'She inspired you, you loved her and sang of her; her task was done' Franz Liszt to Hector Berlioz, 1854
An audacious, brilliant and haunting novel about the composer Hector Belioz, by the author of PASSION.
In 1827 Harriet Smithson, a beautiful and talented young Irish actress joins an English company taking Shakespeare to Paris. With the ferment of revolution in the air, the new generation is longing for a kind of passionate, spontaneous art. To Harriet's astonishment, it is embodied in her - La Belle Irlandaise. She finds herself pursued by an intense young composer named Hector Berlioz. So begins a painful and profound love affair. She is his muse; his idee fixe; his obsession. And Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique, directly inspired by Harriet, will change music forever.
In the course of their marriage, their lives are transfigured and destroyed by genius, inspiration, and ultimately madness. SYMPHONY is set against a background of nineteenth-century theatre, Romantic art and music, revolutionary Europe, inspiration and madness and features Liszt, Delacroix, Dumas, Hugo and Chopin. But at its heart lies the story of a woman who found, almost against her will, that she was a maker of magic.
The brilliant historical novelist Jude Morgan a deeply empathic exploration of obsession and art, genius and madness stunning Deliciously romantic yet elegantly restrained thrilling - Washington Post