A Symphony of Rivals, the second book in a trilogy, is a compelling historical novel set in 1930’s Germany, Austria, Italy, and the United States. Alejandra Morrison pursues her dream of becoming a symphony conductor at an unfortunate time when culture and the arts are falling under the influence of Nazism, but through her devotion to music and Beethoven’s legacy, she finds a measure of hope and strength.
In Berlin, she trains with renowned European conductors, and through her friends Ben and Hannah Adelman, she meets art dealer Anton Everhardt, who falls in love with her. Alejandra’s musical talent is a double-edged sword which places her at the center of a dangerous political world, where she attracts the unwanted attention of a high ranking German officer. While attempting to maintain her integrity, Alejandra confronts harrowing situations, which challenge her principles; and when the violence and upheaval of the Nazi ascendancy spread to Vienna, Alejandra must choose between staying in America with her family or risking everything by returning to Europe in search of her dearest friends.
Translation to Spanish:
Sinopsis de Una Sinfonía de Rivales (A Symphony of Rivals). Es el Segundo libro de la seria y la historia es una novela histórica situada en los años de 1930, antes de la Segunda Guerra mundial, en Alemania, Austria, Italia, y Estados Unidos. Alejandra Morrison persigue su ambición de convertirse en directora de orquesta sinfónica en un momento desafiante en el que la cultura y las artes caen bajo la influencia del nazismo, pero a través de su devoción por la musica y el legado de Ludwig van Beethoven, Alejandra encuentra esperanza y fortaleza.
En Berlín, Alejandra entrena con reconocidos directores europeos y por medio de sus amigos Ben y Hannah Adelman conoce al comerciante de arte Anton Everhardt. El talento musical de Alejandra es un arma de doble filo que la coloca en el centro de un peligroso mundo político, donde atrae la atención, no deseada, de un oficial Alemán de alto rango. Al mantener su integridad, Alejandra enfrenta situaciones angustiosas que desafían sus principios morales. Y cuando la violencia y la agitación del fascismo se extiende a Viena, Alejandra deberá elegir entre quedarse en América con su familia o arriesgarlo todo volviendo a Europa en busca de sus amigos más queridos.
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“A good book is one that not only places the reader inside the story, but challenges her to think about how she would react and behave in seemingly no-win situations. A compelling story occurs right at this border between good and evil, between strength and weakness. And that is what makes Roma Calatayud-Stocks such an effective writer–especially in her latest book, A Symphony of Rivals. But the edges of morality are not the only barriers explored in Roma’s work. So, too, is the divide between music and prose, which effectively breaches as both a writer and a musical composer.” Howard Lovy, Managing Editor, The Alliance of Independent Authors. For the complete Q&A by Lovy, click here.
“A Suspenseful bridge to the final volume to a historical fiction series. Calatayud-Stocks portrays her characters clearly, each with a unique voice and agenda. The novel raises stimulating questions regarding work life balance, and the entwinement of art and politics. The momentum accelerates with the emergence of more serious conflicts., leaving readers with a cliffhanger. And for culture enthusiasts, the author once again offers musical selections corresponding to each chapter. Kirkus Reviews
“Music had become a political instrument. In this story the protagonist, Alejandra Morrison, a young lady possessing an exceptional musical gift as a concert pianist, seeks an opportunity to make a name as a major orchestral conductor in what is traditionally a male’s domain. The writing is good, exhibiting the kind of inspired genius shown by Alejandra Morrison. The strength of this story is in the bearing witness to the day-to-day process of personal experience whereby civilization loses its way. The overriding value of storytelling such as this is to force one to ask the question- “Could it happen here in the United States?” Alan Goodman, The Internet Review of Books