Paul Cohen’s sumptumous debut novel captures the high drama and low dealings that lie behind the polished facade of fin de siecle New York.
He sang for his lifeShe lived for his love
Mario Alfieri is the world's greatest tenor. He is also, if rumours are to be believed, the world's greatest lover. When he arrives in New York in 1894 to prepare for his first season at the Metropolitan Opera House, all Manhattan is aflame with excitement. Society hostesses compete for Alfieri's company. Everybody wants to hear him sing. Success, it seems, is assured. Until he meets Clara Adler. This bewitching orphan lives in the mansion of her late guardian, penniless, friendless and alone except for the unwelcome attentions of Thaddeus Chadwick, the lawyer who controls the estate. Mario and Clara fall hopelessly in love. But Chadwick is determined to keep Clara for himself and will stop at nothing to destroy all that Mario and Clara hold most dear. As Clara faces the unforgiving gaze of a world astonished that she has snared its most eligible bachelor, she is forced to confront her own dark secret and unravel the mysteries of a past she has tried hard to forget.