KIRKUS REVIEWS – “Calatayud-Stocks’ debut is a historical novel set to music. Alejandra Stanford, an upper-class woman with progressive ideals, is born at the turn of the 20th century to parents of Minnesotan and Mexican heritage. Their passion for art and music is passed to their daughter, as is an atmosphere of multiculturalism. Her life is privileged and pluralistic, with music as the glue that holds her disparate worlds together. Alejandra dreams of becoming a conductor, though few women have preceded her there. The historical aspect is well-researched and true to the period. The story is compelling that this novel deserves to find a larger audience. The novel’s grand ambitions are evident in its packaging—it is both book and musical composition (CD included). The author intends this to be the first in a trilogy, and she has created enough momentum to build on. An auspicious debut.”
HEARTLAND REVIEWS – Bob Spear. “Protagonist Alejandra Stanford is a Minnesota based product of both the American and Mexican monied class. She grows up comfortable a part of both cultures with the wherewithal to enjoy life to its fullest, yet she takes the time and resources to help those less fortunate. She and both her families have a highly developed appreciation for all the arts. Ale must balance her desire for romantic love, proficiency at classical and pop music, and a line-crossing champion of women involved in music composition and conducting.
This is a first volume in a family saga trilogy. Ms Calatayud’ writing style is a “You Are There” approach that is intensely personalized. The author’s unique approach to telling this story is demonstrated by her composing and recording music that exemplifies the moods of different story segments as they unfold. A note about her music (Did I just say that?) Ms Calatayud-Stocks’ music is a joy to experience. In all, this was a highly unusual and well-done project that marries the written word with the musical words. We rated it five hearts (5 Stars).”
BOOK REVIEWER LIST – “A Song in My Heart is the debut historical novel by author and songwriter, Roma Calatayud-Stocks. Through her novel, Calatayud-Stocks establishes herself as a first-rate storyteller, showcasing her equal talents for both writing and music through the story of Alejandra Stanford. The theme of music is interwoven throughout the storyline; and Calatayud-Stocks deftly interweaves the themes of music, art, romance, passion, and history.
The novel is absolutely spellbinding, transporting readers to another time and place with its words and accompanying musical journey, whisking them into the realm of the extraordinary. A Song in My Heart, which is the first book in a trilogy, leaves readers anxious for the next installment from the multi-talented Calatayud-Stocks, A Symphony of Rivals, which will resume the story in Berlin, Germany in 1933.”
ANA LUISA FAJER FLORES, Consul General of Mexico in St. Paul, Minnesota. “A Song in my heart is a delightful reading. I enjoyed it immensely. Roma makes Mexico, Minnesota, New York and Venice talk to each other, understand each other through the beauty of “Ode to Minnesota,” “Nostalgia Mexicana,” or “So this is Venice.” The novel flows softly and rhythmically. Roma did a wonderful job in researching the history of music, the classic composers, Schumann, Bach, Liszt and Debussy. The same thing happens through her narrative the reader can feel the music and understand why she chose a certain piece for a specific scene. Family, love and music are in the center of action. They remind us that no matter if it is the 20th century or the 21st, human kind is the same. We love and suffer dawns and sunsets, war and peace, but it is always MUSIC in the novel that offers a safe port. Alejandra Stanford, the main character in the novel, shows us the sweetness of life but at the same time the strength, the power of seduction, the firmness of a decision.
A Song in my Heart is a powerful Song in a man or a woman’s soul, in a Mexican, Minnesotan, and French or English heart. It is a novel that can find its place in any context, in any time in history. There is, in my view, its enormous value. I will be awaiting for A Symphony of Rivals….The second installment of Roma’s trilogy which will begin in Berlin, in 1933….”
INTERNET REVIEW OF BOOKS – Susan Dusterhoft – Fiction Vibrant history, savory sound. “A Song in My Heart, by Roma Calatayud-Stocks, is the story of Ale, as she is known to her friends and family, who is born to bicultural and artistic parents. Accompanying the book, and something I have never seen before, is an audio CD with original musical scores to accompany various sections of the novel. A Song in My Heart will surely please any history aficionado and is brimming with music and art references that simply cannot be ignored, as they are an integral component and inspiration to the story. The details, researched to perfection, are woven throughout and allowing the reader to stand right alongside Alejandra.
Experiencing Ale’s world for the first time, I was instantly drawn into the story. Getting lost in the vivid descriptions of the Mexican culture as well as the beautiful images of Paris and beyond, we see Alejandra’s musical life story seamlessly interwoven and leaping from the pages. Did the author herself long to have lived during this time period? I know that I wished to have been there myself as Alejandra finds melodic inspiration in everything she saw. I will at return to it when I can lose myself again in the rich and vibrant history woven and listen in rapture to Roma’s musical accompaniments. Given the volume of details, I can truly appreciate the fact that Ms. Calatayud-Stocks took almost ten years to complete this story!”
JOHN WATSON MILTON, award-winning author of fiction and history. “Roma Calatayud-Stocks’ debut novel is about the life of Alejandra (“Ale”) Stanford during the first three decades of the 20th century. Ale is able to appreciate the best of her cultures of origin — but her dream is to become an orchestral conductor. During her formative years, there are few role models for this ambition, and she struggles to keep her musical talent alive as she goes through the stages of growing up, courting, and earning respect in a milieu that’s predominantly male … Calatayud-Stocks takes the reader on a compelling journey, from Minnesota and New York to México and across the continent of Europe, spicing her narrative with details that speak to her own powers of observation and willingness to do the necessary research. As she leads us along the trajectory of history, the author describes how the once-compartmentalized genres of music began to merge, so that Gershwin and American jazz could be performed by classical symphony orchestras. This parallel journey takes us from Debussy to Albéniz to Lecuona, Scott Joplin, and Falla. It is a sparkling account, and we look forward to the sequel that is sure to follow. I enjoyed it immensely.”
HIGHLIGHTED TITLE: Independent Publishing – Editor’s Choice, Jim Barnes, Editor. A SONG IN MY HEART: “Reading this book will put a song in your heart, and take you back to a time when classical music was the pinnacle of popular culture and entertainment. A talented composer herself, author Calatayud-Stocks shares her knowledge and passion for art and music with this compelling historical novel and accompanying original soundtrack CD. How refreshing this is, at a time when our children’s involvement in the arts competes with the low-brow culture of celebrity gossip, reality TV, and shallow pop music. Longing for a world of fine art and music with substance? A Song in My Heart is a great place to start.”