Book Review | “A Woman of Note” by Carol M. Cram

Posted Thursday, 15 October, 2015 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

Acquired Book By: I am becoming a regular tour hostess and reviewer for BookSparks, as I began to host for them in the Spring ahead of #SRC2015. I am posting my Summer Challenge reviews during October and November due to the aftereffects of severe lightning storms during July and August. As I make amends for the challenge reads I was unable to post until Autumn; I am also catching up with my YA challenge reads and the blog tours I missed as well. This blog tour marks one of the books I felt curious to read independent of the previous selections. I look forward to continuing to work with BookSparks once I am fully current with the stories I am reading for review.

I received a complimentary copy of “A Woman of Note” direct from the publicist at BookSparks in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why this title stood out to me to read:

I personally grew up listening to classical music – either by vinyl records my family had collected or live in person at symphonies and musical concerts. I was instantly drawn to the verbosity of the classical composers and the emotionally keen insight their chords of choice drew out of their compositions. There is an eloquence and a hidden language to classical music – it’s so very evoking of thought and feeling it’s hard to listen to a piece and not become moved by the experience.

I’ve had my eye on Indie Writers for awhile now, and being a book blogger I try to seek out hosting an independently published author whenever a chance presents itself. I must admit, I was a bit surprised Lake Union Publishing is attached to a particular online giant, but it’s the stories the authors are telling which has given me the chance to celebrate their novels. For this reason, I am thankful I found Catherine Ryan Hyde’s The Language of Hoofbeats about a blended family of at-risk foster children who find a safe haven after placement and adoption. (review) And, quite surprised to find the heart-warming historical tale of The Shepherdess of Siena by Linda Lafferty where I was caught up inside a beautiful horse drama. (review) Sometimes the best stories are the ones which unexpected alight in your hands to read!

And, yet this isn’t my first musical fiction story I’ve ruminated about as I have started to find a secret niche of stories emerging of late where music is centered into the heart of the novel. Imagine my joy in being able to travel through the different centuries and imaginations of the writers who are bringing music into a literary showcase?

You can happily view my other thoughts on behalf of the following stories, where I reveal a few more tidbits about my own appreciation and passion for the musical arts:

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Note on the Cover Art: I felt the portrait of Isabette on the cover was quite a clever one to be showcased because it showed her passion for her artistry. It has a very touching simplicity to it and reflects well the century in which the story is taking place. I liked the little details of the rose on her dress to the crimson colour of her outfit to the bracelets she’s wearing. It gives a small impression of the character’s personality whilst clearing stating how keenly important music was to her as it was her soul’s passion.

Book Review | “A Woman of Note” by Carol M. CramA Woman of Note
by Carol M. Cram

Virtuoso pianist Isabette Grüber captivates audiences in the salons and concert halls of early nineteenth-century Vienna. Yet in a profession dominated by men, Isabette longs to compose and play her own music—a secret she keeps from both her lascivious manager and her resentful mother. She meets and loves Amelia Mason, a dazzling American singer with her own secrets, and Josef Hauser, an ambitious young composer. But even they cannot fully comprehend the depths of Isabette’s talent.

Her ambitions come with a price when Isabette embarks on a journey that delicately walks the line between duty and passion. Amid heartbreak and sacrifice, music remains her one constant. With cameos from classical music figures such as Chopin, Schubert, and Berlioz, A Woman of Note is an intricately crafted and fascinating tale about one woman’s struggle to find her soul’s song in a dissonant world.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781503946835

Also by this author: Author Q&A with Carol M. Cram

on 8th September 2015

Pages: 358

Published By: Lake Union Publishing
Available Formats: Paperback, Audiobook, and Ebook

About Carol M. Cram

Carol M. Cram

Before her debut as a critically acclaimed author of historical fiction, Carol M. Cram wrote dozens of bestselling college textbooks for courses in computer applications and communications. She served on the faculty at Capilano University in North Vancouver, Canada, for more than two decades and facilitated workshops for corporate and government clients in her role as vice president of Clear Communication Consultants. Carol holds a master’s degree in drama from the University of Toronto and a master’s degree in business administration from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. She lives on Bowen Island near Vancouver, British Columbia, with her husband, painter Gregg Simpson.

My Review of A Woman of Note:

Isabette has a gift for music despite her upbringing by a mother who is focused more on her own future than that of her daughter’s. Her sister was a musician who influenced Isabette’s path before she lost her ability to function and was sent away. It’s a somber opening to the novel, to see how Isabette is yearning to prove to herself and to others that she can handle the notes by the composers who in her living era were supremely respected. The story picks up on the heels of Beethoven’s death, one of the composers Cram has knitted into the background to provide realism and buoyancy to the story’s heart.

Amelia brings in the sunshine to Isabette’s life, giving her a chance to sprout her wings and move in circles that she might not have realised possible previously because so much of Isabette’s life and career are controlled by her mother or manager. Amelia from America has an effervescent personality and a charming grace of winning you over by her joyful spirit. She’s a good compliment to Isabette who hasn’t yet sorted out her own strength of voice and character; still holding a bit to the shadows, whilst sorting out how to proceed on her path.

Josef is an unpublished composer who is trying to leave his mark on Vienna by fusing his every waking hour into editing his compositions to be credited as worthy of publication. He’s kind to his friend who is less successful but his heart is fuelled so truly to this singular goal, he is a bit blinded by what else is going on around him. It was quite interesting how on a lark of a moment in time, his path crossed with Isabette’s at a place where he wasn’t expecting to hear anything worth remembering.

A Woman of Note moves forward through Isabette and Amelia’s friendship, as both of the young girls are inspiring each other to be honest about what they want and what they want to do. Amelia lightens Isabette’s mood by showing her how to step out of the shadows of her mother’s controlling hand whereas I felt Isabette grounds Amelia a bit as she tends to be fanciful when she needs to be centered. Each of them bring different perspectives to women working in the music industry; one plays the piano with a touch of precision and the other has an angelic voice.

As Isabette finds herself in a domestic way and living as a wife, the complexities of remaining true to her own musical passion puts a bit of a damper on her husband’s dreams. She reaches a point where she has to decide what is ultimately right for her and what will give her the most joy out of the life she wishes to live. It’s a story where there are different avenues the characters can choose to walk down, some of which were not in their original plans but nonetheless could be fruitful and lead to happiness if they are willing to amend their dreams.

Cram balanced her coming-of age story with a living presence of the composers we love:

I felt Cram found a balance between telling this coming-of age story by showing a living presence of the composers we have come to love who were still alive in Isabette’s time. I appreciated how she wrote a story from the female perspective about how to break into music during a time where men stole the spotlight from every angle. Even so, there were composers who never could get their works published of whom might have been equally delightful to hear as the composers whose work made it through the grunt work of proving their salt.

There was a moment where Isabette plays one of her own compositions for her mother, moving her to an emotional keel whilst realising she couldn’t relate the true origins of who composed it afterwards. It spoke to the heart of the story, where Isabette felt a bit trapped by her gender and the traditional viewings of musicians being led by men. She was able to break through that absurdity if only for a brief reprieve but to truly breach it, it would take more than she felt she had to give.

This is where I believe Cram did a wonderful job at endearing us to Isabette – showing us how hard she strove for peer acceptance for her abilities whilst giving us a firm back-story on the tone of Vienna during a time where there were too many musicians and not enough avenues for them all to become employed.

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This book review is courtesy of: BookSparks

The blog tours with BookSparks are quite interesting for book bloggers because none us truly know whose made the blog tour until we try to find each other after the fact! It’s quite a lesson in serendipity to see who is getting the chance to read the same title as you are and finding who else appreciates hosting for BookSparks. The publicity team at BookSparks continue to be gracious and lovely to work as a tour hostess and reviewer.

A Woman of Note Blog Tour via BookSparks

Readers | Books Bloggers : Impressions of A Woman of Note:

{ a quick search + the twitterverse provided me the road map! }

This is not an ordered list as I simply found links in succession of each other.  Be sure to follow the ‘A Woman of Note’ on Twitter to find more reader impressions and guest author features. Likewise as most of these bloggers did not mention if they were on the blog tour, I am unsure if they simply requested the book for review independent of the tour or are honestly a part of it.

A Woman of Note: Review & Q&A | I’m Lost in Books

Review of: A Woman of Note | The Avid Reader

Book Review: A Woman of Note | Mostly A Book Blog: Leeanna.Me

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Be sure to visit my Bookish Events for (2015)
to see what I’m hosting next for BookSparks!

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I look forward to reading your thoughts and comments on behalf of this review. Especially if you read the novel or were thinking you might be inclined to read it. I appreciate hearing different points of view especially amongst bloggers who picked up the same novel to read on a blog tour.

Comment Box Banner made by Jorie in Canva.

{SOURCES: The cover art for “A Woman of Note”, the synopsis, author biography, and author photograph of Carol M. Cram along with the blog tour badge were provided by BookSparks and used with permission. Comment Box Banner made by Jorie in Canva. Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2015.

I’m a social reader | I tweet as I read

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)

read more >> | Visit my Story Vault of Book Reviews | Policies & Review Requests | Contact Jorie


Posted Thursday, 15 October, 2015 by jorielov in 19th Century, Austria, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, BookSparks, Coming-Of Age, Composer, Historical Fiction, Indie Author, Mental Health, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Musical Fiction | Non-Fiction, Psychiatric Facilities, Vulgarity in Literature, Women's Fiction

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