Author: Tess Thompson
Genre: Historical Fiction (Civil Rights)
Source: directly from author
Paperback Page Count: 348
First Published: February 13, 2015
First Line: "From Jeselle Thorton's journal: June 10, 1928. 'When I came into the kitchen this morning, Mrs Bellmont handed me a package wrapped in shiny gold paper, a gift for my thirteenth birthday.'
Book Description from GoodReads: A story of forbidden love, lost dreams, and family turmoil.
The first book in a new historical series from bestselling author Tess Thompson, Duet for Three Hands is equal parts epic love story, sweeping family saga, and portrait of days gone by. Set against the backdrop of the American South between 1928 and 1934, four voices blend to tell a tale of prejudice, fear, and love. The Bellmonts are the epitome of the rich and elite in Atlanta society, but behind the picture-perfect façade are hidden moments of violence and betrayal.
After marrying into the Bellmont family, Nathaniel, a former concert pianist who is nearly ruined by his wife’s unrelenting ambition and unstable mind, finds hope in the promise of his most recent protégé. His brother-in-law, artistic Whitmore Bellmont, and the maid’s daughter, Jeselle, have a secret relationship despite their drastically different circumstances and shades of skin. Unfortunately, most of the world disagrees with their color blindness.
All four lives intertwine on a collision course, threatening to destroy, or liberate, them all.
My Review: This was a hard book to put down. I adore historical fiction that is set during the emotional and tumultuous time surrounding slavery and civil rights - the raw emotion, the vivid setting and the opportunity to read about truly interesting characters. This book was no exception. Duet For Three Hands is a historical fiction read (with a romantic undertone) which is set in the American south during the 1920's and 1930's. It deals with bigotry, lost dreams, a big ol' dose of familial turmoil and the benefits and negative aspects of standing by your spouse through the good times and the very bad.
From the beginning of the book I was engrossed in the Bellmont family's issues as well as their servants, Jeselle and her mother. As the reader you're quickly pulled into the lives of these people but it was Nathaniel, the former world renowned pianist, that had the most growth and I found the most interesting out of all of the characters. In the beginning he was quite naive (I could see his wife's motives a mile away) but over the course of the book you see him mature and finally learn about what he needs in order to be happy.
There are some definite villains in this book. Ohhhh, how I loved to hate them. But I have to give Thompson credit because they never came off as caricatures or one dimensional. They all felt authentic to me and (sadly) I could easily picture them. I loved to love some and loved to hate others.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and read it in a matter of a couple of days while battling pneumonia. This author is new to me and I'm very happy she approached me to review her book. I am quite eager to pick up more of her books.
My Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Disclaimer: My sincere thanks to author Tess Thompson for providing me with a complimentary e-book copy of her book in exchange for my honest review.