This novel is based upon the illicit purchase of a rare Stradivarius violin, and one question pervades: will classical violinist Eva Tyne break the law for her art? If so, how does she reconcile a lack of legal provenance and the right to keep the violin? Eva doesn’t care where the violin has come from once she hears the magnificent language of this fine instrument; she must own it, must play it for her future success on the stage.
Taking the plunge, Eva gathers over a half-million dollars in cash for the shady Russian Alexander, who has offered the once-in-a-career opportunity, agreeing to allow one-fourth ownership to Daniel, an investment banker she has recently met, the man who actually brings what Eva calls her “Magdalena” within reach.
In a rarified life of orchestras and genius performances, Eva is accomplished, her erratic behavior increasing exponentially, tethered to a demanding career. Falling instantly and desperately in love with Daniel, whom she met in a bar one drunken night, Eva builds a fictitious assemblage of romance, career opportunities and danger, all revolving around the Magdalena.
As finely strung as her violin, Eva has flashes of genius and despair, drinking too much, too often, emotionally battered by her own random choices. Violin in hand, Eva simply walks away from a prior relationship, avoiding the very real problems that plague her life as an artist.
With a chronic inability to gauge appropriate behavior, Eva’s choices are triggered by emotion and instinct; consequently, the constant drama, confusion and paranoia make it difficult to assess Eva’s grasp of reality, lending a mysterious cast to the story. Her days acquire an eerie quality, her thoughts chased with paranoia, her career rising but threatened by a lack of provenance for the violin, her relationships rife with jealousy and self-doubt.
Responding to her natural inclination to fright and flight, Eva embraces her sudden insights into the foundations of her discontent, achieving a clarity that has previously eluded her. But it is a treacherous journey, one fraught with vague threats and the ill-intentions of others: “Something is going on when my back is turned. Someone is up to no good.”
At the end, the secrets are revealed, the confusing puzzle of events suddenly shaken into recognizable form, the once baffling events brought together in a surprising and deft denouement: “Such an ugly bite to it, the taste of my own medicine.” The sly Eva acknowledges her mistakes, separating fact from fantasy and fending for herself at last, releasing the small comforts of the past to own the future.