Books, life the universe

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Interesting book

I have just finished Jane Yardley's Dancing with Doctor Kildare and loved it. The cover does not do it justice because it says Mills & Boon to me not an intriguing novel involving some zany characters, dancing the Tango, the life and work of Sibelius, medical statistics and little known Russian/Finnish battles at the end of World War II. Though that list makes the book sound dull - which it isn't. Nina is reasonably happy with her life until her father - retired Church of England vicar, former resident of Finland, lover of the music of Sibelius and terminal hypochondriac - dies of a wholly unexpected heart attack.
Nina works with medical statistics but is also a musician and she discovers the manuscript, in her father's hand, of a symphony. Whether or not the score is the lost 8th symphony by Sibelius makes fascinating reading. Then there's the Tango part of the story which involves a visit to Argentina with Tango teacher Jussi - the son of an old friend of her father's - and a reunion with the former ballroom champions who are also the parents of her schoolfriend Lucia.
The characters are brilliantly drawn - Duane the camp computer expert, Jussi the glamorous Tango teacher and Nina's long distance boyfriend Richard who is the spitting image of Dr Kildare in the old TV series. There's also Christine, Nina's mother and her dreadful sister Susan who fortunately lives in South Africa.
This is a marvellous many layered well written book with some great dialogue - both funny and sad, masses of interesting background and some very valid points to make about ancestors and looking beyond the 'facts' you've always accepted as the truth. I thoroughly recommend it.

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