Chanson de l'Ange : Book One: The Bleeding Rose is a lush, romantic reinterpretation of The Phantom of the Opera. In Ms. Stewart's version Erik hears a voice, from far below in the cellars, he is riveted by it. It is amazingly beautiful and he is haunted by it until he finally discovers who this heavenly instrument belongs to. A sad and lonely little girl, recently orphaned and taken in by the Ballet Mistress, Madame Louise Giry to train as a ballerina and chorus girl and be raised by her alongside her own daughter, Meg. It is, of course, the young Christine.
Erik is drawn to her. He keeps watch over her and hears her prayers to her father from behind the enormous two way mirror that hangs in her room. She begs her father not to leave her alone, but to send her the Angel of Music he promised her.
Angel of Music? Despite his cynicism, Erik's heart is touched. Here is a challenge. A project! Something to distract him from his isolation living 5 stories below the Opera House, where, although he has his music and all the things anyone could need... he doesn't have someone to care for and to care for him.
He goes to Madame Giry, his one friend at the Opera, and the one who brought him there as a boy when she was a young girl. He wants to provide for Christine. He wants to be her mentor, musically, and arrange to give her voice lessons, although, he does not want his masked visage to frighten her, he decides to teach her from the chamber behind the mirror.
In this story, Erik is a commanding figure, impeccably dressed, a musical genius and an artist, condemned by his face to live with that genius unrecognized. Christine is a lovely, warm and talented girl who grows to be a stunningly beautiful woman. And, of course, there is the dashingly handsome Raoul reaching out to the girl he knew by the seaside, who stole his heart back then and never let it go.
Without giving away any of the drama, let me say that Ms. Stewart has brought her Erik and Christine to life in a complicated dance of love and trust and learning that sometimes you can't always get what you want...to paraphrase the Rolling Stones, no matter how much you want it.
The author has said that Chanson de l'Ange will be republished as a trilogy and will wrap up, hopefully, what took place in this addictive saga. I will be waiting and if you haven't had a chance to read the one volume edition, if you love the Phantom as much as I do, you'll want to pre-order this series or put it on hold at your local library and then lose yourself in this dark, passionate and beautifully realized world!
There is also a companion musical CD in the works:
Chanson de l'Ange: Original Music Inspired by The Phantom of the Opera