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In 1939, just before the outbreak of World War II, a young piano tuner, Charlie Kilworth, faces tow enigmatic questions: Who was his father? And, given the madness that consumed his mother, does he dare become a father himself?Drawing on his own memories and the memories of those who knew and loved Lily Kilworth and on the iconic contents of a wicker suitcase she took with her everywhere, Charlie pieces together the story of a vivid, mercurial woman whose madness was both a gift and a curse.Conceived and born in a field of wildflowers and meadow grasses, Lily inhabits an idyllic late-Victorian world until the collision of tow forces changes her life forever: she becomes entranced with fire and the terrifying freedom it unleashes in her mind; and, when her mother unexpectedly marries the brother of Lily's dead father, Lily moves with them from her grand-parents' farm to the burgeoning metropolis of turn-of-the-century Toronto.As Charlie uncovers the bizarre and triumphant story of his mother, he begins to understand her need to escape, her fear of the voices beckoning from within the flames and her compulsion to heal the walking wounded. When he begins to forgive her for his own childhood, he arrives, finally, at the resolution of his quandaries about fatherhood.A loving, sad, and magical tale, THE PIANO MAN'S DAUGHTER has a lingering melody that plays on long after the last page has been turned.
"An enticing romantic melodrama--about a beautiful, doomed woman and her varied effects on those who love her and struggle to save her....[A] generally absorbing saga that [is] a cut above R.F. Delderfield and Daphne du Maurier, and one or two below 'Jane Eyre'."
"Though it offers scenes of real power, there are also passages where the language is humdrum and the action diffuse. It's a book that holds your interest but never entirely immerses you in its fabricated world."
Michael Upchurch, New York Times Book Review, 09/29/1996
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