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Forbidden Melody

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Emma Harvey is a brilliant and gifted young pianist, accepted into one of the most prestigious music conservatories in the country and prepared to do whatever it takes to accomplish her dreams of playing professionally. With a renowned jazz musician for a father and a world-famous mentor growing up, she is convinced her path is easy. Until her world is suddenly silenced wh Emma Harvey is a brilliant and gifted young pianist, accepted into one of the most prestigious music conservatories in the country and prepared to do whatever it takes to accomplish her dreams of playing professionally. With a renowned jazz musician for a father and a world-famous mentor growing up, she is convinced her path is easy. Until her world is suddenly silenced when she loses her hearing. Juliet Hamilton is a prodigy violinist. First chair for nearly fifteen years in the New York Philharmonic and a professor at the conservatory, she is engulfed in her career with no time for distractions. Especially not a beautiful young graduate student with a spirited personality that challenges her every step. When Emma and Juliet’s paths cross in the classroom, their connection is undeniable. When their music comes together, it is unstoppable. The bond they begin to form threatens to challenge more than just their opinions of music. Friendships, ethics, and careers are tested as Emma and Juliet find themselves lost in a concerto of fiery passion and heartbreak. 105,000 words


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Emma Harvey is a brilliant and gifted young pianist, accepted into one of the most prestigious music conservatories in the country and prepared to do whatever it takes to accomplish her dreams of playing professionally. With a renowned jazz musician for a father and a world-famous mentor growing up, she is convinced her path is easy. Until her world is suddenly silenced wh Emma Harvey is a brilliant and gifted young pianist, accepted into one of the most prestigious music conservatories in the country and prepared to do whatever it takes to accomplish her dreams of playing professionally. With a renowned jazz musician for a father and a world-famous mentor growing up, she is convinced her path is easy. Until her world is suddenly silenced when she loses her hearing. Juliet Hamilton is a prodigy violinist. First chair for nearly fifteen years in the New York Philharmonic and a professor at the conservatory, she is engulfed in her career with no time for distractions. Especially not a beautiful young graduate student with a spirited personality that challenges her every step. When Emma and Juliet’s paths cross in the classroom, their connection is undeniable. When their music comes together, it is unstoppable. The bond they begin to form threatens to challenge more than just their opinions of music. Friendships, ethics, and careers are tested as Emma and Juliet find themselves lost in a concerto of fiery passion and heartbreak. 105,000 words

30 review for Forbidden Melody

  1. 5 out of 5

    Farah

    This book deserves all the attention it's getting, it is one of the best romance out there, it should be read by anyone who loves love. The playlist generously supplied by Ms.Robbins would be a great company when you read this instead of the background sound from the TV. Thank you Kara, for the info on the Forbidden Melody's playlist on Spotify. When I read this, I didn't think of Spotify, YouTube was my search engine. I rated it 4 at first, due to Juliet's father but every great romance needed This book deserves all the attention it's getting, it is one of the best romance out there, it should be read by anyone who loves love. The playlist generously supplied by Ms.Robbins would be a great company when you read this instead of the background sound from the TV. Thank you Kara, for the info on the Forbidden Melody's playlist on Spotify. When I read this, I didn't think of Spotify, YouTube was my search engine. I rated it 4 at first, due to Juliet's father but every great romance needed a villain so 5 stars allocated by Goodreads and all the stars in the galaxy for the story and the music. Ms.Robbins, thank you for this extraordinary book. I think this is my first forbidden romance read in Lesfic. Okay you know the blurb, now let me try my best to wave my magic wand and tell you why I have mix feelings about this story. Emma Harvey is a natural born musician, she's diagnosed with a disease that causes her to loose her hearing but that does not stop Emma to soar higher than the others. I admire her character, she is strong, determine, talented, swoony and despite being younger she's much more confident in pursuing the forbidden relationship with Juliet Hamilton. Juliet Hamilton, another brilliant musician, a violinist. Her father is an original asshole and have been controlling her life since forever. Through him Juliet and Emma meet and from the first meeting, the spark is there and the anticipation gets bigger and bigger as they connect through their love in music and the uncontrollable attraction that they have for each other. Reading their scenes especially when they're playing their instruments where they bare their souls and connect through the music is truly amazing. I'll let Ms.Robbins describe it. "It was almost as if we were the only two people, in a room of nearly a hundred, playing together. Just a piano and a violin. Two instruments that were meant to be heard together." (view spoiler)[ they were seperated for 3 years because of Juliet's father, both remained single + pining for each other. Thankfully it didn't take a whole lot of pages for them to rekindle but Mr.Asshole again made threats and Juliet succumbed.. Thankfully, she grew a pair and walked out in style. I was denied an epilogue due to Juliet's stubbornness (hide spoiler)] I'm running out of ideas, read this book. It's available on KU and only USD5 if you're curious.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Diane Wallace

    Okay read! Way too much detail about music plus it's importance in the Philharmonic and other musical stage industry -- okay relationship,friendship and romantic storyline. 2.5stars!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Carrie

    Second Read I liked it better the second time around. But this time I felt that some of the descriptions of music at the philharmonic and a sex scene could have been cut down a bit to help the story flow better in those spots. --------------- I am in love So, I read this. I may be ruined for books going forward. Magnolia Robbins, who even ARE you? Why am I married? Why haven't we met and fallen for each other? :) Music and words and feelings. This was everything. The way emotion was demonstrated thro Second Read I liked it better the second time around. But this time I felt that some of the descriptions of music at the philharmonic and a sex scene could have been cut down a bit to help the story flow better in those spots. --------------- I am in love So, I read this. I may be ruined for books going forward. Magnolia Robbins, who even ARE you? Why am I married? Why haven't we met and fallen for each other? :) Music and words and feelings. This was everything. The way emotion was demonstrated through movement and measures and songs and looks and... Let's just say that I felt it. Also, the recommendation to listen to the music associated with each chapter really added to the experience as promised. I have never ventured into classical listening before. But I will be now. Ok, so Juliet is one of the best violinists in the world and plays for the philharmonic in NYC. Her big influential father owns her. Makes her teach at the Bard. Enter Emma who auditions for the Bard. They don't quite start off on the right foot. The rest is musical romantic genius and I will never be OK again. May not be everyone's cup of tea if you are the type that can't feel music and don't understand that music is the soundtrack of our lives. But if you are like me and physically ache and get moved by music, then you will enjoy this.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Bethany

    What do you do when it's 4:30am and you're wide awake? Read! I just couldn't make myself fall back asleep for some reason, so I picked up my Kindle and started reading this one. I thought I would read just a few chapters and then get sleep again, but this book COMPLETELY sucked me in. I'm a shameless music lover, and a fan of great classical music. For me, music has always been a dialogue between instruments, between the conductor and the orchestra, the musician and their instrument, performer an What do you do when it's 4:30am and you're wide awake? Read! I just couldn't make myself fall back asleep for some reason, so I picked up my Kindle and started reading this one. I thought I would read just a few chapters and then get sleep again, but this book COMPLETELY sucked me in. I'm a shameless music lover, and a fan of great classical music. For me, music has always been a dialogue between instruments, between the conductor and the orchestra, the musician and their instrument, performer and audience. For me, music is an auditory love story, and I personally can't help but feel extreme emotion when listening to and playing a piece. And thanks to a music history professor whose 'drop the needle' tests are infamous, I was able to hear every song in my head as they were described in the book, and WOW that added to my enjoyment level! If you're able to, I suggest that you Google these pieces and play them in the background as you're reading this one, it'll add so much to the novel! I'm wondering if the over-the-top descriptions of classical pieces will bother other readers, but for me, it was perfect. It even made me look up local civic orchestras and check out if there was somewhere I could join up, just so I could play again. I think that others who don't love music as much as I do may think that this has a bit too much of a classical music theme to it, but for me, it made me picture countless hours spent in practice rooms, concert halls, and lectures - and I loved every minute of it. As a novel, the two MCs Emma and Juliet are stunning together, and I loved every moment of this read. Typically I find teacher / student stories to be creepy, but it worked well in this one. And I usually don't enjoy alternating 1st person stories since it feels a bit too much like head-hopping to me, but I got past it fairly quickly. Don't get me wrong, the novel isn't perfect (there's some grammatical issues, and the epilogue is complete horseshit) but overall I didn't care. This one went straight into my 'favorites' folder! Thanks for the recommendation Carrie :) Solid 5 stars.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Michele

    This was a pleasant surprise for me. I had never heard of this author before but figured "what the heck, it's free on KU." Whenever I'm in need of a nice beachy romance, i'm looking this author up. And why not, most of her books are on KU, so makes sense to "buy" them. The premise was the oft used teacher/student trope which apparently I have yet to get sick of. Emma is a prodigy like pianist, doing her graduate work at the Bard Conservatory where Juliet is a music instructor and world renown vio This was a pleasant surprise for me. I had never heard of this author before but figured "what the heck, it's free on KU." Whenever I'm in need of a nice beachy romance, i'm looking this author up. And why not, most of her books are on KU, so makes sense to "buy" them. The premise was the oft used teacher/student trope which apparently I have yet to get sick of. Emma is a prodigy like pianist, doing her graduate work at the Bard Conservatory where Juliet is a music instructor and world renown violinist. Cue the fiery sparks and push/pull relationship and we are off to the page turning races. Extremely well written, likable/thoroughly developed characters, and hoochie mama sex scenes. What else do you need out of a romance book? And did I mention it's FREE FREE FREE FREE. Frankly, after spending $9-$10 recently on some "meh" books, it was nice to get a free one that was really quite good. P.S. you will feel the urge to download much classical music after reading this one.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Corporate Slave

    As this is the first time I hear or read this author, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. So for me it’s a solid 4. The reason why it’s not 3: oh god how I loved the connection between those 2 characters! You could really feel the love! Reason why it’s not 5: too much music details for me. Could’ve been a bit shorter..

  7. 5 out of 5

    F.

    This is the beautiful story of Emma, a gifted, deaf young pianist and Juliet a violin prodigy turned NY philharmonic lead and conservatoire professor, who becomes Emma's teacher. Juliet is completely focussed on her music, to the exclusion of everything else in her life. She is not a people person, or it seems, particularly interested in teaching. Her parents own the conservatory where she works as a professor and her father rules her life completely and without love. Emma, the deaf prodigy, cha This is the beautiful story of Emma, a gifted, deaf young pianist and Juliet a violin prodigy turned NY philharmonic lead and conservatoire professor, who becomes Emma's teacher. Juliet is completely focussed on her music, to the exclusion of everything else in her life. She is not a people person, or it seems, particularly interested in teaching. Her parents own the conservatory where she works as a professor and her father rules her life completely and without love. Emma, the deaf prodigy, challenges everything in Juliet's life, and they have a deep connection from when they first meet. Their growing love plays out in the music they make together, and it is a love that you can see (or hear) growing, rather than being told about it. I am not sure that they actually ever talk about their love. It is there. A thing. Something real and tangible that neither of them can live without. But unless Juliet can finally free herself from the dominance of her father and realise that there is more to life than music, they are doomed to a life of misery apart. I loved this book. It had me captivated from the start and it still resonates with me some hours after I finished reading it. Is it perfect? Nope. But I think it is a measure of the brilliance of the story telling when things that would normally drive you up the wall, don't register as a big bother. Here, it starts off with a few odd uses of words (including nevertheless) and has a few typos and grammatical errors. I didn't knock off any stars for that, because I would not enjoy a book just for the perfect spelling or grammar. I am also unconvinced that you really get cases of Ehler Danos syndrome leading to complete deafness as experienced by Emma (it can cause hearing impairments) in the absence of a single other symptom relating to the syndrome. Again, I didn't knock off any stars for that, although it would usually annoy me. I did very nearly knock off a star for the repeated and unrepentant use of ... moist...... in otherwise quite sexy scenes. The story - and part of the conflict and angst - revolves around the frowned upon student/ professor relationship. I am not usually a big fan of this plot line. As a professor, I find this usually really...icky. And, frankly, students having a crush is weirdly awkward, rather than any kind of wonderful. In this instance though we have a graduate student and a professor who seem much more like equals and there is nothing weird about this relationship, even though it is against the rules of the conservatoire. The love that plays out though music is beautiful. The pieces they play together are described vividly and you can almost hear them being played. I love classical music, so this really spoke to me. I haven't the faintest idea whether a deaf pianist really could play so beautifully. But within the narrative I was entirely willing to believe it. I think I was gushing here, but it really is a beautiful story. Told from both MCs point of view. With love that you can believe and that sings.

  8. 5 out of 5

    K. Aten

    4.25 I love a good romance that features music or prodigies and with this book I got both. Magnolia Robbin’s descriptions of the songs and their motion, as well as the way the two characters played together really painted a picture in my mind. Some of the songs I recognized, having heard them before or even currently own. There were others that the author painted so well in my head that I was forced to search for the music online so I could listen. I also liked that the author really went into de 4.25 I love a good romance that features music or prodigies and with this book I got both. Magnolia Robbin’s descriptions of the songs and their motion, as well as the way the two characters played together really painted a picture in my mind. Some of the songs I recognized, having heard them before or even currently own. There were others that the author painted so well in my head that I was forced to search for the music online so I could listen. I also liked that the author really went into detail to explain what the music would “feel” like to someone who is deaf. It gives you a lot of insight to an entirely new world of perceptions when one sense is lost. I did like the characters despite my usual dislike of people doing something illicit that they “just can’t help”. I thought Emma was sweet and fiery and I loved that she wasn’t afraid to buck tradition when she played her music, adding embellishments and making the beloved pieces solely her own. I did think she was a little immature in her approach and to the situation, but then I had to remember the age gap between them. Juliet is about 15 or 16 years older than Emma, and about as reserved as the younger woman is fiery. And while they may come across as opposites on so many levels, the music they play together is beautiful. Robbin’s has an easy to read style with steady pacing throughout the book. The chapters are written in first person, alternating every other one between Juliet and Emma. There is the occasional slight bit of overlap between chapters but it almost seemed as though those moments were overlapped by the author on purpose to really highlight the importance of those particular scenes. I did find a few small editing mistakes while reading the novel but the majority of what I didn't care for about the novel were personal preference items. I'm not typically a fan of age gap romance, nor am I a fan of illicit affairs between students and instructors. Despite that I found this novel to be a thoroughly engaging read and well worth my time. The way the author writes not just the character’s emotions but the music itself really sold me on the entire thing. Well done! This ARC was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jo Watkins

    A beautiful romantic love story that will have you captivated to the end! I don’t know how one person can write so many beautiful books on so many wide ranging subjects.The way she intertwines the chosen music and conveys the passion all musicians need too perform is unbelievable,I know quote a lot of the pieces in the book and the descriptions are so perfect I can hear them in my mind.The story is a rollercoaster of emotions love,longing and heartbreak as well as some very erotic love scenes.Ano A beautiful romantic love story that will have you captivated to the end! I don’t know how one person can write so many beautiful books on so many wide ranging subjects.The way she intertwines the chosen music and conveys the passion all musicians need too perform is unbelievable,I know quote a lot of the pieces in the book and the descriptions are so perfect I can hear them in my mind.The story is a rollercoaster of emotions love,longing and heartbreak as well as some very erotic love scenes.Another couple of late nights to finish but WELL WORTH IT.Congratulations!! Again Magnolia on another great storyXX

  10. 4 out of 5

    Val

    This book is by far the best that Robbins has written. I loved the music portion and listened to a good number of the songs which further enhanced the reading experience. I also liked Juliet; for some reason I enjoy these somewhat bitchy, aloof characters who end up being softies on the inside. Great read.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Elske

    Again a very nice read. I have several books by Magnolia Robbins, but have not read them all. She writes well. Her books are comfortable to read. So was this one. The idea of a deaf concert pianist intrigued me and made me decide to buy this book(where I live we don’t have KU😔). It was well worth the price, enjoyed it very much. One small criticism: the end felt a bit rushed.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Paradise Lost

    This was a wonderful read. I love books revolving around the arts: be it dance, music, singing, acting, painting, etc.... And when done right, such books can make you look at an entire art form differently... the art envelops, as well as engulfs, your soul. You can feel it resonate in your entire being. I only had one issue with the book, regarding the sole antagonist. It seemed contrived and unnecessary. Having said that, I simply loved it. The chemistry between the two main characters was off This was a wonderful read. I love books revolving around the arts: be it dance, music, singing, acting, painting, etc.... And when done right, such books can make you look at an entire art form differently... the art envelops, as well as engulfs, your soul. You can feel it resonate in your entire being. I only had one issue with the book, regarding the sole antagonist. It seemed contrived and unnecessary. Having said that, I simply loved it. The chemistry between the two main characters was off the charts. 4.5

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kira

    Just beautiful This book is so well-written I can't even stand it. I've never played violin or piano but the way the author describes the music makes me want to give it a try. The story flows, just like the music Emma and Juliet play together, and the connection between the two of them is so intimate and real. There are so many emotions, ups and downs, that I couldn't put it down until I read the whole thing. I highly recommend this book if you love a good slow-build romance that sizzles with pa Just beautiful This book is so well-written I can't even stand it. I've never played violin or piano but the way the author describes the music makes me want to give it a try. The story flows, just like the music Emma and Juliet play together, and the connection between the two of them is so intimate and real. There are so many emotions, ups and downs, that I couldn't put it down until I read the whole thing. I highly recommend this book if you love a good slow-build romance that sizzles with passion until the very end.

  14. 4 out of 5

    angie

    When I see so many positive reviews for a book I did not care for I often wonder: did I miss something? Normally I like it when there is a character who is either full-on "ice queen," or at least mostly so, but here it just does not work for me...nor do the dynamics between the two main characters and how quickly they react to each other right from the start. Maybe I have completely lost my romantic side, but it takes a lot in fiction for me to believe in things happening instantly the moment tw When I see so many positive reviews for a book I did not care for I often wonder: did I miss something? Normally I like it when there is a character who is either full-on "ice queen," or at least mostly so, but here it just does not work for me...nor do the dynamics between the two main characters and how quickly they react to each other right from the start. Maybe I have completely lost my romantic side, but it takes a lot in fiction for me to believe in things happening instantly the moment two people meet and it just does not work for me here. I found myself troubled by this read in a way I cannot quite put my finger on.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Len

    Magnolia Robbins writes unsatisfying conflict resolution.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ivy

    Wow! This was absolutely beautiful. I fell in love only reading the first few pages. The personalities of these two women jump off the pages and wraps you in. The use of the names of all the musical pieces is really a new way to experience reading and being engaged in a novel. It allows you to feel what the characters were feeling in the moment they were hearing the same musical pieces. Magnolia does an amazing job at describing exactly how the music pieces speak. She brings to the reader imagery Wow! This was absolutely beautiful. I fell in love only reading the first few pages. The personalities of these two women jump off the pages and wraps you in. The use of the names of all the musical pieces is really a new way to experience reading and being engaged in a novel. It allows you to feel what the characters were feeling in the moment they were hearing the same musical pieces. Magnolia does an amazing job at describing exactly how the music pieces speak. She brings to the reader imagery that allows the reader to feel and to truly experience what it feels like to love a forbidden melody. This is a work of art and should be read as so.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Marilie Ross

    4.5/5 This book was exquisite. Filled with silences that have such a wide range of passion. Music is the heart of this book, Emma and Juliet, being the two elements that make it beat. Emma is a young lady, talented and dedicated to bringing to life this passion for music, which her father has. Extraordinary pianist, she decides to join a school that is worth the same prestige as her talent. She meets Juliet, a renowned violinist, who also follows in her father's footsteps in the field of music. It 4.5/5 This book was exquisite. Filled with silences that have such a wide range of passion. Music is the heart of this book, Emma and Juliet, being the two elements that make it beat. Emma is a young lady, talented and dedicated to bringing to life this passion for music, which her father has. Extraordinary pianist, she decides to join a school that is worth the same prestige as her talent. She meets Juliet, a renowned violinist, who also follows in her father's footsteps in the field of music. It only takes a brief look to ignite their shared passion. Together, they create the perfect duo. It is through what they share by simple looks, by the music and by this way of giving another breath to classics, that they will weave their love. We are the Emma of this book, deaf of the melodies that are written in black and white in this book. Yet, we can live through this book without having to really hear the notes that are played. We vibrate just as she does with the passion that emanates from her relationship with Juliet and from music. I highly recommend this book!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Mirtha Siblesz

    Wow! Indeed, Wow! There was a movie in 1954 with Elizabeth Taylor and John Ericson titled Rhapsody that came to mind while I was glued to this beautiful book. Emma and Juliet were beautifully depicted in the development of their love affair. Their relationship was so deep, so strong. Juliet’s father, Frederick, was so despicable as the evil character of the story. Emma’s father, Red,was such a loving character to both his “Emma-girl” and Juliet. I liked the way the book ended “even dreams change” Wow! Indeed, Wow! There was a movie in 1954 with Elizabeth Taylor and John Ericson titled Rhapsody that came to mind while I was glued to this beautiful book. Emma and Juliet were beautifully depicted in the development of their love affair. Their relationship was so deep, so strong. Juliet’s father, Frederick, was so despicable as the evil character of the story. Emma’s father, Red,was such a loving character to both his “Emma-girl” and Juliet. I liked the way the book ended “even dreams change”. I hope this author has more books like this one, it was beautifully done!

  19. 5 out of 5

    andrea

    Absolutely loved this book. I started it yesterday and finished it today—it kept me totally captivated. The main characters were full and well rounded. I’d have liked there to have been more emphasis on their age gap. Not a larger age-gap, but perhaps it could have been talked about outside the context of teacher student a bit. There was just the right amount of angst for me. Angst that didn’t involve other lovers, but internal struggles, family influences, and timing issues.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Becky Spears

    Amazing This is the first book I've ever read on kindle unlimited that I went back and actually purchased because it is so good and I want to re-read it again and again. Absolutely wonderful.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Marie

    I don't want to be that person. That hater that noticed something and took it out of proportion. But a deaf person shouldn't be thinking things like: "I longed to hear her again. I could have listened to her play all day, without rest." It's like me reading about a women being at a wine tasting and then driving back home. It's slashing into my eyes and making me hyperfocus on something that could happen next. For me, the writer made it too hard for herself. Mixing music with a deaf character is I don't want to be that person. That hater that noticed something and took it out of proportion. But a deaf person shouldn't be thinking things like: "I longed to hear her again. I could have listened to her play all day, without rest." It's like me reading about a women being at a wine tasting and then driving back home. It's slashing into my eyes and making me hyperfocus on something that could happen next. For me, the writer made it too hard for herself. Mixing music with a deaf character is something that could make it or break it. It's a nice read, but being me, I take notice of these things. I would have liked this way much more if I didn't focus on those things. If it was made to perfection, where the author could have differentiated the perceptions of the characters more, it would be really special. Instead, both characters sounded the same with one of them being deaf.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lady

    I give this 5 stars because I love music and this book clearly loves it. It gave me the same impression as how the film “Whiplash” adores, to the point of worship, jazz. But they’re completely different works. This one is a teacher/student romance (not abusive mentor/protégé) with its push and pull dynamic mostly with the teacher’s relationship with her father and his threats to end her tenure at the New York philharmonic if she becomes “deviant”. I love reading this while playing its classical I give this 5 stars because I love music and this book clearly loves it. It gave me the same impression as how the film “Whiplash” adores, to the point of worship, jazz. But they’re completely different works. This one is a teacher/student romance (not abusive mentor/protégé) with its push and pull dynamic mostly with the teacher’s relationship with her father and his threats to end her tenure at the New York philharmonic if she becomes “deviant”. I love reading this while playing its classical tracks that could serve as a soundtrack and another thing I adore about this is that the deaf pianist prodigy feels and experiences music in a different way, as a gifted author who has synesthesia that they’re able to tell stories in a different and most admirable way that we have been introduced to a new way of reading and interpreting them. We need more people who are different and we shouldn’t be afraid of them. This book also treats her disability not in an inspirationally disadvantaged way but as a person who works hard just like the rest of them and if she’s different so what? Try to see or hear differently. The songs are also beautiful and it made me appreciate Debussy so much, a musician I normally saw as bland, because it’s through his music that the two women communicate to each other that no one else can. They’re lucky to have found each other and the teacher is also fortunate to have found friends whom she can talk to about her interests and passion. I like this so much and I suggest making a Spotify playlist for this because after having read the book, you’ll find yourself listening to Chopin, Beethoven, Vivaldi’s Four seasons “Autumn”, and Angelica by John Coltrane (I do listen to this on repeat for a few days now.) I rarely write reviews for lesbian fiction but since I love lesbian fiction and music, and musicians playing and experiencing sensations from music, I’m willing to make an exception. Highly recommended.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Paulina

    * First let me start with what I enjoyed. The descriptions of music and how it was played were beautiful, it made me want to listen to every piece listed in the story. What I didn't enjoy was the relationship, it was cute at first with Emma constantly challenging Juliet but then it quickly fell into every possible tired trope. I hated the way Juliet messed with Emma's head and their relationship seemed to go in circles without them ever trying to resolve their issues.

  24. 4 out of 5

    cindy

    Trés belle, and not only the music pieces.

  25. 4 out of 5

    JulesGP

    So many wonderful points to make about this book. It’s the kind of writing that makes you want to read and re-read again and again to savor every moment. A young graduate student and her much older professor fall in love, getting all kinds of grief over the obvious violation of ethics on the part of the teacher. The author takes her time and delicately weaves a profound story of friendship and human connection that is just too sweet and tender to believe. There’s fire and passion as their romanc So many wonderful points to make about this book. It’s the kind of writing that makes you want to read and re-read again and again to savor every moment. A young graduate student and her much older professor fall in love, getting all kinds of grief over the obvious violation of ethics on the part of the teacher. The author takes her time and delicately weaves a profound story of friendship and human connection that is just too sweet and tender to believe. There’s fire and passion as their romance builds, but it’s never overdone. The subtleties are beautiful—the tiniest of gestures between Emma and Juliet, the specific pieces of music (please listen to them on your headphones while you’re reading each chapter because...well, you’ll see), the sense of place. I read Forbidden Melody off of Kindle Unlimited but I’m buying a physical copy because this one is for my shelves and although I’ve never been a fan of classical music, I think this book just opened a door for me.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kennedy

    I love music and I love romance. This read had both and hooked me from the beginning. Emma Harvey is deaf and full of gumption. Juliet Hamilton is driven with a focus on her music with not much room for variety. Although different from each other, the music provides a common ground. I appreciated both Emma and Juliet and their push/pull interaction. You can feel the heat. Emma and Juliet both had fathers to deal with and wow what a challenge. As for the music, I embraced the suggestion from the I love music and I love romance. This read had both and hooked me from the beginning. Emma Harvey is deaf and full of gumption. Juliet Hamilton is driven with a focus on her music with not much room for variety. Although different from each other, the music provides a common ground. I appreciated both Emma and Juliet and their push/pull interaction. You can feel the heat. Emma and Juliet both had fathers to deal with and wow what a challenge. As for the music, I embraced the suggestion from the author and listened to various pieces while reading. I was familiar with a number of the selections and introduced to some sparkling new ones. The scenes with the fathers were heart-wrenching and full of lines to ponder. Oh, yeah, the sex scenes were scorchers.

  27. 5 out of 5

    AL

    Absolutely wonderdul every page was a WOW moment for me. Beautifully described characters with a chemistry and very attractive plot

  28. 5 out of 5

    bootsandcats

    Picked this up thinking (and seriously hoping) it'd be like The Music and the Mirror aaaand...it was not. This is really my own fault though because I consider that book to be basically perfect. Anyway. This book was a frustrating read for me because I loved the premise and thought it had SO much potential that went unfulfilled. Juliet's got all the makings of a damn good ice queen--she's a world-renowned violinist, disciplined, rightfully arrogant with impossibly high standards for herself and Picked this up thinking (and seriously hoping) it'd be like The Music and the Mirror aaaand...it was not. This is really my own fault though because I consider that book to be basically perfect. Anyway. This book was a frustrating read for me because I loved the premise and thought it had SO much potential that went unfulfilled. Juliet's got all the makings of a damn good ice queen--she's a world-renowned violinist, disciplined, rightfully arrogant with impossibly high standards for herself and others, she's aloof and prickly AF. Emma is the polar opposite. She's young, brash, talented if not prodigious, at the beginning of her career, and she exudes warmth like nobody's business to melt away Juliet's icy exterior. (On a side note, what do you call the opposites of ice queens? Fire peasants? Hmm maybe that's why they're not called anything.) They form an immediate connection when they first play together. They speak through music. It's like Juliet has been all by her lonesome in her superstar genius stratosphere and she discovers there's finally someone else there with her, an equal, a partner, Emma. Someone who sees past her misunderstood prickliness and hears Juliet's unspoken emotions and vulnerabilities that come out when she plays. So of course Juliet's attracted to Emma like a moth to a flame. So far so good, right? And OMG don't even get me started on the scenes when they play together. (view spoiler)[You know the NYTimes questions that lead to love and intimacy, where you're supposed to make extended eye contact with someone? It's like that, but even more next-level. They STARE at each other, through pieces that are like 15 minutes long and through entire performances. Every time they play together it's like an eye-f*cking marathon (with an audience) and MY BRAIN IS ON FIRE. (hide spoiler)] Those bits were SO SO SO good. Also I loved that there's a "soundtrack" that accompanies this book. And the descriptions of how Emma understands and feels music is fascinating. But this is what makes me so frustrated. This book was sooooo uneven, with plot holes, murky character motivations (view spoiler)[[why is Juliet the way she is? Why is Emma? I was able to get past a lot of the unexplained personality traits and character motivations by relying on the usual ice queen/fire peasant (or anti-ice queen? lol seriously what do you call them?) tropes and by filling in the blanks myself. Also Emma was so petulant and entitled at times I found it hard to believe for a 23 y/o.] (hide spoiler)] , supporting characters that were basically caricatures and under-developed (view spoiler)[[like what's the deal with Juliet's dad? Or her mom? Also all their acquaintances and friends are only there to say "You shouldn't be doing this"] (hide spoiler)] , and some super contrived plot to throw them together or keep them apart (view spoiler)[[I don't care how much of a genius Juliet is, but there is zero chance a violinist would be giving piano lessons to a pianist. Teaching a kid or commoners? Maybe. No way she teaches someone of Emma's caliber. And Juliet. Sweet Juliet, who is basically Joshua Bell level famous, SHOULD BE ABLE TO LEAVE AND FIND A JOB ANYWHERE. Her insistence on staying under her father's thumb at the conservatory and philharmonic is completely implausible. If Emma can find something so easily, so can Juliet. Gah. ALSO, given how famous Juliet is, I find it impossible to believe Emma didn't know who she was at the wedding, years ago.] (hide spoiler)] . It could also really use an editor, and the writing is pretty clunky at times. Also the teacher-student dynamic is a little icky, even though both are consenting adults (view spoiler)[especially since Emma's career suffered as a consequence (hide spoiler)] . Probably should've been a 3, but it's a 4 because my brain is still ON FIREEEE from all those times they were secretly eye-f*cking while others watched.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Zingari

    I couldn't enjoy it. Sweet mercy, this was tough. It has nothing to do with editorial issues, and nothing to do with the characters being obscenely unlikable. This is about a teacher and student with a whirlwind love. Or, it should have been. From the beginning the whole thing was foreboding. All the descriptions of the music being played was very entrancing and quite stunning. I loved that. In that regard, this novel was special. I still found myself frustrated though, rushing through paragraphs t I couldn't enjoy it. Sweet mercy, this was tough. It has nothing to do with editorial issues, and nothing to do with the characters being obscenely unlikable. This is about a teacher and student with a whirlwind love. Or, it should have been. From the beginning the whole thing was foreboding. All the descriptions of the music being played was very entrancing and quite stunning. I loved that. In that regard, this novel was special. I still found myself frustrated though, rushing through paragraphs trying to rip off an invisible band-aid from the get. At the beginning, everyone can see their attraction and everyone is against them. The chemistry is instant and the sparks setting fires can't be ignored by anyone within city limits. I started to wonder if they were trying to hide anything at all by how blatant, and public, they were behaving. It felt like torture quite early on. Usually the people involved meet, have moments of happiness unperturbed, and then all hell breaks loose. This time there were problems from the very beginning. The more they tried to hide and keep a secret, I felt like I was doing the same thing along side them, which made me anxious throughout. My nerves were fried way before I even got through half of the book. I felt like I was watching a gavel, or a guillotine, in slow motion. When the "climax" did occur further down the line it was a bit anticlimactic followed by... quitting? I sat there gearing up for a fight for hours, and somehow it turned into voluntary defeat. A forfeit. This book was written well and lovely, but I can't ignore my considerable frustration. I'm upset that I couldn't enjoy their happy moments because I was too busy being paranoid for them. *Yes, this is a me problem* From the push and pull in the beginning, to either of them choosing to be irrationally stubborn, questions going unanswered (view spoiler)[ Why did she decide to adopt? Why was it so important for her to do so? Why did Andrew seem so off about the whole thing, yet his lurking interest in the matter of their relationship never quite explored? We virtually know nothing about Juliet's mother and only the fame of her grandmother. What was her grandmother really like? Juliet wants to impress her father and says she has always "bent backwards" for him, but there are no memories truly spoken of, and was he like this all her life? What could have possibly been his motivation to have children?) (hide spoiler)] , the lack of context as to why the villain was so villainous, and their lack of actual supporting characters... I'm at a lost. I apologize for that. I like it, but I wanted to love it.

  30. 5 out of 5

    M

    So beautiful, specially for me that just started learning music.

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