Sweet Symphony: A Megan Edwards Book Review

The Merino Rose is a fictitious yet empowering instrument that has been off the radar since 1881. The “violin of angels” must have been destroyed in the Trieste Opera fire despite the many attempts at forgeries throughout the years. Yet, the very first sentence of Strings: A Love Story has the Merino Rose sitting present-day on Ted Spencer’s coffee table.

It’s who brings him the violin that sparks the most interest. That who being Olivia de la Vega, his first love that he still pines over. Strings speaks through Ted’s voice, sharing each piece of his life that involved Olivia. Starting with the high school play of Camelot to rendezvous after Carnegie Hall performances, each rekindled moment shines in its own spotlight.  

Strings takes its influences from Erich Segal’s Love Story and Robert James Waller’s The Bridges of Madison County and creates what author Megan Edwards calls an “accidental trilogy”. “A few years ago, I happened upon an old copy of Love Story in a used bookstore,” she said. “A glance at the cover, and I was 17 again. Later, I thought about The Bridges of Madison County, and how it had riveted women who were wrestling with jobs, kids and turning 40. It struck me at that moment that these two stories were the first in an accidental trilogy, leaving the last installment still to be written.”

Although the idea of covering the third phase of a woman’s life and paying homage to the first two phases written in different yet similar novels is unique, it’s the use of the Merino Rose that could have been touched upon more. The gripping first page gives you the insight of the instrument and its importance, but its importance isn’t touched upon again until a brief encounter towards the end. The importance of the Merino Rose fades, and although the romance doesn’t, it is the only moment that loses its spotlight.

Edwards’ romance novel combines all the best parts of a symphony: the opening allegro – the quick approach to jumping right into the discovery of the Merino Rose; the adagio – the slow movement of Ted and Olivia’s love story that gives the reader the chance to appreciate their relationship; a minuet rhythm – upping the tempo of their love story to jump between present and past tense; and the rondo form – the alternation between the contrasting themes of unrequited love and turning passions into careers.

Strings: A Love Story has all the qualities a book needs for a peaceful read: It’s easy to follow, a page-turner and envelopes you in a relaxing state of mind. Whether it’s a day at the beach or curled up on the couch during a rain storm, Edwards and her accidental trilogy is its own symphony.