A Final Masterpiece: Tamera Alexander’s “A Note Left Unsung” – A Review of t
If your bookshelf is cluttered with tales of young women who struggle to find God’s plan in their lives, end up on a path they never imagined, alongside a man they never thought would mean anything to them, against impossible odds – well, you might just be standing in front of my bookshelf.
If you are, please don’t judge. I’m a bit behind on my reading.
One thing is for sure – if a good Christian Historical Fiction book is something you can polish off in a weekend, you’ve probably read at least one of Tamera Alexander’s many novels.
This is the third of Tamera Alexander’s books that I’ve had the privilege of reading, and once I’d finished it, I found there was more to say about it than I anticipated. Is it worth the read?
If you have to ask, you’ve clearly never read anything by Tamera Alexander.
Since you did ask, allow me to elaborate.
I will be the first to admit, I had no idea that there was a third novel coming out in the Belmont Mansion Series. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw this book on a shelf at my local bookstore, intrigued by the young woman on the front and the contents of her story. It was released in 2017, one of my thrifty years, and I ended up waiting a year to purchase the book at full price. (To an author that’s a big deal). It was in the back of my mind for that year, especially since in my first assessment of the cover, I assumed the heroine was a singer. Perhaps an opera singer.
I was wrong.
Only when I glanced at the cover closer did I realize that Tamera Alexander’s heroine was a violinist.
Before I lose you, allow me to explain.
Usually when I recommend books or write reviews, I am writing with two perspectives in mind: the first is that of the reader, which I assume is the most interesting to you, and the second is that of the author because as a published author of three books, I do know a thing or two about crafting characters that people like to read about.
Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I would have the perspective trifecta.
As a musician, I could not only relate to Tamera’s heroine, I could feel the music. Especially since I’ve played the violin for almost 22 years.
So how would she work that into the plot?
Plot (Spoilers! Put Your Conducting Batons Down, The War is Over)
Without giving away too much or oversimplifying the artistry here, the plot is an amplified and embellished Cinderella story that is rooted in history. According to history, women were not allowed to play in orchestras until around 1930, at least in the US. Finding herself with an impossible dream, our heroine, Rebekah Carrington, finds herself at odds with a conductor who is far too matter-of-fact for anyone with respectable manners. The layers of conflict in the plot – the death of Rebekah’s teacher Demetrius, the secrets hidden in the house Rebekah seeks employment through, and most of all, what is eating at that pompous director of the Nashville Philharmonic, Nathaniel Tate Whitcomb?
On multiple occasions, I found myself thinking, “He’s a jerk. How could she ever like him?”
Though almost in the same thought bubble, I found myself thinking, “Very Darcy-like indeed. Well played, Tamera, well played.”
Even if you’re remotely familiar with Tamera Alexander, you know that there are elements of romance in her novels just in general. What I loved most about this book is that not only did you see the romance, the budding relationship, but you also saw their attachment grow in such a way that Tate and Rebekah were taking care of each other when they had no formal commitment to each other. Much like a married couple trades parts of a meal that the other one likes or doesn’t like, Tate and Rebekah learned quickly how to take care of each other and do it in such a way that it knitted their hearts together.
I think my favorite scene in the whole book is just after Rebekah’s last brush with her step-father. No one can find her except Tate. He does exactly what she asks, he comforts her, and ultimately takes care of her in her time of need.
If you read it for yourself, you’ll feel the love pouring off of the page.
We all have a passion, something we love doing, so even if you’ve never picked up a violin, or your days of playing the piano are far in the past, relating to Rebekah Carrington’s spunk was incredibly easy. She’s loveable, she’s strong, and is resilient – something that we need to see more of in fictional heroines. It’s a very 21st Century thing – to see a lady who doesn’t need a gentleman by her side – but nevertheless it is important. Rebekah’s determination is ultimately what sets her apart from most other heroines in the genre. She risks the scoffs of every well-born acquaintance in respectable society to do what she loves in a time when the opinions of everyone around her determined her worth in eyes of others.
With this in mind, it is clear that Rebekah has understood and adopted something that even women living in 2021 can take to heart – what matters most to Rebekah is how God views her choices in life, not how others view her choices. While she is horrified at the dissatisfactory remarks from audience members when they learn that a woman is the concert master of the Nashville Philharmonic, she moves on.
Sage advice that we could all take to heart – don’t you think?
Staying Power – Should I Read the Rest of the Series if I Haven’t Already?
This is easy – of course!
If you haven’t read my review of book two of the Belmont Mansion Series, click here. I highly recommend this series if for nothing else to get to know the characters in each book, especially because they all have cameos in this final installment of the Belmont Mansion Series.
The Bottom Line
Many of you already know that I’m the kind of person who reads a book once and holds onto it.
If I read a book twice – that book is amazing.
It takes a great novel to be considered one of my favorites, and I haven’t added to that list in very long time, but it is my great pleasure to say that A Note Yet Unsung by Tamera Alexander is one of my favorite books and will be for a very long time.
To purchase the book, click here.