AUTHOR: Julianna Desmond
As the daughter of a lighting technician and a costumer, Madalina (“Madi”) Pavel grew up in the shadows of the famed Metropolitan Opera House in New York. To fulfill her twelfth birthday wish, her parents dressed her in a beautiful gown and positioned her beneath the spotlight at center stage. Young Madi poured her all into an aria, blissfully unaware the opera’s general manager listened from a seat in the darkened theater. Now 26, after extensive training and traveling the world, Madalina is the coloratura soprano understudy for the Met Opera who seeks the breakout role of a lifetime.
Julian Rhodes is the owner/manager of Harmonia, a popular Manhattan breakfast bistro frequented by the Met staff and performers. While Julian depends on their patronage, he secretly finds the opera tediously boring. He devotes all his energies into making his restaurant a success, but when he meets the beautiful coloratura soprano, Julian begins to rethink his priorities.
Can a romantic relationship survive between a workaholic business owner and a promising opera singer? When Madalina is offered a fabulous career opportunity, their love is put to the test. Are Julian and his beautiful coloratura soprano meant to be, or are they destined to part ways?
Opera? Not my first choice in music, but as a fan of this author, I couldn’t wait to learn about the life of an opera performer. Julianna Desmond, a.k.a. JoAnn Durgin, always includes interesting snippets of background information to broaden both story and reader. Only a Breath Away is no exception. Even without the enjoyment of the romance, this story gave me a new appreciation for the discipline, strength and commitment needed to perform the art of opera.
But of course, romance does carry the story. Madi is admirable in her dedication and lack of ego, and while Julian’s work ethic matches Madi’s, his generosity toward those in need touched my soul. His is truly a worthy hero but thankfully not a perfect man. Not sure what it says about me, but the scene where Julian receives a well-deserved lecture is one of my favorites.
The supporting cast of this story are so well-defined, I feel as though I would know them from a distance. Kat and Chaz, especially, won my heart, and I hope to read more of their story soon.
The faith message, as in all this author’s books, is clearly presented. Only a Breath Away hits all the right notes, and it earns five stars. I received this book as a gift; all opinions are my own.