Saturday, March 15, 2014

"Angel of Music" by D.M. Bernadette

D.M. Bernadette's Angel of Music is a follow-up to Leroux's classic and what might have been  had Erik lived and Christine come back to him. It is beautifully written as the author creates a romantic Victorian style narration which sets the mood for her lovely, dreamy vision of life in and around (and under) the Paris Opera House.
It begins with Christine sheltering in Raoul's lavish home after he rescues her from the Phantom's lair, or rather she saves him when Erik allows them to leave. She is living in her own room and recovering, though as time passes, she has trouble forgetting one aspect of her time underground with the Phantom. His kiss. The kiss she gives him to save Raoul's life. It should have meant nothing. Been distasteful, even, yet, whenever she thinks of it... it thrills her!
Not long after the occurrence they are visited by a police inspector named Berneau, who interrogates her and  insinuates Christine may have been something more to the Phantom than she is letting on, which she can only deny so much. Stressful as this all is for her, Raoul  insists she accompany him, as his fiance' to a party given by friends, where, not only is she the center of gossip... Raoul is regaling his friends with stories of the Phantom and Christine and making things worse for her, so much so... she realizes she has finally had enough. She will never fit into Raoul's world and he doesn't seem to love her as much as when he thought he had to fight the Phantom for her. Now that Erik was dead... the passion seemed gone and he never so much as kissed her, because he could still picture her in the Phantom's arms. She leaves Raoul for freedom and her father's modest home where she can live on the small stipend he left her.
As she happily cleans her small home she decides she would love something to remind her, not of the Phantom so much as her Angel of Music, some token belonging to her long time teacher and the one who truly loved her as she was.
The Opera House is closed after the tragedy there, still she finds her way to the cellars far below and with her lantern searches for the paper-mache monkey music box she knew was dear to him. What she finds, instead, is the heart of this entrancing love story. Erik is still alive, but just barely and it is Christine's decision whether to save him or let him go. Without a doubt, Christine, and the author, bring Erik back to life. He is, here, incredibly passionate, yet maintains a bit of the old Phantom, suspicious at times and even harboring thoughts of violence. New characters are introduced and are a wonderful addition to the world of Erik and Christine.
I discovered Angel of Music while searching for new Phantom fiction to read and this is one that Phans will embrace as Ms. Bernadette creates a viable alternate reality for our beloved characters! Don't miss this one!

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