The thoughtful and compelling issues-based second novel from an author who has already gained a loyal fanbase.
Forbidden by her parents to become a musician, Kate Bradley is stunned when her small daughter reveals an exceptional talent for the piano. Kate is determined to give Alicia the chance to succeed and it's not long before the fame of the Peak District prodigy begins to spread. Alicia, though, craves her father's approval: Guy, with a demanding job, is rarely at home, alienated by Kate's obsession with her daughter's burgeoning career. Meanwhile Alicia's tearaway brother is sidelined, and warns his sister that Kate doesn't mother her but smother her.
As the heap of white lies designed to keep Alicia concentrating on her piano in peace escalates into a mountain of deceit, conflict threatens to overwhelm the entire family - with potentially devastating consequences.
Jessica Duchen's debut novel is captivating, imaginative and fascinating. As a musician and a mother, I recognized many of the scenarios and found the questions that were posed very poignant, both from a musical and personal perspective. The pace builds powerfully to a dramatic and ultimately very moving conclusion. Completely gripping! - Tasmin Little on RITES OF SPRING
Adam and Sasha appear to have the perfect life - good jobs, a nice home, money and three perfect children. But as their marriage begins to unravel, their ballet-crazy daughter starts staving herself - and her parents are too preoccupied to notice. A haunting, heartbreaking novel. - Closer on RITES OF SPRING
A sensitive and thought-provoking novel that will resonate all the more for those with musical leanings. - Femke Colborne, MUSO on RITES OF SPRING
Jessica Duchen has crafted a riveting drama set within the arts world . . . The neatly-composed plot charges to a climax as steadily as Ravel's Bol?ro, with Duchen capturing well the inner world of the pubescent girl and the London classical music scene. For fans of Joanna Trollope and Russian composers alike. - Classic FM Magazine on RITES OF SPRING
An imaginative novel about a music writer, her violinist husband their daughter, with themes of miscommunication, perfectionism and adolescence. - Eve on RITES OF SPRING
Wonderful! Thank you for hours of absorption - I had to know what happened to the characters. - Steven Isserlis on Rites of Spring
The devil in this book is in the detail, the accumulation of every detail that disables middle class life when the unexpected lands, in this case a musically gifted child. You turn the pages with a tremble, in case you crush the fragile family. Unbearably real. - Yasmin Alibhai-Brown
Duchen skilfully balances the conventions of the genre with the authority of a writer who really knows her subject. ALICIA's GIFT is a wonderful read. But make sure you keep the Kleenex handy when you tackle it. - Music Teacher on Alicia's Gift
Jessica Duchen was born in London and grew up with music and writing as twin passions. She has written for publications including The Independent and BBC Music Magazine and as music journalist has interviewed most of today's greatest musicians. Her books include biographies of the composers Gabriel Faure and Erich Wolfgang Korngold. As a pianist she plays in a duo with her violinist husband. They live in south-west London.