Title: London Harmony: Water Gypsy
Author Name: Erik Schubach
Publication Date & Length: February 21, 2015 – 146pgs
Tabitha Romanov lives on the river Thames in the heart of London, on a rundown grain barge. Music and fun drives her and her unique vocal style doesn’t go unnoticed by the scouts of London Harmony when they run across her by chance at an underground rave.
Teresa McClellan is a consummately professional business woman who is the headmistress at a Music Conservatoire. Two complete opposites, oblivious of the other until Teresa catches Tabitha eavesdropping on classes in her school.
(London Harmony is a spinoff of the Music of the Soul books.)
I loved this book! Tabitha Romanov is a unique character; her narrative voice is engaging and her perspective is original.
Tabitha lives in a floating slum on the Thames and struggles to pay for both rent and food each month. Even living without plumbing or electricity, she is caring for her neighbours, holding down a job and developing a singing career. While working as a cleaner at a private music conservatoire, she meets Teresa McClellan, the headmistress.
Teresa overhears Tabitha singing and begins to set her homework. But somewhere between the daily voice coaching sessions and a steamy dance at an underground rave, Tabitha begins to view Teresa as more than a teacher.
This book is unusual in the best possible way. Tabitha inhabits the dark, gritty side of one of the world’s most affluent cities. Her voice seems to speak for a whole generation currently cut off from housing, education and opportunity in the capital.
But this is a story of perseverence, hope and hard work. Tabitha never gets lucky, she succeeds through sweat and hard graft.
I loved the way the author contrasts the wild underground rave scene with the controlled and studious environment of the conservatoire. The best music happens when the two worlds collide.
The relationship between Tabitha and Teresa is cautious and timid. Both women are reserved and guarded, both wary of ceding control to another. This is Tabitha’s book, not Teresa and Tabitha’s story. The love story is always secondary to the story of Tabitha’s development as a singer.
My only reservation about the book is that there are still some disruptive tense and agreement errors that need copy editing.
But don’t be put off. This is a wonderfully engaging story.
Erik Schubach is the author of lesbian romance novels such as Music of the Soul and SciFi novels. His books are about empowering women, and creating likeable characters that are shunned by society but come out stronger in the end.