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Child of Music

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Felicity Grainger had not liked Stephen Tarkman of the Tarkman Musical Foundation when she had once sat next to him at a dinner party. He had the air, she felt, of a man who wields power and enjoys the fact and she had rather made plain her dislike. Then she found she must go to Stephen and try to persuade him to accept one of her pupils for the Foundation.


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Felicity Grainger had not liked Stephen Tarkman of the Tarkman Musical Foundation when she had once sat next to him at a dinner party. He had the air, she felt, of a man who wields power and enjoys the fact and she had rather made plain her dislike. Then she found she must go to Stephen and try to persuade him to accept one of her pupils for the Foundation.

30 review for Child of Music

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lolene

    Never scoff at a Mary Burchell "romance." I actually love her Warrender Saga books, because they are about the world of music--mainly opera. Though the covers are extremely cheesy--you may have to hide your secret romance obsession with a plain cover--the books themselves remind me a happier, simpler time. Burchell's romances are old-fashioned and very idealistic...like they were written in the 1930's...which is exactly why I like them. The language is old-fashioned, too, and makes me chuckle. I Never scoff at a Mary Burchell "romance." I actually love her Warrender Saga books, because they are about the world of music--mainly opera. Though the covers are extremely cheesy--you may have to hide your secret romance obsession with a plain cover--the books themselves remind me a happier, simpler time. Burchell's romances are old-fashioned and very idealistic...like they were written in the 1930's...which is exactly why I like them. The language is old-fashioned, too, and makes me chuckle. I read this one out loud to Janna. We had some good giggles and started saying certain words over and over, like vouchsafed and vexed. Lovely. I own the Warrender Saga (the song cycle books), and I revisit these books when I need pure escapism. These books make me feel safe.

  2. 4 out of 5

    StMargarets

    This is the fifth book in the Warrender Saga and not a re-read. In fact, it's not a complete read because I couldn't find any editions that went beyond the fifth chapter. *heavy sigh* (Edited to add: I did get to finish it! Below is my complete review) The set up: heroine is a music teacher and former boarding house mate of Anthea Warrender. She had previously met the independently wealthy hero, head of music foundation and school, at a Warrender dinner party three years previous. They didn't hit This is the fifth book in the Warrender Saga and not a re-read. In fact, it's not a complete read because I couldn't find any editions that went beyond the fifth chapter. *heavy sigh* (Edited to add: I did get to finish it! Below is my complete review) The set up: heroine is a music teacher and former boarding house mate of Anthea Warrender. She had previously met the independently wealthy hero, head of music foundation and school, at a Warrender dinner party three years previous. They didn't hit it off and heroine's judgement about a pianist has been proven wrong (hero was right). She remembers this because she has an 11 year-old violin prodigy that she wants to have further training at the hero's school. He remembers her, and kind of rubs it in about the pianist, but agrees to hear the girl at the school concert. Unfortunately, he comes to the concert with the OW, also the violin prodigy's aunt. The little girl is *terrified* of the aunt and performs badly. (view spoiler)[ Heroine comes out swinging for her "child of music" and hero tells her he's going to marry OW and not to talk about her this way. However, he will keep the child in mind and oh, would she like to work part-time at his school? Heroine is confused, but accepts. OW hunts her down and threatens her if she takes the job. (Reviewers note: this OW is stone-cold, straight-up scary. Wow - no wonder that little girl was sleep walking and having nightmares) Heroine takes job even though her roommate warns her not to because OW be crazy. Anthea invites heroine to watch her sing in London (Oscar conducting) and arranges to have the hero drive her the day before. They have a nice drive and hero tells heroine that he is not engaged to OW. Heroine doesn't know what's up, but during a phone conversation with Anthea they speculate the OW had put too many stipulations on her acceptance (like getting rid of the heroine from her job). Heroine goes to opera, but doesn't sit with hero. They're supposed to go out for supper afterwards, but OW shows up and sits with hero and heroine wonders if he'll go with her now. Backstage, heroine talks to Anthea who makes a direct comparison of the OW in this story to her soprano OW from book one(Madame Peroni). Seems the soprano OW always makes a point to send flowers and passive aggressive messages before Anthea has a big performance. She's retired, but she does it for the LOLs. No wonder "child of music" is so freaked by her evil aunt. I also liked that Anthea introduced the child of music's teacher to her old music teacher from her hometown. It was a nice touch. EDITED TO ADD: I got to finish it! Leona came through for me. Thank you!!!!!!!!!! So, Hero is having a supper party with the Warrenders in attendance, the heroine, and now the evil OW who showed up at the concert. Anthea mentions the child of music at the dinner party and Warrender agrees to audition her, going over the head of the hero. Hero is not happy and thinks the heroine is behind it all. He ignores her the rest of the night and insists on driving the Evil OW back and having her in the front seat while heroine is in the back. Heroine is humiliated. Warrender does audition the child and admits her to the school on the spot. He tells heroine it's her duty to care for the child. Heroine tries to explain that hero won't listen to her about the aunt, but he tells her no one's feelings are as important as the child's. Hero lets her know that the child of music will be living at the school, etc . . . But he's horrible to her and heroine calls him a pompous ass. (Hee - he deserved it). He's surprised, but to his credit, isn't too angry. He doesn't mind a frontal attack, he just thinks the heroine is being unfair to Evil OW. Child of music blossoms and a month or so goes by before disaster strikes. Seems the aunt told the child that her violin might be in danger, so she sleepwalks to her old foster home. Heroine, hero, evil OW and matron of the residence hall all look for her and find her at the foster home, which is on fire. Yes, child of music lit a match to see and set the place on fire. She's trapped in the attic. Evil OW tries to keep the hero from rescuing her. Heroine runs up the burning staircase and throws unconscious child out the window. Then she jumps with her hair on fire. Wakes up in the hospital. Hero has a good grovel. OW exposed for all to see. Perfect ending. (hide spoiler)] And that's it. That's all I've got of the plot. I really appreciated how in this expanding universe, previous characters are still being dealt with. Anthea may be a super-talent with an adoring, ruthless husband to protect her, but the power of the OW has been contained, not completely destroyed. So this is a book about evil OWs (I love them!) and . . . I want more. (Edited to add: OW was destroyed perfectly. Good job Mary Burchell. I'm a blood-thirsty reader and this satisfied) I really liked the heroine in this one. Her love of music and teaching and kids comes shining through. Hero so far, is not that impressive, I'm expecting more from him later. (Edited to add - hero had a wonderful grovel and he wasn't offended by the heroine's plain speaking. They'll be a good match because he needs her to bring him down a notch or two every now again.) Thank you again, Leona!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Megzy

    There were a time or two that I really wanted to slap Stephen Tarkman. He was blind as a bat when it came to Julia, the psychotic widow aunt. I wanted to steal and hide Janet so I could comfort her. I don't believe you can fall out of love and fall in love with another woman all within 5 minutes, therefore I really don't believe Stephen loved Felicity. I think it was attaching himself to this woman who was all nice and good and represented light and care to rid himself of the guilt and the sick There were a time or two that I really wanted to slap Stephen Tarkman. He was blind as a bat when it came to Julia, the psychotic widow aunt. I wanted to steal and hide Janet so I could comfort her. I don't believe you can fall out of love and fall in love with another woman all within 5 minutes, therefore I really don't believe Stephen loved Felicity. I think it was attaching himself to this woman who was all nice and good and represented light and care to rid himself of the guilt and the sick and grimy sensation he must have felt crawling over his skin after realizing the true personality of Julia and remembering all his nasty accusations and his prejudiced words and actions toward a 10 years old orphan child. His sense of judgment was so terrible, he had no business running a school for gifted children.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Leona

    Another great addition to the Warrendar series. This time the heroine is a music teacher who sets out to fight a system that is stopping a very gifted student from admittance to a famous school of music. I was carried away by this teacher's commitment and the petty rivalries she had to overcome. It was an engaging read and very subtly played out. The hero wasn't exactly my cup of tea, but he makes up for it in the end.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kay (aka) Miss Bates

    Mary Burchell’s 1970 Child Of Music is the Warrender Saga’s fifth book. Though not MissB’s favourite (see A Song Begins and The Curtain Rises reviews) Burchell is unrivalled in her acute psychological penetration and articulation of character. And this is as evident in Child Of Music as any other Burchell romance. Burchell’s heroine, Felicity Grainger, is a music teacher with a child prodigy-student in eleven-year-old Janet Morton, orphan and violinist, overshadowed by a hateful aunt. Felicity wa Mary Burchell’s 1970 Child Of Music is the Warrender Saga’s fifth book. Though not MissB’s favourite (see A Song Begins and The Curtain Rises reviews) Burchell is unrivalled in her acute psychological penetration and articulation of character. And this is as evident in Child Of Music as any other Burchell romance. Burchell’s heroine, Felicity Grainger, is a music teacher with a child prodigy-student in eleven-year-old Janet Morton, orphan and violinist, overshadowed by a hateful aunt. Felicity wants very much to get Janet into the Tarkman Foundation School, a musical foundation nurturing musical prodigies. Sadly, hateful Aunt Julia also happens to have set her sights on Stephen Tarkman, the handsome chief administrator of the Tarkman Trust, which administers and funds the foundation, wealthy himself and possessed of a talent for discovering and nurturing musical genius. Of course, nothing could be more wonderful than getting Janet into Stephen’s school, but Janet suffers from blocks to her playing when Auntie Dearest is around. And, Aunt Julie makes sure she’s around when Janet, with Felicity’s accompaniment, auditions, BADLY, for Stephen. When Stephen expresses an attraction for Felicity, “Aunt” Julie’s enmity and anti-Janet-and-Felicity campaign intensifies. Child Of Music suffers from a lack of romance. Felicity and Stephen barely spend any time together. When they do, Stephen exhibits a pig-headed defence of Julia Morton that reduced him to near-idiot status in MissB’s romance-reading mind. The novel is very much about Felicity’s emotional world and her nurturing of her finest pupil. Stephen is dense, defending and spending time with Julia Morton and not exhibiting any care or affection for Felicity till the final pages. Child Of Music is not an emotionally-satisfying romance, but it is a great study of the teacher-pupil bond. And it is, like all the Burchell romances MissB has read, a great study of the heroine’s shifting emotional landscape. To start, Felicity and Stephen share a previous encounter. They met at a soirée hosted by none other than the heroine and hero of A Song Begins, Anthea and Oskar Warrender. That evening, Felicity came to the defence and lauding of an up-and-coming pianist. Stephen scoffed at her championing and Felicity was left with a lingering, embarrassed resentment against him, a feeling familiar to all those who’ve received professional come-uppance; for, it turns out, Stephen was correct. These bad feelings simmer in Felicity still: … the recollection of her encounter with Stephen Tarkman still had the power to anger and embarrass her … his faintly arrogant air. The air of a man who wields power and enjoys the fact. And because she was already feeling nervous and a little unsure of herself she found his brusque manner both frightening and irritating. Burchell’s perspicacity is acute: both for her somewhat callow heroine and hero’s arrogant self-assurance. And yet, the more they get to know each other, over Janet, and despite Julia’s consistently sour and cutting remarks, Felicity’s feelings change. Stephen is smart, charming, good-looking, and knows as much about Felicity’s favourite subject, music, as would elicit her respect. At the end of a fairly pleasant encounter, Felicity’s feelings are mixed and fascinating: “… he got back into the car and drove away, leaving Felicity feeling dismayed and charmed and indefinably excited all at once.” “Dismayed”, “charmed”, and “excited”, how often has one experienced these feelings upon meeting a person that one has an immediate connection with? One of Burchell’s most finely-rendered scenes is a confrontation between Stephen and Felicity that had Miss Bates cheering for the heroine’s emotional release and vindication: That suddenly released the nervous rage which had been boiling in Felicity for some minutes now. “Because Mr. Warrender is excited about her. Because she’s Julia Morton’s niece, if you like. Because – oh, anything, so long as you’ll stop being a pompous ass!” she cried. “What did you say?” He looked as startled as if she had slapped his face. And now she almost wished she had. “Exactly what you thought I said. And richly was the remark deserved. Ever since we came into this room you’ve been offensive and – yes, pompous. You’re displayed the sort of exaggerated courtesy which is almost insulting. You haven’t smiled, laughed, said one generous word about the discovery of what is admittedly an excitingly gifted child. If Janet had come to you any other way you’d have been as excited as I am. Does it hurt so much having been in the wrong for once? After watching Stephen champion Julie, scoff at Felicity and ignore Janet, Miss Bates practically rose from her reading chair and cheered Felicity on. She particularly liked that line about “exaggerated courtesy”: how many times have smart people, Miss Bates admits to its use though humbly questions her “smartness”, used that ruse to veil contempt and rudeness and put others at a distance. And, finally, how difficult it is to NOT love a person who’s not inherently bad, or evil, but not quite deserving, as Felicity concludes about Stephen: But academic fulfilment is not a complete substitute for personal and emotional satisfaction. She loved Stephen Tarkman. She admitted the fact now. And she longed to be something special in his life. The fact that it was something utterly paltry which had spoiled the natural development of their friendship only increased the feeling of frustration. To scale tragic heights can be elating and ennobling. To plumb silly and tawdry shallows is a bitter business. How marvelously droll and sad at the same time: the little hurts, the mini-misunderstandings, the curt words, the neglected soothing: all the possibilities of emotionally failing someone, the “silly and tawdry shallows” (with apologies to Miss Bates’s friend, VaVeros, Shallow Reader). They add up; they hurt; they estrange. In the end, Child Of Music is a romance. There is reconciliation, a dramatic knight-in-shining-armor moment, and heroine-vindication. Miss Bates just wishes there were a bit more courtship and fun beforehand. With her reading companion, Miss Austen, Miss Bates says of Child Of Music, “real comfort,” Emma. Mary Burchell’s Child Of Music was originally published by Mills and Boon in 1971. It was reissued by Endeavour Press in April of this year. Miss Bates received an e-ARC from Endeavour Press, via Netgalley.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Dawn

    Felicity , a teacher of music, recognizes the talent and concerns of a young student . She continues to follow this student at Tarkman's school and also explores her growing feelings for Stephen . A classic author spins another tale in the Warrender Saga that stands the test of time and romance. Ebook from Net Galley and publishers with thanks. Opinions are entirely my own.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Poonam

    This is a very interesting read with a determined and sweet h (Felicity) and a delicious OW. I think the OW made the storyline very interesting. It was fun to read how Felicity was passionate about her student- Janet and how persistent and caring she is towards her. I would have liked more hint of H (Stephen) feelings towards Felicity cause it seemed a bit abrupt in the last few pages. Stephen alternated in being rude\cold or friendly towards Felicity. In no part of the book did I feel that he has This is a very interesting read with a determined and sweet h (Felicity) and a delicious OW. I think the OW made the storyline very interesting. It was fun to read how Felicity was passionate about her student- Janet and how persistent and caring she is towards her. I would have liked more hint of H (Stephen) feelings towards Felicity cause it seemed a bit abrupt in the last few pages. Stephen alternated in being rude\cold or friendly towards Felicity. In no part of the book did I feel that he has any other feelings towards her! I liked Oscar and Anthea as a couple and have read their story already (it's the first book of this series- A Song Begins) I will give this is a 2 star (ok read) for the romance but overall as a story I liked it and hence the 3 star.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    Great writing but the romance wasn't up to much. Not sure what she saw in him really. He wasn't really likeable. The ending was far too rushed. It ended nicely but for him to ask her to marry him at that point wasn't a great plot line, IMO.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    Most satisfying How enjoyable. A light romance is just the thing sometimes. Predictable, with the obligatory evil aunt trying to spoil things, but a nice pace and a happy ending for everyone. Except, of course, the evil aunt.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jane

    The child Janet is a great character, but the hero is not much of one. And this is not the only time in a Mary Burchell romance where a fire puts everything into perspective. Not a favorite. For die-hard Mary Burchell fans or those wanting to read the entire Warrender saga.

  11. 4 out of 5

    m k ravikumar

    Good book Lovely book and must read for a Mary Burchell's fan. Interesting plot and interesting picturization of the characters. Must read

  12. 5 out of 5

    MB (What she read)

    Well, I didn't like that one quite as well as the previous, but it wasn't bad. I want to get my hands on the rest of the Warrender books.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Shaleha Rahmawati

    i like this book

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sherazade Angels

  15. 5 out of 5

    Tricia Burton

  16. 4 out of 5

    Karen-Leigh

  17. 4 out of 5

    Akhila Giriraj

  18. 4 out of 5

    Theo

  19. 5 out of 5

    Liat

  20. 5 out of 5

    Chelsea

  21. 5 out of 5

    Susan Comber

  22. 4 out of 5

    Lynda

  23. 5 out of 5

    Li

  24. 4 out of 5

    Khothy

  25. 5 out of 5

    Shy

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ank

  27. 5 out of 5

    Tricia

  28. 4 out of 5

    Cordelia Fitzgerald

  29. 4 out of 5

    Aruna Dhall

  30. 4 out of 5

    Fritha Hennessy

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