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Beck’s mother used to be a brilliant and famous pianist – until illness ended her career, leaving her with shaking hands, broken dreams, and a single focus: that her son should carry her legacy forwards, at any cost. Forced to practise for hours, prevented from building relationships outside the home, physically and mentally assaulted when he is compliant, and even more so if there is any hint of rebellion, Beck cannot see any way to escape the powerful and twisted influence of the woman he refers to only as ‘the Maestro’ – until he meets August, a bare-footed, dreadlocked girl who seems to carry the sunshine with her and is inexplicably determined to find herself a place in his life. Viscerally violent from the opening sentence, authentically raw, and painful to read at times, this is a superbly told, emotionally charged story of obsession, abuse and the wonderful, terrible power of music both to destroy and, ultimately, to redeem.
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