G1214 Book Review of The education of Delhomme by Nancy Burkhalter
Name of Book: The Education of DelhommeAuthor: Nancy Burkhalter
Publisher: History Through Fiction
Type of book: France, piano tuners, Frederic Chopin, 1830s-1850s, England, music, class struggle, industrial revolution, friendships, relationships, music, techniques, talents
Year it was published: 2020
Frédéric Chopin’s piano tuner, hungry for money, is lured into a royal spy ring but later condemned for treason by Napoleon III during the 1848 Paris Uprising. His one-time competition for Chopin’s affections, George Sand, might be his only hope.
Filled with real historical characters and events, The Education of Delhomme is a captivating tale of struggle and hope amidst the social and political upheavals of mid-nineteenth century Europe.
Main characters are Beau Delhomme as well as Fredric Chopin, George Sand and Eugene Francois Vidocq. Beau is a man who tried to become a doctor but couldn't and when his sisters family moves to England, he is forced to care for his mother. He becomes a piano tuner and meets with Chopin. Frederic Chopin, originally Polish, is a prodigy as well as a perfectionist and is both friendly yet taxing. He also suffers from ill health. George Sand is a liberated woman who is also a prolific writer and is Chopins paramour. She supports causes that Delhomme and Chopin find abhorrent, and quite often clashes with Delhomme. Vidocq is a chameleon who can also read people well and dares to manipulate everyone. Most interesting part about him are costumes.
People are more alike than different
The story is written in first person narrative from Delhommes point of view, and it's definitely a rich and wonderful tale of his life and of meeting various famous figures that existed in France at the time. ( while i knew that one of the characters was a bad person, I still enjoyed seeing them show up in various costumes, able to survive evdrything.) I also liked learning about Chopin's life in France and seeing transformation that Delhomme is forced to go through.
(From the book)
Nancy Burkhalter is an educator, writer, journalist, linguist, and piano tuner. She holds a Master's degree in journalism and English education, as well as a Doctorate in linguistics from the University of New Mexico. She has taught composition for many years in the USA, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Kazakhstan, and Russia. Her overseas work led to an interest in comparative education, especially critical thinking. Both observations and research led to her book and blog, CRITICAL THINKING NOW. In 2019 she was a recepient of GO BACK, GIVE BACK, a fellowship through the State Department to train teachers in St. Petersburg, Russia. A resident of Edmonds, Washington, Burkhalter loves to travel, write and learn languages
The period that this novel has covered is more of a blank. I somewhat know France's history prior to revolution, and I know a bit about past 1900s. But 1830s and past Napoleon Bonaparte? Nothing. This book though, fills in the blanks and it does so in an entertaining and educational way. In other words, you don't know you're learning. I admit that the subject matter is definitely interesting: why Chopins piano tuner? But it's a story with a lot of heart at the center, especially when Beau Delhome proves to be charming and witty. So yes, educational about the time period, as well as about Chopin and his paramour George Sand, an accomplished female author who adopted the mom de plume of a man.
This was given for review for a book tour
4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)