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And After the Fire – Lauren Belfer
The novel tells the story of Susanna, in the present, and Sara from the past.
When Susannah’s beloved Uncle Henry commits suicide, he leaves behind a cryptic note that alludes to his haunting WWII experience as an Allied soldier in Germany… and something he took from the devastated country before returning home.
The daughter of the king’s Jewish banker, Sara is among the elite of Enlightenment-era Berlin. Beautiful, intelligent and a gifted pianist, she hones her musical talents under Wilhelm Friedemann Bach, son of Johann Sebastian Bach. On his deathbed, Wilhelm bequeaths Sara the score of one of his father’s cantatas. Sara is stunned to see its violently anti-Semitic lyrics. Why did her beloved teacher want her to have this horrifying document?
The cantata’s troubled, riveting journey and the way the two women, divided by centuries, respond to it, makes for a captivating, provocative read.
The Gustav Sonata – Rose Tremain
What is the difference between friendship and love?
Gustav grows up in a small town in Switzerland, where the horrors of the Second World War seem a distant echo. But Gustav’s father has mysteriously died, and his adored mother Emilie is strangely cold and indifferent to him. Gustav’s life is a lonely one until he meets Anton, a brilliant pianist with acute anxiety. An intense lifelong friendship develops but Anton fails to understand how deeply and irrevocably his life and Gustav’s are entwined until it is almost too late…