Pierre Rêveur, at 59, is at the top of his profession as a tenor opera singer, but at low ebb in his marriage. His wife, Yvette, once a great soprano, no longer attends his performances or gives needed affection, causing Pierre much angst. He gives his entire self to "Opera" - the enslaving feminine personage for the art that possesses him like a slave. Pierre does not realize the damaging repercussions his obsession has on Yvette, their relationship, or on himself.
Yvette Descours financed Pierre's vocal training in their youth, aiding his rise to legendary fame. But Pierre's intensity for pleasing "Opera" has Yvette concerned about his health. She seeks advice from friends, and one suggests allowing Pierre to have an affair. Thinking an affair may help her husband relax, and release him from "Opera's" death-hold grasp, she concedes, even suggesting to Pierre to have an affair.
Julianna Hughes, an orphan and young librarian at the New York Public Library, is an unpublished poet, an opera lover and the "Cursed Girl." Having the psychic ability to draw the "downhearted" into her eyes, letting them see their fears and other negative feelings, has caused some people to die or be institutionalized.
When a chance accident gives opportunity for an invitation from Pierre to attend her first opera, Julianna begrudgingly accepts. An affair between the "Cursed Girl" and Pierre commences, however, the affair is not one of sexual satisfaction, but one of opera love ...and like any opera, there are martyrs ...and someone usually dies.
"Defeating Silence" author, Tanya Henderson, has taken opera to new levels by introducing readers to the art form, without music, in novel fashion. The entire novel is set up similar to an opera, having "Overture," "Acts" and "Final Scene." The beginning of the novel ushers you in with a program and seating, and a "Cast of Characters" as the "Prologue". Although the cast list comprises only four characters: "Tenor", "Tenor's Wife", "Cursed Girl" and "Sixty-year-old Narrator", a vast assortment of other characters are players in this powerful novel/opera.
Before the actual opera-story begins, two attendees in the fictional audience discuss the opera, cast and narrator, drawing readers into the audience as if overhearing the whispered conversation, which entices further reading. "Defeating Silence" has everything an opera can offer, other than music. I very highly recommend "Defeating Silence" to all passionate opera lovers, and even to those people unfamiliar with operas. I have never attended an opera, and lean toward classic rock and blues music, yet "Defeating Silence" has me now yearning to experience live opera.Patricia Spork - Reviewer
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