Thursday, May 07, 2009

Prelude by William Coles

Seventeen-year-old Kim is a student at one of Britain's most extraordinary institutions, Eton College-crammed with over a thousand boys and not a girl in sight. His head is full of the Falklands War and a possible army career, until the day he hears his new piano teacher, India, a beautiful but pained young woman, playing a prelude from Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier. Kim's life will never be the same again. An intensely passionate affair develops between him and his twenty-three-year-old teacher, and he wallows in the wild and unaccustomed thrill of first love. Twenty-five years on, Kim recalls that heady summer and how their fledgling relationship was so brutally snuffed out-finished off by his enemies, by the constraints of Eton, and by his own withering jealousy. Prelude is the bittersweet story of a life-changing love.

Prelude was a beautiful and heartbreaking story. It really tried to pull my heart out towards the end. While it was a slow start for me, by the end of it I was hooked and didn't want to let go.

While other student/teacher relationships in books seem to have one character taking advantage of another I didn't feel that so much in this book. I felt like they were on equal footing and were really there for each other. I never saw India as a predator and I found their relationship rather sweet. It actually seemed to me that Kim was stronger than India, I guess you could say in that way she used him, to prop herself up but it worked for me. I thought the choice to use music as a way to connect them (student to teacher) added a beautiful theme to the story.

I loved how the story was told, with Kim looked back on the events from 25 years later. It was nice having his reflections rather then just being in the moment with him. I also liked how upfront we know that this love doesn't last. And that Kim was able to admit that his own jealousy and paranoia helped end their relationship.

Overall I thought this was a beautifully told story that shows how one summer can change your life forever!

Prelude was released on May 1st!

4/5 Stars
ARC received from publisher


  1. I love the cover of this book. It reminds me of the animation of a music video of a song that I sort of love and of course have no idea what the name of it is.

    Have you read or seen the movie Notes on a Scandal? I didn't read the book, but I did see the movie and found it extremely disturbing. I'm definitely interested to read another take on the same themes.

  2. Lisa and Laura-

    I've seen the movie! And yes, very disturbing, Prelude had a much lighter tone I think, but also was a bit heavy, but in a different way.

  3. great review. the book sounds very interesting. Teacher/Student relationships usually don't go to tender route, at least from what I've read.

  4. Nice review. it sounds really good. and i really like the cover.


  5. Wow, there are a lot of these student-teacher relationship books popping up everywhere. Maybe I should read one. This one sounds pretty tame compared to others I have heard about. So maybe this one will be it!

  6. I love the premise of this book. It would be interestig to see how the relationship develops and unravels.

    Nice cover too.

  7. Humm, I like the perspective of this one -- the looking back. I'll have to put it on my wish list.

  8. That sounds like a book that would cause reflection.

  9. Ahh this book does look really good. I like books that look back. Nice review; it makes me want to check out the book. :)


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