Olivia's Opusby Published 30 Mar 2015
As Olivia Brandt ran along the Lake Michigan shoreline, the eclectic mix on her music playlist shuffled to the old classic, “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?” That’s the million dollar question, isn’t it?
Six short months ago, Olivia’s vision of the perfect life had become her reality: great friends, a promising career, a new home, and the sound of wedding bells in her future. The betrayal of the man who claimed to love her was the sucker punch she never saw coming. Olivia retreated to the one constant in her life and her greatest passion—music. Throwing herself into her music career, she began to rebuild her life, her broken heart, and her shattered trust.
Enter Nikolai Rourke, the volatile playboy of classical music. His reputation preceding him, Nikolai storms into Olivia’s life and demands from her more than she has to give. Their shared passion for music unites them but they soon learn that a rebuilt heart does not have the same capacity for love or trust.
Will Nikolai's love be enough to allow Olivia to trust again? Olivia’s new reality is revealed when the pitfalls of love and loss are second only to the dangers she faces as she follows her heart into the unknown.
"Olivia's Opus" Reviews
Olivia's Opus by J.L. Goodman is a work of romantic art. It's a sweeping drama that spans two continents and pulls the reader through a wide range of emotions as the main character, Olivia, tries to find the true love that has eluded her through the first twenty-something years of her life.
Olivia is a world-class composer of music for string quartets and full orchestras -- but as the book opens in her hometown of Chicago, she has been commissioned to write a cello concerto for renowned cellist Nikolai Rourke. He has a famous reputation as a tough perfectionist and Olivia worries that she cannot write a piece of music worthy of his vast musical talents.
Indeed, her first few encounters with Rourke result in conflict -- although there is an undeniable attraction between the two that threatens the musical collaboration that will be necessary if the concerto is to achieve its full potential. For her part, Olivia is scared to death of her involuntary attraction to Rourke. She has been burned before in relationships, and she is wary of succumbing to the cellist's considerable charms.
Try as she will, she cannot get him out of her mind, even as she works to write the commissioned piece of music:
"This time, the external pressure from the daunting force called Nikolai Rourke was like sand in my gears, as I tried to make the music flow from my head to the paper."
As the story progresses, she begins to believe that perhaps the pairing can become a reality -- that she can get beyond her broken heart from a relationship gone bad in the past. Rourke softens considerably as he courts Olivia tenderly -- right up to the point that the two decide they cannot deny their physical attraction any longer. The author demonstrates a deft hand in building, and then igniting, the sexual tension:
"His hands burned a trail down my sides encircling my waist as he pressed the full length of his body against mine in the confines of our booth."
And that's just the prelude to the ultimate love scene between Olivia and Nikolai, written in a torrid prose that is guaranteed to heat you up as a reader. Nevertheless, the long-awaited encounter is done in good taste, bordering on -- but not quite crossing the line -- into erotica.
And so the relationship passes into a period of romantic bliss -- until Olivia overhears Nikolai speaking endearments into his cell phone to another woman. With her trust shattered, Olivia flees with a girlfriend to faraway Nepal, where she is kidnapped and held for ransom.
The ending is rich with twists and turns and ultimately delivers a satisfying conclusion to a well-written love story.
I give Olivia's Opus five solid stars and hope to see more from this talented author.