Author’s Note: We were provided with a free copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Plot & Storyline Quality (2.5 points)
The pages of Politano’s latest work, The Lost Melody, contain both profound Biblical truths that resonate with the reader, and incomplete ideas that echo in the book’s unfinished basement.
Vivianne Mourdant is a recently orphaned woman who is eager to run through the door of freedom her father’s death just opened. Vivianne believes she is destined to help save women who are trapped in abusive relationships. However, as a concert pianist, she doesn’t exactly mix with the lower classes. When the terms of her father’s will are brought to light, Vivienne uncovers a mystery that can only be solved by…working undercover in an asylum.
Mitchell Turner has worked as a doctor for mentally ill people for a long time. The regrets and shame of his past seem to crush him at times, and he longs to change the broken system of asylums. Unable to overcome his own struggles, Mitchell continues to help where he can without really committing to lasting change…until a sane patient is admitted to the asylum against her will.
For starters, this is an atypical plot and storyline. I’m happy to say that this story is unique and beautiful in many ways, not odd. Strengths of the plot and storyline include the suspense elements, the non-obvious resolutions, and the way the very nature of Jesus is woven into the pages of the story…or did He weave Himself in?😉 Weaknesses include moments of expository dialogue, some deep ideas that did not come to their full fruition in the plot (likely due to length constraints), and some choppiness/pacing issues in the storyline. Overall, the novel rounds out with an above average score in this section.
Character Development (2.5 points)
Next up, the character development in this story is above average in some areas, but not overall. Vivianne is a strong lead with a consistent arc, realistic depth, and relatable struggles. It would have been nice to see her childhood experiences as flashbacks, rather than spotty moments of expository dialogue. Mitchell has potential and is an imperfect hero, but the reader is mostly told who he is. It would have been nice to see this character develop more naturally. For instance, who is he other than a nice guy who experienced trauma? (spoiler) Moreover, it is unrealistic to believe that either of these characters would be ready for a serious relationship until (through Jesus) they dealt with the trauma they both experienced. The minor characters are strong and have more depth than some of the more prominent members of the story, but some feel extra. For example, Nurse Branson. Was this character needed in the story? The antagonist has basis for his actions and is realistic in some ways. Sometimes his violent scenes go a little too far. On the whole, the characters in this story are all average or above. Had the novel been a series instead, there would have been more space to deepen and explore Vivianne and Mitchell’s arcs more completely, to add greater meaning to the antagonist’s role, and to tie together everyone’s roles in the story more securely.
Creativity & Originality (1 point)
To conclude, The Lost Melody receives a half of a point in creativity for its application of Biblical truths and for the story’s spiritual depth. We also award it a half an x factor point in originality for portraying a very difficult topic in a mostly objective and meaningful way. The novel’s message of hope for people who need healing is relevant and needed right now. This story would make a great screenplay for a TV series. We recommend The Lost Melody to those who are looking for something unique to read.
Box Office Wish List Rating: 6 out of 10 points