with his readership. I like hearing snippets of where research takes writers on their discovery and journey as they research their novels. This gave an added dimension to the spirit he wove into the text and for that he had my appreciation!

My Review of Tempesta’s Dream:

I struggled at first to gain my traction with the story (of which is outlined below), as I was attempting to understand the writer’s choice in style. I also felt a bit jolted by the time differences of the central lead character who is first presented as a young boy talking to his father and then is magically presented as a twenty-five year old fully aware of his life’s path, and working towards reaching his goals to work professionally as a tenor. My mind shifted back to another musical fiction novel I read this year: The Tenor. I think I might have been spoilt on the building of a central character’s path into the world of opera, as this novel has a more abrupt start than the last.

The interesting bit for me was seeing the seed planted between Giovanni and Isabella, whose paths intersected whilst he was singing at a ristorante (an Italian restaurant) whilst her family was at dinner. The gentle nudgings of his curiosity over her from seeing her for the first time and her slight hesitation to go against her father’s wishes was a very classic meeting to bolster a romance between two opposite sides of the track. I always appreciate a romance and love story where the underdog falls for a maiden of means, and where the maiden generally differs to her heart’s desire rather than to give in to her family’s prejudicial tendencies.

Despite my initial concerns in the beginning of the novel, Tempesta’s Dream finds the footing I was hoping to see happen, and the story becomes an enjoyable arc of one man’s longing to prove himself not only in life but in the profession of his choice. To curate a long-lasting career out of opera or any field within the artistic realms, the passion is not enough to encourage a profession, one has to be unyielding in determination and strengthened through disappointments and setbacks. As we follow along in Tempesta’s shoes, we start to see the work involved in taking a dream into our living reality, nurturing it and guiding it into fruition. LoCoco’s approach in crafting the story is to be honest about each leg of the journey, the high moments intermixed with the frustration of sorting out a path that has to be carved rather than followed. And, as a story-teller he asks of his character to consider what truly brings him happiness and where his heart is truly leading him to go.

Towards the latter half of the novel, I appreciated seeing the honest exploration of what happens when your dreams do not materalise in the way you had envisioned them, and how individually a choice has to be made as to how we either handle the rejective pursuit of our dreams or abandon everything we attempted to achieve outright. This is a story for dreamweavers and dreammakers – to ride through the turbulence of life whilst having a raw belief in one’s confidence and talent gifted with the hope of it being shared. A story which begs the question of how our life is best lived and how we approach what happens to us in life will result in the different paths which erupt out of nowhere yet challenge us to see past the forks in the road.

Fly in the Ointment:

The only bits that I had a struggle to understand in LoCoco’s writing style is that he has translated the ‘story’ within the opera’s into story format, to where as within the Prologue itself, I did not realise at first that I was ‘reading passages’ of Madame Butterfly! He also shifts from translating Italian words in the context of the paragraphs to only including the Italian phrases without the English translations. (a trend which vacillates continuously) This was a bit of a disappointment, as I was just starting to appreciate the duality of the languages being present as a way to insert myself into the story more directly and with the foreknowledge of what the Italian words were expressing to me. From the Author’s Note I understood the translations of the opera and arias were included in the novel, however, I think if there was a bit of a difference in how they were written and inserted would have helped – or even, if there was a distinctiveness to knowing when we were ‘reading through a passage’ verse being in the narrative voice of the novel where Tempesta is present.

It reminded me a bit when writers include letters and correspondences?! Not every writer puts those notes and letters in italics and it is oft a struggle to know where they begin and end. I prefer ‘special inclusions’ such as this to be indented and in italics for a clear definitive order as in this way, you know your ‘exiting the stage’ so to speak and appreciating an addition to the story itself. Without this distinction, the story blurs and you are a bit jolted from context and heart.

I was also confused on the Italian use of “Prologo” but a shift back to English with “Chapter 1”? Why not own the Italian heritage and roots of the novel and carry it through start to finish!? This is a slight issue that I mentioned a moment ago by disclosing that some of the Italian is translated and some is not at all. I’d prefer less shifting between cultures and either have it streamlined or not included. It felt awkward to me as a reader. A suggestion would be to say “Chapter Uno”, etc as found on this page of Italian Counting as a Reference on About.com. This would then continue the bridge between Italian and English as a literary style. Some novels and stories include Latin as frequently as LoCoco includes Italian, so I do not foresee an issue to continue on the original thread of his idea.

Starting in Chapter 3 there is a better segue between the opera and the narrative, but I still found it difficult to always transition in and out of the languages which were not always translated.

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{SOURCES: “Tempesta’s Dream” Book Cover, synopsis, tour badge, author photograph and HFVBT badge were provided by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and were used by permission. Blog Tour badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Bookish Events badge created by Jorie in Canva.}

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Related Articles:

Guest Post “A Reflection on Opera & Some Ways it has Changed” – (hf-connection.com)

Guest Post “Achieving Realism in Historical Fiction without Travelling to Location” – (idsoratherbereading.com)

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Monday, 21 July, 2014 by jorielov in 20th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Book Trailer, Composer, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Fly in the Ointment, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Italy, Life in Another Country, Life Shift, Lyrical Quotations, Mental Health, Musical Fiction | Non-Fiction, New Orleans, Opera History, Opera Singers, Star-Crossed Lovers

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2 responses to “+Book Review+ Tempesta’s Dream: A story of Love, Friendship, & Opera by Vincent B. “Chip” LoCoco

  1. Andrea (aka Rokinrev)

    Oh, I was lucky enough to read an ARC of this when it first came out! I reviewed it on GoodReads, lent it to my organist @ church….and will probably never see it again! I simply fell in love with this book. Run, don’t walk to find it

    • Hallo Andrea!

      :) How lovely to see you this morning! How lucky indeed! I have recently received quite of few ARCs myself, which came as happy surprises as I generally receive finished copies for review purposes. I do not mind. I get all giddy inside when a book arrives — wondering what I will find inside, how it will affect me, what my final thoughts will be… I need to check out your list on GoodReads! lol I have a feeling we read a lot of the similar authors and stories! Thanks for dropping by as I loved hearing your own experience with the novel! And, you never know,… you just might be surprised and get your book back! :)

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