Book Review: A Note Yet Unsung {Tamera Alexander}

by - 9:02 PM

Well, look who's actually posting a review. *cue chorus of gasps* YES, I KNOW. It's been six months since I've reviewed a book and that is utterly shameful.

I am here to amend that today, this time reviewing A Note Yet Unsung by Tamera Alexander. (Aka the book with the most GORGEOUS cover ever. *strokes it*)

AHEM. I guess you'd like to know what it's about? That's generally a good thing. *shoves blurb in your face*

A master violinist trained in Vienna, Rebekah Carrington manages to wheedle her way into an audition with the new maestro at the Nashville Philharmonic. But women are "far too fragile and frail" for the rigors of an orchestra, and Rebekah's hopes are swiftly dashed when the conductor--determined to leave his mark on the world of classical music--bows to public opinion. To make matters worse, Adelicia Cheatham, mistress of Belmont Mansion and Rebekah's new employer, agrees with him.

Nationally acclaimed conductor Nathaniel Tate Whitcomb is Nashville's youngest orchestra leader. And despite a reluctant muse and a strange buzzing and recurring pain in his head, he must finish composing his symphony before the grand opening of the city's new symphony hall. Even more pressing, he must finish it for the one who first inspired his love of music--his dying father. As Tate's ailment worsens, he knows Rebekah can help him finish his symphony. But how can he win back her trust when he's robbed her of her dream?

As music moves us to tears yet makes our hearts soar, A Note Yet Unsung captures the splendor of classical music at a time when women's hard-won strides in cultural issues changed not only world history--but the hearts of men.



WOW. This book was SO good! When I started reading it, I wasn't entirely in the mood for it. However, once I got past the first 60 pages or so, I was so immersed in the story that it was painful to put the book down.

Since lists are so much fun, let's go ahead and divide my thoughts into a list, shall we?

Things I Liked

  • Look, somebody has to say it...TATEEEEE. Oh my goodness, Tate Whitcomb was by far the best part of the book! I absolutely fell in love with him. <3 He can be short-tempered and irritable at times, but he's really a great guy overall. He just has a lot of problems weighing on his mind, including composing an ENTIRE symphony, dealing with the stresses of being the new, young conductor of an orchestra, and lots of personal issues (which shall not be named because spoilers). POOR THING. I just want to hug him throughout the entire book. Because the way he treats Rebekah?? Suffice it to say, the two of them are darling together. I just love how sweet he is with her (um, most of the time...hehe). 
  • Tate's family was wonderful. I just loved his family so much! It was amusing seeing how adorably awkward Tate was when introducing them to Rebekah. XD And the genuine love they had for each other is just so heartwarming.
  • All the violin and music-related stuff! I'm a violinist myself so I really appreciated all the music in this book. Rebekah and Tate both play the violin, and I love that. I'm not sure if non-musicians would enjoy it as much? Maybe it just appeals to me because I deal with music all the time anyway. But yes, all the music was splendid! (And I love that the author actually has a playlist of all the songs mentioned in the book on her website. :D)
  • The setting! I really liked the "refined southern feel" of this book. It takes place in Nashville in 1871, where there are mansions and concert halls and even donut shops (where Tate takes Rebekah <3). It has a very charming feel to it overall. ^_^
  • The writing style was so gorgeous! I positively adored Tamera Alexander's writing style! Too often the writer is either too descriptive or not descriptive enough. But this author struck the perfect balance. The writing was rich and evocative, yet engaging enough that I didn't get sucked into a black hole of descriptions. (That has happened before. XD) 
  • Rebekah. I can't believe I haven't mentioned her yet! She was SUCH a great character! It's not often that I find myself rooting for both main characters so much. She was a good blend of gentle and sassy. I loved her determination and strong will, combined with a gentleness of spirit. I think that female characters often end up on either side of the spectrum, which aggravates me. But Rebekah broke the mold, being an independent young woman who still knew how to be a lady.
  • TATE AND REBEKAH. Have I conveyed how much I love them??? EEP. They were the most darling couple! You don't know how much I wanted them to just GET TOGETHER. (I'm not telling you if it happens or'll have to read the book to find out. ;))
  • Alllll the cookies and donuts and cakes. YUM.
  • THE ENDING. The last few chapters were so darn good. I cried happy tears during one scene. :')
  • Oh, and I almost forgot to mention this! I loved that Tate and Rebekah's relationship was not based on physical attraction so much. Sure, looks had a part to play in it, but I appreciated that they each wanted the other person to achieve their goals. They were genuinely attracted to their personalities and character, rather than just their physical appearance. 

Things I Didn't Like

  • Some of the dialect got a little old...there's only so much of that I can take in a book.
  • Not enough time in the donut shop. Yes, this is a legitimate concern. XD
  • I honestly can't think of much else. It was a really wonderful book!

Overall, I LOVED this book! Even though it was the third book in the series, I didn't at all feel disconnected or confused. The series is written in such a way that it seems reading them out of order works fine. That being said, I enjoyed this book so much that I just have to read the other ones now. :)

And content-wise, it was very clean! There were a couple kisses exchanged, and I believe one or two of them may have been described more than some people would like. But I thought most of them were sweet. Rebekah's stepfather clearly has...ahem, a thing for Rebekah. It's not dwelt on very much, but yes, it's worth mentioning for sensitive readers. I definitely would recommend it to older teens, probably fourteen and fifteen on up.

I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

4.5 stars!

In case you're wondering, you can find the book for sale here on Amazon. 

I seemed to have gone a little overboard on my review...oops. I guess that happens when I need to ramble about a really good book. ;) So tell me: do any of you play musical instruments? And have you read any books that involved a lot of music?

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  1. Ooo, this book sounds absolutely marvelous!!

    I play the piano, and I love it very much. I taught myself when I was 11, and I've been playing ever since.

    And I adore your header! That picture of Jack and Elizabeth is so cute. I NEED TO FINISH SEASON 3.

    1. It really is! Probably one of my favorite books so far this year. <3

      Ooh, I've always wanted to play piano! That's so cool that you're self-taught. I tried to teach myself...but eh, that didn't go very far. XD

      THANK YOU SO MUCH! Isn't it, though? I love those two. <3 AND YES YOU TOTALLY DO. (The last few episodes are intense, just sayin'. XD)

  2. THIS LOOKS SO GOOD. o_o I don't read a whole lot of historical fiction, but this just sounds fabulous! I also LOVE music in books! I play the piano (and tried the violin for a short time in my life but didn't stick with it... *cough*) so I think I'd really enjoy this! (And I mean, dat cover. #ShallowBookworm)

    Tate and Rebekah sound precious!!! I love that Rebekah is both strong and gentle. I share your exact feelings on the subject--most female protagonists are one or the other, and it can get annoying. I think we need more balanced female protagonists. And Rebekah sounds perfect!

    "Not enough time in the donut shop." *CHOKES* But seriously, donut shops are important! XDDD

    This whole thing just sounds marvelous! I LOVED your review. LISTS. Lists are obviously the BEST! Thanks for sharing with us! I need more Mary book reviews in my life. They're so fun!

    (Also, your new header is GORGEOUS. <3)

    1. AHHH, IT IS! I looooove this book. I used to not read historical fiction that often myself, but recently, I've been branching out a lot more. Ironically enough, some of my favorite books this year have been his fic.

      YES. Music in books is the best! OH. Piano is lovely! (Haha, your experience with violin is rather like mine with piano. I tried to teach myself on several occasions but didn't go very far. :P) (And yes, the cooooover. <3333 #Same)

      They are the cutest!!! And yes, I'm so glad you agree! The author did a fantastic job created a very balanced, realistic heroine--something a lot of the YA world could take notes on. ;)


      Awwww, thanks, darling! I always worry my reviews are boring and/or rambly. XD (Hurray for lists!)

      (GAHHH THANK YOU! <3)

  3. Great review! Thank you for making sure to mention what you thought of the content--I really appreciate getting a heads-up in a book review if there's mature stuff in the book.
    I saw a review for a book on a blog once that sounded really good, but when I tried reading it, it was beyond my comfort level. I just wished the blogger would have mentioned the mature content in her review. I wouldn't go overboard describing questionable content in a review, but I definitely appreciate a warning!
    So, all that to say, thanks. Rant over. *cough*

    You did a great job on this review, and it sounds like a fun book. I've played the piano, but no other instruments. I don't know if the musical aspect would bog down the story for me or not. . . Still sounds interesting!

    I'm heading over to Silver Horizons to read a little--it looks lovely! The story behind the name. . . Just so thoughtful and creative. <3

    1. Oh, that makes me so happy! Really, I love receiving feedback like this. Having a heads-up about content is something *I* always want myself, and I realize there are other people like me who would appreciate it, too. So whenever I review books on my blog, I try to have a content section. :)

      Thank you so much! Yes, it's such a fun book! I don't know if the music stuff would be boring to other people, since I've played violin for a while, but I personally have always enjoyed it in books. If it's done right, that is. ;)

      Awwww, you are the sweetest! I'm so glad you like my new blog. <3

  4. This sounds like a great book! Now I want to read it! (Well, ACTUALLY, I wanted to read it as soon as I saw the violin on the cover, but hey, what can I say? I'm biased.) :-)

    I play the violin as well, (And yes, I know this is random) but I was just wondering how long you have been playing the violin, and if maybe there is a chance you could post a video?? :-)

    Great review, Mary! I enjoyed reading it!


    1. Yes, it's a great book! :D (Haha, we violinists are definitely attracted to our native instrument. I see a violin on a cover/in a synopsis and I instantly want the book in my hands. XD)

      I've been playing for 4 and a half years now! :) Aw, that's so sweet of you to ask! I don't know if I will or not. Maybe someday. ;)

      Thanks so much, Skylar!


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