Friday, October 2, 2009

La canzone della Bella Cigna by philadelphic

This week's Perv Pack Recommendation is...

Title: La canzone della Bella Cigna
Author: philadelphic
Chapters: 19
Words: 119,574
Reviews: 1590
Summary: A famous voice teacher. A mysterious piano prodigy. Backstabbing classmates. Music school is competitive, and aspiring singer Bella Swan is determined to succeed. Hard work she can handle, but who expected music school to be dangerous?

Guest Reviewer: Feisty Y. Beden

Picture this: Sicily, 1927 … oh, sorry, I was momentarily channeling my favorite lesbisons. I mean, picture this: My desk, 2009. The lovely Algonquinrt sends me a message: “Hey, were you the one who auditioned at Eastman?” And I say, “Yes, yes I am.” She DMs me right back with a link to a story, saying, “You will love this. Just love.”

And thus was I introduced to philadelphic’s lovely and haunting story, “La canzone della Bella Cigna.”

The title made me immediately think of the aria from La Rondine (Puccini), “La canzone di Doretta” (also known as “Chi il bel sogno di Doretta”). It is one of my favorite arias, and it is used in one of my favorite scenes in one of my favorite movies (Lucy Honeychurch and George Emerson in a field of barley outside of Florence in Merchant/Ivory’s Room with a View). In addition, “Bella Cigna” can be looked at in two ways: is it a clever translation of Bella’s last name (“cigna” means “swan” in Italian), or is Bella’s first name here not her name at all, but an adjective describing the “cigne” (“beautiful swan”)? So is it “The Song of the Beautiful Swan” or “The Song of Bella Swan”? Of course, the use of “della” (“of the”) vs. “di” (“of”) would indicate the former, and one wonders whether the true title should be “La canzone bella della cigna” (“The Beautiful Song of the Swan”). Hmm.

Bear in mind that these were my thoughts just from reading the title. I hadn’t even begun the story. Now, I, like philadelphic and her Bella Swan, went to music school for voice. I’ve read books like Bel Canto that are about opera singers and/or music, and often there are little niggling details that aren’t quite right (seriously, don’t get me started on Bel Canto). But as soon as I started reading Canzone, I was transported back to grad school, realizing how woefully behind I was behind my colleagues, being wary of the backstabbing singers, and feeling overwhelmed and underprepared. Wow, did philadephic have that nailed. Dr. Emil George, her esteemed but rather batty voice teacher, reminded me of so many “eccentric” voice teachers, directors, coaches, and opera aficionados I’ve encountered over the years. I enjoyed Bella’s voice lessons and repertoire assignments because they were accurate and familiar, except all mixed in with Twilight. So that was like a meeting of chocolate and peanut butter in a delicious Reese’s peanut butter cup.

Philadelphic’s Bella is vulnerable like canon Bella, but there’s a streak of weirdness (in the best, most endearing way, e.g. her cufflinks fetish), of ambition, of bravery, of determined horniness that just isn’t in Meyer’s original (also of creativity with Easy-Bake Ovens). We meet moody piano prodigy Edward Cullen fairly early, as her assigned accompanist (ahem, “collaborative pianist,” I think they prefer to be called) at her first voice lesson. The piano bench replaces the biology lab bench in this version of the tale, but the same strange reaction is there. Frankly, I had no idea if this story were going to be AU or AH for several chapters.

There are throwbacks to sexy, sexy piano scenes like my favorite from Impromptu, when George Sand lies underneath the piano as Chopin plays. And philadelphic won my respect by referring to a Debussy piece that was not—gasp—“Clair de lune.” Yes, Virginia, Debussy wrote some other good shit. And the piece to which she referred is one of my favorites, “Doctor Gradus ad Parnassum” from his “Children’s Corner” suite.

The plot is certainly different from the usual fanfic fare—the setting, Bella’s chosen course of study (while Edward’s is, perhaps, more canon). At first I believed that the conservatory setting of the story would be a mere backdrop for the canon Edward-meets-Bella-and-seems-to-hate-her-but-he-has-a-secret-and-they-fall-in-crazy-love-and-abstain-from-sex-forever plot, but when Dr. George wants Bella to apply for a prestigious voice fellowship in Volterra, Italy … ? Hmm again. Maybe there is a method to philadelphic’s madness.

Jasper, Alice, and Angela are warm and wonderful foils in philadelphic’s tale (I adore the way she has portrayed the Jalice relationship in particular, how perfect they are for each other, with canon personality elements, but also with incredible passion and desire for each other expressed through music and performance—I could write an essay called “Eyefucking and Fingerporn: Solo and Ensemble Performance as Foreplay in Canzone”), but also fascinating to me, I must admit, is seeing the world of Twilight superimposed over my familiar world of opera, bitchtastic singers, and just the plain old hard work it is to train oneself in the arts. It’s, like, a sandwich of all my favorite things, except maybe schnitzel with noodles crossed with whiskers on kittens.

Oh, right, and the writing. The writing is spectacular: moving, haunting, glorious, hilarious, every color in the box of Crayola 64 and then some. The way philadelphic can express in words the emotions, the transcendence one feels when moved by music, is a true gift. Two examples:

[as Bella tells Jacob her thoughts on “Quia respexit” and “Omnes generationes” from Bach’s Magnificat, one of my favorite pieces of all time]

“This is the story about a young girl, maybe 13 or 14 years old, who, according to the legend, is pure of spirit. So this big freakin' scary angel comes to her, and tells her that her whole life is going to be upended so she can give birth to the Chosen One, the Messiah, if she can accept it. Imagine that the soprano solo is this young girl, saying that she's just a kid, and that she's nothing special but if that's what God wants, that's what God gets. And she's scared and bathed in beautiful light but she really wants to please her god. She's terrified, but trying to be good. What she sings is what she’s actually saying to the angel. You can imagine that the oboe is playing what she feels, and the cello is playing what she thinks.”

“Nice,” he says, and I can hear the solo again in the background. “And when the choir kicks in?”

“This is what I imagine for when the choir kicks in,” I’m getting excited now, having had this idea in rehearsal just now. “Imagine that the angel really wants to show her how her courage and her gift of unconditional love will change history. So the angel touches her forehead with his hand, and immediately she gets overwhelmed by a vision, the room shifts around her and she can literally see and hear a parade of history--”

“Wow,” Jake breathes. I can hear the glorious choral piece going in the background, sounding like cascades.

I can also hear Embry muttering in the background. Then he stops. I roll my eyes, imagining Jake playing classical music in study hall and flipping off anyone who tries to stop him. Some day that obnoxious, sweet kid is going to be chief, I can just tell. They always do whatever he says. It’s kind of amazing.

“Centuries and centuries of people singing to her,” I continue, ignoring the interruption.

“The text that the choir is singing is in Latin, omnes generationes, which means ‘all generations’. Imagine two, maybe three thousand years of people who have prayed to Mary- countless mothers, people heartbroken, or filled with the joy of their firstborn.”

[as Bella and Edward talk about faith and philosophy while listening to another of my favorite pieces, Lauridsen’s “O magnum mysterium”]

“Do you believe in God?” he asks, seriously.

I can’t help but think of his musical confession’ and wonder again if he thinks he’s damned. The question seems important, so I take my time in answering it.

“That depends on what I’m doing,” I finally reply.

He blinks at me in surprise.

“Well, it does.”

“That was not one of the answers I was expecting,” he says, shaking his head. “Can you explain what you mean?”

“Well,” I begin, searching my coat pocket for my iPod. “Most of the time, I’m pretty sure that everything is natural. Rational. The scientific method is wonderful. Look at everything people can do. We’ve got the Internet, space travel, we can read our genes and measure the age of the earth and the distance of stars. I look around and see that most everything makes sense if your primary goal is to see things clearly.”

“What about the rest of the time?” he says, taking an earbud when I offer it to him.

He stretches his arm behind me, hand on the ground to support us both while we sit. I instinctively snuggle into his side as I look for the choral piece I want, the Lauridsen O magnum mysterium. We lean back a bit, listen, and watch as the very highest, darkest part of the sky above us turns a deep bluish black and begins to show a glimmer of faint twinkling. The exquisite voices, without aid of musical instruments, seem to echo the emerging stars. The deep sparkling black seems almost like the pupil of a giant, blue, all-seeing eye. The stars, the music, the gentle lapping of water against the stones nearby: all are delicate, ageless, relentless, and very nearly endless. I find Edward’s hand behind me and with my fingertip lightly trace figure eights on his skin.

“I don’t have words for this,” I say softly, as the song ends. “But it doesn’t make me feel insignificant. It makes me feel … magnified somehow, because I can even witness such beauty. I don’t know what it means when other people say they believe in a god. But I can understand why they do when I feel like this.”

Don’t take these two excerpts to mean that the whole story is about music and/or religion/spirituality. It isn’t. But I was particularly moved by these passages, especially because of my own relationship with music. Philadelphic gets it. She understands that music has the power to draw out in us this primal ache and tremendous wonder verging even on fear. And she writes it so passionately and lyrically that the reader understands it too. It’s amazing, if you think about it: someone years ago heard something in his or her head, some spark of greatness, a whisper of the divine. He or she put it on paper, and generations (omnes generationes, even) allowed these works to live on long past the composer’s death. Some artists recorded these works, or performed them so philadelphic could hear them, be moved by them. And then philadelphic herself puts that spark back on paper (or taps it onto her computer) and shares it again with us, making us feel that same spark that has been carried down through dozens, hundreds, perhaps thousands of lifetimes. This is a sure, true kind of immortality, and—unlike vampires and sparklepeen—one that exists in our reality. We, too, can share a part of this divinity. You, the reader, can go listen to a YouTube clip of the Lauridsen and feel, like Bella, “magnified.” This is philadelphic’s gift.

Even if music isn’t your thing, there is hotness and UST galore, and chemistry, chemistry, chemistry! And some nudity. I’m not going to lie. There is nudity. There is glorious, sparkling nudity. And aureoles aplenty (but no more than two per capita, at least thus far).

Keep in mind, also, that the best is yet to come (no pun intended)—the story’s genre is listed as “Adventure/Romance.” We know where the romance comes from, but “Adventure”? Why, for me, “adventure” equals swashbuckling and pirates and cross-dressing. Okay, maybe not that last one, but, as the head of my opera department used to say, “You never know.”

But before concluding this recommendation, I want to return to the title of the story: is the reference to the Puccini significant? In context of La Rondine, Magda, a kept woman, is hosting a party. The idealistic but poor poet Prunier talks of his latest heroine, a woman named Doretta. He’s written a song about her, which he performs at the party. In Prunier’s song, Doretta dreams of a servant with whom a king has fallen in love and has promised riches, but she declines, saying gold cannot bring happiness. The poet is unsure how to end the story, so Magda makes up her own conclusion. “How shall I finish the beautiful dream of Doretta?” she muses. She says that one day a student kisses her. “Foolish love! Who would ever be able to laugh at the gentle caress of such a passionate kiss?” Given Magda’s position as a kept woman, the final words of her version of the tale carry even more meaning: “What importance has wealth if happiness finally blooms again? Oh beautiful dream of gold, to be able to love like that!”

Will these words be important to this tale of Bella and Edward? Who is the king offering riches? Who is the student (I think I have a guess)? Is Bella going to be Doretta, the one who gives up everything for love or Magda, the one trapped and longing for that kind of love? And are the riches offered her by the king money? Or fame? Or is it her humanity? And how much is she willing to give up “poter amar così?”

Sorry, I got a little carried away there. Where am I? Oh yes, the Perv Pack Smut Shack. Ahem.

In short, this story has a little bit of everything for everyone. Action! Smut! Tension! Bitchsplosions! Dirty alleyways! Concussions! Condoms! Hymens! Charlie’s mustache! So go and read it, already! Sheesh!

- Feisty Y. Beden

Bri- *sigh* I love this story. Is that enough of a review? No? Oh, alright then...

“I need forever, Bella. Be mine forever.”

I mean....really...with lines like that, how can you not have an awesome fic on your hands?? Normally, I don't care for AU fics. There's just something about them that doesn't pull me in like AH fics normally do. Um...yeah, I was wrong.

This fic grabs you and pulls you in so fucking fast, you don't even know it's happened, but all of the sudden you can't read it fast enough and you get to the end of what's been updated and are now in a panic because there's nothing left to read. Seriously, this fic has everything - humor, UST, mystery, drama, and...wait for it....yes, smut.

So far, we've been introduced to several characters - some of which I won't divulge - but I'm anxiously awaiting the meeting of the Cullens. We've heard talk of Carlisle, Esme, Emmett and Rosalie, but have yet to be introduced to any. I'm also anxiously awaiting the resolve of the teeny, tiny issue the author has gotten us into (and the reason behind my panic at the whole no more chapters thing).

For those of you that don't enjoy fusing music with your fics, don't fret. I normally hate it - I get bored and uninterested very easy when authors do that. However, with this fic, I find that it's weaved in and when it is discussed in length, it's done so that is it is easy to comprehend.

All in all, this fic is definitely a winner. The writing is nearly flawless, the story she's created is unique and intriguing and the characters are all completely lovable (or hateable...).

This definitely deserves 5/5 panties.

Emmy- Well. I deserve to be repeatedly flogged by Nina. As she told me fucking forever ago TO READ THIS STORY!! SHE TOLD ME I WOULD BLOODY LOVE IT... & For some godforsaken reason I put it off.. DOH! What a plonker I am... Its beyond amazing... Like the girls say I cannot compete with Feisty's review... But I can tell you that this fic now owns my heart in a way that only a few do. Her combination of plot & style is stellar. Her characterisations? Beautiful.

I seriously cannot praise this fic enough... Nothing I write seems sufficient to express the magic and beauty she weaves with her words....

I am not musical at all - as much as I adore most music, so I wondered if the music/opera setting and backdrop would overwhelm me, but it doesn't in the slightest.. It creates a lush landscape that suits both our protagonists perfectly and also provides amazing fodder in regards to supporting cast. The Alice & Jasper in this world are wonderful. Their bond intense and their love assured as they make their way successfully - until the volturri get in the way in the latter chapters...

One of the most enduring images from this fic for me is Bella laying under his piano reading, listening to him play and watching him as he does so.. I think its just a beautiful image that sums up this fic so perfectly...

So onto Edward.. Well. He is a masterstroke from her pen (err keyboard). All the things I love about canon Edward is there - his obsession, his unwavering passion and thirst and need to possess and take care - but this Edward has more respect for Bella - holds her in higher esteem & once his mindfuck period passes gives Bella opportunities and opinions and more of a say.. Plus the full power of PianoWard which was only ever hinted at in the books is allowed to run rampant all over my libido, I mean is allowed to come out & charm Bella and caress Bella & show her how hard & deep his feelings really are...

So - I know you - bunch of perv's! (I say that with complete understanding, empathy & understanding - you all know I am a slaaag though & through) You want to know is this story hot? Is it sexy? Sensual? Delicious? Does Edward get an opportunity to do some of the baser things WE ALL KNOW he was thinking about in the series...? Well - Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes & YES! But its never out of keeping with their characterisation or the plot. It helps to build both.. Their erotic explorations are paced so perfectly they are almost exhiliarating whilst still being tender and everything you would wish for them both.. My god the nightdress scenes..... Just sensationally tingle inducing and so very Edward Anthony Masen Cullen. . . The nightdress scenes or the corset scene are 2 of my favourite sexy moments.. I had to think long & hard about which would get the nod in my Lingerie Drawer selection this week.. (IN THE SIDEBAR LADIES & GENTS!)

This is without a shadow of a doubt a deffo 5 peach/champagne stiff corset with matching silky knickers - to tempt his little Edwardian era heart & erm big business both - out of 5!!! FuckFabbio fic!

Jo- Damn, Bri beat me to quoting my favorite line in this story... "I need forever, Bella. Be mine forever." I read that line and instantly sighed dramatically and copy/pasted that bitch for future reference. Seriously, there is just NOT ENOUGH of this in the fandom. I love philadelphic's Edward SO BLOODY MUCH. He is canon... very much so, yet, he doesn't deny the need he has for Bella. Personally, he does that to a ridiculous degree in canon, and I HATE IT. I don't know how philadelphic does it, but she manages to make Edward the same brooding, self-flagellating, lonely, mysterious vamp from the book, while simultaneously allowing him to learn from Bella, to grow in his love for her, and address and accept his overwhelming need for her... forever. It just doesn't tug the heartstrings (or the loins) any more than that as far as I'm concerned.

In addition to getting a most wondrous Edward & Bella AU-style love story, we get so freaking much from philadelphic, I honestly don't know where to start.

Briliantly merged with the writing and the storyline, the musical selections she's chosen to pair with this story are unique, inspiring, poetic, and (for those not living in the world of the operatic) highly educational. I'm not going to elaborate on the music school setting & story detail, because well, frankly, I'm intimidated and I don't think I could review it any better than Feisty did above. Just. FUCK. Feisty has also listed a couple excerpts in her review above, and I can't agree more with her... the writing, in accompaniment with the music discussed, is so fucking poignant and beautiful I just wanted to cry from it all. It's not often when a story can touch my spirit like this, and when it happens, well.... it's just a fucking beautiful thing to feel.

Connection with and interest in the characters of a story is a baseline requirement for me to enjoy a fic. Plain and simple. It has to be or the story is for naught as far as I'm concerned. But with this story? It's really intense connection with and unadulterated, rapt interest that I find in the beautiful characters philadelphic has painted for us. I'll go on all the live long day if I elaborate any more than that. I will say one thing though... out of any fic I've ever read, this is one of my most favorite and cherished Alice characterizations to date. She is just fucking beautiful in this story. Oh, and Dr. George is painfully awesome.

ZOMG! Nothing, and I mean NOTHING gets my juices flowing like some good 'ole adventure and well choreographed suspense in a story. Think P's good at the music and mushy and love and poetic? Just you wait. There is a delicate balance in her action/suspense writing of just-enough-info-revealed, blended with being-along-for-the-ride that is SO FUCKING EXCITING! 'Nuff said? Okay, well let me say this then... I felt like I was going to DIE when I reached the end of the chapter updates. "Can't wait" is the fucking understatement of the century.

Last, and most CERTAINLY not least, we come to the smut. Aye, dios mio! the UST and smut in this story is the Twilight that should have been... could have been... and philadelphic MADE it. Remember how intense it was reading Edward kiss Bella for the first time in Twilight? Yeah, apply that to the long awaited lemon in THIS story, but multiply that feeling 10X... then add a dash of poetic realism. ARGH, she does the virgin sexin' like nobody's bidness. Trust me when I say, you will be most pleasantly and appreciatively disappointed with it (just fucking trust me). THEN, bring on their second time to wipe that virgin residue right off the motherfucking map. Holy fuckhotness, the last chapter really was explosive in every fucking way imaginable. Oh! Update! wherefore art thou Canzone update? It cannot come soon enough.

I'm giving this EPIC FUCKING FIC all 5 flaming and enamored pairs of my 5 panties... and I'm throwing in a costume shift, stay, and petticoat for my now FAVORITE Vampward. He deserves the visual.

Kathy- I want to start my review by saying I have just about zero musical knowledge. I mean, I listen to it a lot, but music school? Voice teachers? I've listened to an opera... once. However, once you start to read this story? The details of the school, in my opinion, become like another side character. Sure, it's there, you might not fully grasp all of it, but it's just another player in the story – don't let it intimidate you into not reading. You can be an opera/music idiot like me and find intense pleasure (for your brain and body) in the masterful crafting and weaving of this story.

The first chapter introduces us to Bella and Edward – Bella, the first-year voice student at a prestigious conservatory. Edward is a doctoral student, labeled a piano prodigy. Simple and straightforward enough, right? Right. Buckle in, kids... LolaP, as I like to call her, is just revving the engine.

Bella's “Come to Jesus” talk with herself in chapter 2 just about did me in. Then we get an intro to Jasper and Alice, and I was definitely done for, head-over-heels in love with this story. Bella's self-talk and hysterical Grandma Swan moments are giggle-worthy. Renee in chapter 3 cracks me up, as in, laughing out loud (freals) hysterical laughter. Then you're left wondering – wait, is Edward a vamp!?@ The thought had honestly never occurred to me until chapter 3. The complications and confusion at the end of chapter 3 are stunning and genius.

The next several chapters take us through drama and suspense, Bella encounters someone scary, Edward saves her (I am playing this down – it's beautifully executed), and the mystery builds. She figures out small pieces, but we're still wondering who everyone is and how this will play out.

Edward and Bella grow closer, emotionally more than anything. For Christmas, she gives him a beautiful and thoughtful gift, and he gives her a CD with her lullaby on it. The whole chapter (7) is a lovely and lush experience. Jasper and Alice are vivid and colorful without being over the top. They are cute, sweet, sexy and smart, never annoyingly overdone, as can be a pitfall in some other stories. LolaP, I would REALLY LOVE a Jasper/Alice outtake from chapter 7. I'm prepared to beg and offer up whatever you want.

I noted in my review for chapter 9, and it is worth a mention here, that one of the nicest things about this story, aside from the great build-up and building of Edward and Bella, is the development of the side characters. Renee is canon, but still giggle-worthy and lovely. There are tension, UST, finally some answers in chapter 9. The combination of subtle (and overt) sexy and smart plot twisting are fantastic. Side note: Be sure to check out the outtake of chapter 9 from EPOV.

Chapter 10 is dramatic and sexy, beautiful and full of interesting detail seeds that I'm sure will be full blooms of plot later. NGL, chapter 11 made me bawl like a little baby. Chapter 12 has epic moments of firsts for them, and even though I might have cried again, my heart fluttered. I might just want to marry chapter 13 and all of the moments of restraint. Of learning. Touching. Rawr. Chapter 14 was a delightful return to happy, happy, happy and delicious sighs of teasing and love.

Once things really heat up, it's just scorching. It's beautiful and lovely, fresh love, real love, lasting love. It breaks your heart, then stitches it back up even better (it's magic like that).

Chapter 17 indulges one of my favorite pieces of lingerie – the corset. Fucking hot. Your stomach will drop into a pit at the end of the chapter, but thankfully you can hit the delightful forward arrow and move on. Chapter 18 is much the same, fortunately? It is like one big fucking roller coaster, and you peak at the top, then FLY down, stomach somewhere in your chest. And then you click the little arrows into chapter 19. Oh, chapter 19. I want to write a whole epic commentary on chapter 19, but suffice to say, it's heart-wrenching and beautiful, and sad, and happy? And hot. Not many authors can pull all of that off in one chapter.

For that matter, in fact, not many authors can pull off a complicated storyline and characters as rich, deep, and beautiful as these. I fucking love this story, and I eagerly await updates.

Nina- I don't think I can write anything even close to what Feisty did! Holy shit.

*pushes feelings of inadequacy down*

When I first started in the fandom, a long ass time ago, I only read AU (yes, there were AH stories before B&B just not many). Even after I started dipping my toe in the AH pool, I always went back to AU. Then it shifted and I've been on an AH binge for nearly a year. AU stories came and went and while I still enjoy those, there really hasn't been a AU Vampward, Humanella that has kicked me in the ass and made me swoon.

Welcome to LCDBC. AdorableCullens started the thread on Twilighted for it back when I believe there may have been one chapter. The title was the first thing to draw me in, the second was that AC & Algie were pimping it hardcore. Those ladies don't read just anything and they certainly don't make threads all willy-nilly. So I read what was up, then I read it again and started looking up the music she spoke of, the arias and the possible inspiration for the music school. It basically sucked me in and I haven't looked back.

Like Steph, I'm musical, if you call a kazoo and the ability to carry a tune musical. I'm kidding. I can't carry a tune. Sorry, lame joke. My point is that regardless of your musical prowess or how inclined you are to enjoy this particular 'type' of music, the story is still magnetic. Philadelphic writes in a way that is not only lyrical and beautiful but mysterious and sexy. That's a hell of a combination by itself, add in sexy Vampward and holy fuck we've got a winner folks.

While there are hints of canon Bella and Edward weaved into these characterizations, she's added, in my opinion, more expressive layers to them. They're hauntingly beautiful and poetic, she's probably created one of five Bella's in existence that I don't want to punch in the face. The story is addicting, the mystery and adventure being a steady undercurrent throughout. Even with the UST (that is on fire), you never lose sight of the big picture. It's insanely difficult to do that at all, let alone so perfectly that you crave every aspect of the story.

The UST, as I said, is perfection. Nothing makes me happier than a smoking hot Vampward and P's Edward is no exception. As the ladies said, P's given these two a PERFECT first time. Meyer wishes she wrote that scene, and the subsquent round two. Fucking hell.

Give LCDBC a try. I'm not going to lie, I've rec'd it enough times to know people's reactions to it, you're either going to love it, or be intimidated by the muscial dealings and the intricacies of the the mystery but it's honestly one of my favorite stories right now and will be for a long time.
This is proof that the so called 'smart' stories are stimulating to your brain and your naughty bits.

Don't discriminate, vive la smut


"Something sparks deep inside me. I don’t know what it is, but it’s so strong that I almost feel I should be afraid of it, but I’m not. It feels like an oncoming train, and it’s either going to flatten me or give me the ride of my life."

Um, Amen, Nina. I don't know that I can even come close to the beautiful review from Feisty. Hell, I reviewed every chapter and most times didn't feel worthy. Philadelphic has this beautiful, phenomenal, breathtaking way with words. It's truly a gift and I feel honored just to read it. I really, truly mean that. I read, a lot. Sometimes it's good, sometimes it's merely okay. And then sometimes, sometimes it's a homerun outta the fucking ballpark. This story is that homerun.

I was absolutely drawn in from the very first chapter. In fact, halfway through chapter 2 I sent the PP girls an email, because I just had to talk about it. I'm not a musical person to the degree philadelphic and feisty are, but I was in band, I was in choir. I have a healthy appreciation and deep love of, music. I adore the fact that P (gonna call ya P, cause your screenname is harder than hell to type) gives us the music for every chapter. It completely enhances the experience to hear it along with Bella as the story progresses. And I have added some wonderful new music to my repertoire now, things I might not have heard otherwise.

P has woven an incredible tale, showing us this musical world and letting us see Bella and Edward get to know each other and fall in love. It is so carefully, seamlessly done. She draws you so deep into their world, you almost feel like you're in the column with them. (You're gonna have to go read it for yourself to find out what I mean by that.) I told P in my reviews, several times during chapters I was holding my breath waiting on the outcome. Part of me wishes I'd been reading this from the very beginning, but the bigger part of me is very glad I had 19 delicious chapters to devour at once, especially with some of the cliffies.

I don't want to spoil plot, because it a beautiful discovery to be made one little piece at a time. I love P's characterizations. I really, truly like Bella. Oh, and how much do I love when she channels Grandma Swan?? I just find myself rooting for Bella, anxious for things to progress between she and Edward and then thrilled when they finally do. And dear Edward. While he is still somewhat moody and angsty, it's not nearly to the degree that SM's Edward is. And he's not afraid to admit that to Bella that he wants her forever. Yet, he's still the Edward we love in so many ways. I adore what P's done with the Jasper/Alice relationship, especially when the two of them are in their zone together playing music. Sigh. So beautiful.

The UST is incredible and the subsequent lovemaking when they hit that point? Truly beautiful. (See, I can't even find all the words I want to use.) Suffice it to say, I fucking love this story and you will not be disappointed. Now please, run, do not walk, pull up a chair and prepare to be amazed.

This gets 5/5 Edwardian era corsets and knickers from me.

In addition to our Round Table Review above, we've also asked the author to share a bit about herself...

I go into a fugue state that nobody needs to see when trying to write an autobiographical paragraph, so I got my bosom buddy Feisty Y Beden to do it for me:

"Philadelphic has an amazing array of corsets, all the better to showcase her fantastic rack. She is Facebook friends with the lady who played the praying mantis substitute teacher on Buffy season one, the lady who almost bit off Xander's head. One time, in France, she got a concussion."

Actually, I got the concussion in Michigan and an internal hemorrhage in France, but that's close enough.


Jewels64 said...

I absolutely adore this story. Philadelphic literally had me doing a face palm and squealing when Bella finally had her realization about Edward. I was screaming to no one in the room "THAT'S HOW IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN IN TWILIGHT!!!"

The mood, the music, the Volturi(c'mon...admit it...they are scary!!!) the love between E & B?

What a fantastic read! I am so hooked!!!

Thanks that you spotlighted this story! It so deserves the recogition!!!

Jewels64 said...

I absolutely adore this story. Philadelphic literally had me doing a face palm and squealing when Bella finally had her realization about Edward. I was screaming to no one in the room "THAT'S HOW IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN IN TWILIGHT!!!"

The mood, the music, the Volturi(c'mon...admit it...they are scary!!!) the love between E & B?

What a fantastic read! I am so hooked!!!

Thanks that you spotlighted this story! It so deserves the recogition!!!

Mary said...

Thank you for the heads up on this story! I am loving it!