Book: Liszt’s Kiss

Title: Liszt’s Kiss
Author: Susanne Dunlap
Genre: Historical Fiction
Length: 330 pgs

Summary: Anne, a young pianist about to enter Parisian society during the height of the Musical Romantic Era (1830s, 1840s), has just lost her mother to the cholera epidemic. Her father forbids her from playing the piano. As an outlet, her mother’s friend, Marie d’Agoult, invites her to a piano concert where she sees Liszt for the first time. Anne’s life is forever changed from the moment she matches eyes with Liszt…

pg 111 – The more she watched, the more she was persuaded that although Liszt leaned in close to Anne and touched her hands to show her how to achieve certain improvements in her technique, everything he did was not really for the benefit of his pupil but was in some fashion on display for Marie herself: the way he moved, the incline of his head, the frequency with which he smiled or cast a soulful glance at the high ceiling, never turning to look in Marie’s direction, yet ensuring that every gesture, every comment, reflected off Anne and she its light over her.

Why should you read this book?
This book is a good example of a story that chose third person omniscient, but might have been better with first-person multiple point-of-view. Dunlap wrote her third-person narrative from the views of her characters anyway, so I’m confused why she didn’t write it in first-person. I felt completely detached from the entire story. I read it because I liked the young doctor Pierre…he was the only character I liked. (Which means Vonnegut was right: always write at least one character for the reader to like.)

The insipid way Anne reacts to things, the two-dimensional father with a mea culpa reason for his coldness, the way the ending felt thrown together…I admit, I’m disappointed in this book. The last two paragraphs, however, were amazing. And yes, I do read the last page first to decide if I’ll like a book. Sometimes it doesn’t work out.