Let it be Me by Kate Noble
April 2, 2013
Reviewed by Mandi
I’m a big fan of Kate Noble’s books, and Let It Be Me brings in a fresh, sweet, romance book set it Venice. Bridget has great talent playing the piano although now she struggles with an acute case of stage fright. Nonetheless, music is in her blood, and the piano is her passion. Years ago she impressed Italian composer Vincenzo Carpenini when he visited at her parents house. In present day, when a note arrives from Carpenini’s friend and assistant, a Mr. Oliver Merrick, announcing Carpenini will be coming back to England and wants to tutor her, Bridget couldn’t be more excited. But her hopes soon get crushed when she learns Carpenini can’t make it to England, and will be staying in Italy.
When a tree falls on their house, and the family must find somewhere else to live for the winter, Bridget gets an idea…and slyly encourages her mother and her sister to take a tour of Italy. This way Bridget can look up Carpenini and take lessons from him while in Italy. When Bridget does find Carpenini and Oliver in Italy, things become a disaster. She learns the truth about Carpenini – he is an outcast in Italy. A womanizer. A man who while a brilliant piano player, has not composed a piece of music in sometime. He is living off the goodwill of Oliver, who is desperate to get Carpenini back on his feet. Bridget is devastated to find out Carpenini doesn’t remember her at all – it was Oliver who wrote the note about tutoring, hoping to get some money thrown Carpenini’s way.
But that can’t be the end of Bridget’s journey, or this wouldn’t have been such a good book! After a series of events, Bridget ends up being set-up in a competition for the Marchese (Carpenini’s former patron, whom he very much wants to be his current patron). If Carpenini can instruct Bridget to play Beethoven’s Piano sonata No. 23, and beat his rival, Carpenini’s name can be returned to good standing and Bridget can prove to herself and others that stage fright does not lead her life. And all the while, am adorable romance between Bridget and Oliver unfolds.
Let It Be Me is a delightful book. It is slow in the beginning as the story sets up, but once everyone lands in Italy the story takes off. First let me say Bridget and Oliver are just two, nice, good natured people. They each have something to prove to themselves – Bridget needs to get over being scared to play in front of people, and Oliver needs to prove to his family that his love of music and theater is acceptable for an English gentleman.He doesn’t have to go to clubs or boxing to be a man. He wants to fit in, and Bridget completely understands his fear of this. She has great insight into what scares him, yet she also relies heavily on him for the things that scare her the most. They both need the other to lean on, all the while falling in love. Their romance is a quiet one. Not a lot of bells and whistles. Not fierce, but just a lovely, slow build up to a very sweet , I love you.
Carpenini has a big role in this book as well, and while he is a difficult character to like at first, (and even towards the end) I enjoyed the way he is written. He brought in needed conflict into Bridget and Oliver’s story.
I think what shines the most in this book is the way Kate Noble writes the music. There is a lot of time in the book where someone is sitting at a piano playing. And I’m sure it is challenging for an author to write words in a scene when the reader can’t hear the music being played. But Kate Noble writes these scenes with such emotions and a fluid grace that makes you completely forget you are not actually hearing the music. The atmosphere of these scenes along with the backdrop of Italy really makes this book feel fresh and different.
I’ve read all of Kate Noble’s books and while I’ve enjoyed each one, this one has a different feeling to it. Well done.