Summary and book reviews of Bellweather Rhapsody by Kate Racculia

Bellweather Rhapsody

By Kate Racculia

Bellweather Rhapsody
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  • Hardcover: May 2014,
    352 pages.

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Book Reviewed by:
Sarah Sacha Dollacker

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About this Book

Book Summary

Fifteen years ago, a murder/suicide in room 712 rocked the grand old Bellweather Hotel and the young bridesmaid who witnessed it. Now hundreds of high school musicians, including quiet bassoonist Rabbit Hatmaker and his brassy diva twin, Alice, have gathered in its cavernous, crumbling halls for the annual Statewide festival; the grown-up bridesmaid has returned to face her demons; and a snowstorm is forecast that will trap everyone on the grounds. Then one of the orchestra's stars disappears - from room 712. Is it a prank, or has murder struck the Bellweather once again?

The search for answers entwines a hilariously eccentric cast of characters - conductors and caretakers, failures and stars, teenagers on the verge and adults trapped in memories. For everyone has come to the Bellweather with a secret, and everyone is haunted.

Full of knowing nods to the shivery pleasures of suspense and the transporting power of music, this is a wholly winning new novel from a writer lauded as "charming" (Los Angeles Times), "witty" (O, The Oprah Magazine), and "whimsical" (People).

Clinton’s Kill, New York

Minnie Graves is a bridesmaid.

She hates it.

Her bangs are crispy with Aqua Net. Her ponytail is so tight her forehead aches. Her feet throb in shoes that are a size too small, Mary Janes dyed special to match the totally rancid dress Minnie’s big sister, Jennifer, picked out just for her. There’s a thing called a crinoline and she has to remember to always cross her legs and it’s a total pain in her twelve-year-old ass. And it’s pink. “It’s not pink, it’s cranberry wine,” Jennifer said, but Minnie, whose big brother, Mike, tells her about all the horror movies he watches, thinks she looks like someone dumped a bucket of pig’s blood on her.

Minnie’s mother told her that, when the wedding started, Minnie would forget the crinoline itched and just be happy to see her big sister get married to Theodore. But Minnie’s mother lied: Minnie spends the entire ceremony glaring laser-beam eyes at ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse

As Racculia portrays a weekend of talented young musicians performing great music, she also explores the nature of talent and the grace of second chances. Bellweather Rhapsody is as engrossing as it is intelligent. The characters are captivating, the scenes vibrant, and the internal pulse of the narrative keeps the pages moving.   (Reviewed by Sarah Sacha Dollacker).

Full Review Members Only (1109 words).

Media Reviews
Booklist

That most of the characters have secrets adds a layer of intrigue to a musical mystery that strikes nary a false note. Encore, encore.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. [A] novel of dueling wills, marked by textured characterization and an ebullient storytelling style.

Library Journal

"Starred Review. Part ghost story, part mystery, part coming-of-age tale, and part love sonnet to music, Racculia's second novel (after This Must Be the Place ) is dark and delightful, with memorable characters inspired by both literature and pop culture. It will grab readers and keep them with multilayered plotting and writing that ranges from humorous to poetic.

Kirkus Reviews

"Starred Review. Racculia's droll wit and keen understanding of human nature propel a story that's rich in distinctive characters and wholly engaging. A gem.

Author Blurb Robin Sloan, author of Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore
For its darkness and its glee, I loved this novel.

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Novels Analyzing Musical Talent and Life

The characters in Racculia's novel attempt to understand the nature of musical talent and the ways in which it emerges or disappears to impact happiness. The following novels investigate the interaction of musical gifts and the pursuit of a fulfilled life:

Sight Reading Sight Reading by Daphne Kalotay
Kalotay's first novel was about ballet and Russian history. Her second novel, Sight Reading, explores the relationships between a few classical musicians in New England. As each of the characters delves deeper into work as professionals, the perfection they attain with their instruments or conducting baton eludes them in real life. Despite their prowess in music, they realize that they are living their lives merely sight reading, a term that describes...

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