A bit too much Soap in this Opera

Sabine Conrad thought she had it all – the grand Prima Donna of the stage, the darling of New York society as well as the *love* of her controlling manager Gideon Price – until she is involved in a murder that sends her running to the farthest corner of the country, Seattle. Down on her luck, and going by the name Marguerite Olson she takes employment with a saloon keeper that eventually grows into a business partnership as well as a *relationship* of sorts. The story is told in alternating viewpoints, the later storyline in Seattle is first person narrative of Sabine and her past history as a young opera star is told via excerpts from Sabina’s diary. Eventually Sabine/Marguerite’s past comes back to haunt her and she must chose between her new life or the old one that comes calling once again – can she resist the lure of the stage and the public’s adoration?

*Yawn*. Despite not being a great fan of opera, I actually had great hopes for this one, especially with the setting being my own home town – Seattle. Unfortunately as some other reviewers have noted none of the characters were terribly likeable and in fact most times were downright distasteful as was much of the language they used as well as their sexual relationships (does everyone like it rough and ready?). Sabina was bordering on TSTL over Gideon and his machinations (oh come with the suspecting the maids of stealing her jewels), and I also found it hard to believe that no one would have raised an eyebrow at a young girl old traveling around the country with her brother and *manager* without a proper escort.

I did enjoy the old Seattle setting and didn’t really catch anything that sounded out of place and very much appreciated her including “The Mountain” in her settings (Rainier does dominate the landscape just a tad when she deigns to show herself), but I think I would have enjoyed it more if there’d been some more interaction with the founding fathers, but outside of a very brief appearance at the end that is not to be. It would have been nice to see Sabine interact with Asa Mercer as well as a Pike or Boren. In the end, it is a good book but not a great one. Get it from the library if you must and then buy it if you love it.  3/5 stars.