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The Education of Delhomme

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Frédéric Chopin’s piano tuner, hungry for money, is lured into a royal spy ring but later condemned for treason by Napoleon III during the 1848 Paris Uprising. His one-time competition for Chopin’s affections, George Sand, might be his only hope. Filled with real historical characters and events, The Education of Delhomme is a captivating tale of struggle and hope amidst th Frédéric Chopin’s piano tuner, hungry for money, is lured into a royal spy ring but later condemned for treason by Napoleon III during the 1848 Paris Uprising. His one-time competition for Chopin’s affections, George Sand, might be his only hope. Filled with real historical characters and events, The Education of Delhomme is a captivating tale of struggle and hope amidst the social and political upheavals of mid-nineteenth century Europe.


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Frédéric Chopin’s piano tuner, hungry for money, is lured into a royal spy ring but later condemned for treason by Napoleon III during the 1848 Paris Uprising. His one-time competition for Chopin’s affections, George Sand, might be his only hope. Filled with real historical characters and events, The Education of Delhomme is a captivating tale of struggle and hope amidst th Frédéric Chopin’s piano tuner, hungry for money, is lured into a royal spy ring but later condemned for treason by Napoleon III during the 1848 Paris Uprising. His one-time competition for Chopin’s affections, George Sand, might be his only hope. Filled with real historical characters and events, The Education of Delhomme is a captivating tale of struggle and hope amidst the social and political upheavals of mid-nineteenth century Europe.

30 review for The Education of Delhomme

  1. 5 out of 5

    Fran

    Desperate times called for desperate measures. Beaulieu Delhomme, Chopin's piano tuner was jailed in the Conciergerie, accused of treason. Delhomme had accepted a nefarious job. Hired by Eugene Francois Vidocq, a spy-master for King Louis Philippe, Delhomme would be handsomely paid to help protect the French Monarchy by rubbing elbows with the elite and listening to their conversations. His first assignment: become Frederick Chopin's piano tuner. Delhomme's first person narration describes his la Desperate times called for desperate measures. Beaulieu Delhomme, Chopin's piano tuner was jailed in the Conciergerie, accused of treason. Delhomme had accepted a nefarious job. Hired by Eugene Francois Vidocq, a spy-master for King Louis Philippe, Delhomme would be handsomely paid to help protect the French Monarchy by rubbing elbows with the elite and listening to their conversations. His first assignment: become Frederick Chopin's piano tuner. Delhomme's first person narration describes his lack of desire to pursue a medical career disappointing his father, a doctor in their small agricultural village of Marainville-sur-Madon in the Lorraine region. Instead, loving music, he entered the Conservatoire. "I tried to make a good case for appreciating music and a great desire to learn...but...God does not mete out talent equally...dazed, disoriented...I visited Giles Truel's Piano Shop". For decades, Giles tuned and repaired the Conservatoire's pianos. Delhomme became his apprentice. He learned: "Tuning has nothing to do with music...Tuners listened to beats...never the musicality...A good tuner-an excellent tuner-is the lifeblood of a pianist". A soiree...the grand piano near an open window "an average instrument that might not obey Chopin's touch-the keyboard a potential "enemy of his silky arpeggios and spirited scherzi". Delhomme making a compelling case, was now Chopin's piano tuner. Concurrently, George Sand was vying for Chopin's favor. "I will have Chopin". In the 1840's, Chopin's involvement with George Sand was cemented at a time of political upheaval in France. Sand's writings included commentary on poverty, lack of worker's rights and the resistance. Her softer side was displayed as she ministered to Chopin who suffered from consumption. Delhomme and Sand, though at odds, had Chopin's best interests at heart. Under constant threat from Vidocq to produce spying reports, Delhomme must enter Chopin's inner circle with George Sand, front and center. "The Education of Delhomme: Chopin, Sand and La France" by Nancy Burkhalter is a thoroughly researched work of historical fiction. Burkhalter, having worked as a piano tuner, was in a unique position to share details of piano building, piano tuning and the different methods of preparation used to accommodate virtuosos with a soft or heavy touch. What piqued my interest in reading this tome? I enjoy the music of Chopin, Liszt, Berlioz and Mendelssohn. The meeting of the minds between Chopin and Sand was enlightening. During elite soirees, Chopin touched the soul musically while Sand touched the soul through her pen. Most of all, I was fascinated by a novel written from the point of view of the piano tuner. Let me explain why. A highly recommended new piano tuner arrived at my house. My six year old, a budding pianist, was determined to closely watch the tuning process. In disbelief, he viewed the tuner remove the entire keyboard and gently, carefully place the keys on a blanket. After vacuuming and making the necessary adjustments, the keyboard was restored to its proper place. My son was encouraged to play several selections to see if the tuning met his standards. Only then were both tuner and young pianist satisfied! Kudos to Burkhalter for an excellent debut historical novel. Thank you History Through Fiction and Net Galley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Blaine DeSantis

    BIg shoutout to NetGalley and History through Fiction for this wonderful book. Part history, part spy, part music, this is a great and fast read as we follow the life of Beaulieu Delhomme who begins his adult life going to medical school and after failing rather miserably ends up becoming a piano tuner, and eventually the personal piano tuner for Chopin. Filled with a multitude of historical figures and historical accuracy, we meet many in the art world in 1840's France including George Sand, Li BIg shoutout to NetGalley and History through Fiction for this wonderful book. Part history, part spy, part music, this is a great and fast read as we follow the life of Beaulieu Delhomme who begins his adult life going to medical school and after failing rather miserably ends up becoming a piano tuner, and eventually the personal piano tuner for Chopin. Filled with a multitude of historical figures and historical accuracy, we meet many in the art world in 1840's France including George Sand, Liszt, Berlioz, Delacroix and more. We are eyewitnesses to the tumultuous political upheavals that roiled France during this time period, and we follow Delhomme as both a piano tuner and extremely reluctant spy. Not only is he reluctant, he isn't very good!!! Personally and professionally we see he development as an artisan and as a human. This is a book that I have been raving about to friends since I began reading it only a few days ago, and certainly for my reading tastes it as it all: history, espionage and music. Wonderful book, thanks for taking me on this journey to mid-19th century France!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Annette

    At twenty years old, Delhomme is still living with his parents. He is bored with his clerical work, his father, who is a doctor, wants him to follow his profession, but Delhomme dreams about music. He leaves the house for the city of Paris gladly, but not so much for studying anatomy. His father’s sudden death puts the family in dire situation. He needs money and quickly. He gets apprenticed as a piano tuner. Next, he is pulled into becoming a spy for the king, but he needs to get a job of piano At twenty years old, Delhomme is still living with his parents. He is bored with his clerical work, his father, who is a doctor, wants him to follow his profession, but Delhomme dreams about music. He leaves the house for the city of Paris gladly, but not so much for studying anatomy. His father’s sudden death puts the family in dire situation. He needs money and quickly. He gets apprenticed as a piano tuner. Next, he is pulled into becoming a spy for the king, but he needs to get a job of piano tuner for Chopin first. At the time, Chopin is involved with George Sand. And she is a real troublemaker, writing fanatical drivel against the king. His story is intertwined with the diary of George Sand and her revealing the relationship with Chopin. Her voice at times sounds immature or not believable. That’s not the George Sand I’ve read about before. The style of writing is a lot of telling, which sounds as it’s done without catching a breath, which is actually needed to put some feelings in, in order to add some dimensions to the story. I didn’t connect with any of the characters or the style of writing. Source: ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Laura Tenfingers

    The Education of Delhomme takes place in France around 1830-1850 and is told from the point of view of Chopin's piano tuner and George Sand, famous writer and Chopin's partner during part of this time. I enjoyed how the story covers a broad range of interesting topics: from Chopin, piano tuning, piano playing and piano building, to rioting in the streets, the origins of the Sûreté, worker's (lack of) rights and the political changes in France during this time... it was all well woven together and The Education of Delhomme takes place in France around 1830-1850 and is told from the point of view of Chopin's piano tuner and George Sand, famous writer and Chopin's partner during part of this time. I enjoyed how the story covers a broad range of interesting topics: from Chopin, piano tuning, piano playing and piano building, to rioting in the streets, the origins of the Sûreté, worker's (lack of) rights and the political changes in France during this time... it was all well woven together and I was invested in our narrator, Delhomme. The only issue I had was with his being roped into espionage by the wily and extremely corrupt spy master. It seemed a bit bizarre that he would be so desperate to recruit Delhomme who was pretty clueless and not particularly resourceful, but maybe that made him a perfect mark, I don't know. It helped introduce the politics into the narrative and I appreciated that, but parts of it just rang a bit false. All in all, a very enjoyable and informative read. I would recommend it to anyone interested in Chopin, pianos, worker's rights or French 19th century history. Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth Dragina

    "Paris was where I became a man, but Marainville is where I will live as one.” I have to say I’m impressed. Out of the many indie published books in the world less than half are of good quality. And even fewer of that number are actually something I enjoy reading. While I wasn’t enthusiastic about the book in general, it did interest me. The historical genre is one I’m willing to tolerate 😂😅 (because I’d prefer to be reading fantasy). About thirty times out of a hundred I actually enjoy histori "Paris was where I became a man, but Marainville is where I will live as one.” I have to say I’m impressed. Out of the many indie published books in the world less than half are of good quality. And even fewer of that number are actually something I enjoy reading. While I wasn’t enthusiastic about the book in general, it did interest me. The historical genre is one I’m willing to tolerate 😂😅 (because I’d prefer to be reading fantasy). About thirty times out of a hundred I actually enjoy historical fiction. (And I prefer to read books that are exciting.) Basically I can branch out, but it takes effort. And I was rewarded by branching out this time. Setting - France in about 1836. It extends to nearby countries of that time as the characters travel. Plot - It kept up a decent pace, balancing a healthy amount of fact and fiction. Nancy Burkhalter did her research well. This particular story follows a fictional man who is involved in Fredric Chopin, George Sand, and Eugene Vidocq’s life (to name a few famous persons within) as he tries to make a way for himself. He must make mistakes before he can learn from them however. 😂 Romance - The barest touch of it here and there but I loved the softness it brought to the story. Somehow it made the reality of difficulty in life not so harsh. Content - War / Dark scenes / Mature topics / A few scenes where rape is mentioned / Discussing having lovers and bedding them etc / Murder / Overall I found that Nancy was able to approach such topics in a realistic yet clean way. She didn’t go into detail, just let the reader know how it was. Characters - I absolutely cherished their development and struggles. Nancy does mention how some things are embellished so the story doesn’t have holes. And it amused me to learn so much about piano tuning through Delhomme. (Quite an interesting talent I assure you 😆) Overall - It did take me some time to push through the whole 268 pages of historical fiction because it’s not my preferred genre. But I will treasure The Education of Delhomme on my shelf. **FTC DISCLOSURE** I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. I am not affiliated with the author in any way. This review is my opinion and not meant to be offensive in any manner. Thanks. :)

  6. 4 out of 5

    Andrea Stoeckel

    "Like the quartz I found by the river,I experienced my own turbulent transformation. But that education has forged my soul into a beautiful piece of quartz." Beaulieu Delhomme,son of a rural country doctor was bullied into Medical School,a place he soon knew wasn't for him. It took his father's death before he began his apprenticeship as a piano tuner, learning how changeable the world is and how compromise makes everything better. In the middle of the attempted revolution from the French Monarchy "Like the quartz I found by the river,I experienced my own turbulent transformation. But that education has forged my soul into a beautiful piece of quartz." Beaulieu Delhomme,son of a rural country doctor was bullied into Medical School,a place he soon knew wasn't for him. It took his father's death before he began his apprenticeship as a piano tuner, learning how changeable the world is and how compromise makes everything better. In the middle of the attempted revolution from the French Monarchy, Delhomme is hired by Frederick Chopin whose body of musical work was changing the way piano music was performed. With his close friendship with Chopin, Delhomme's provincial mindset is educated by Chopin's world: Berlioz, George Sand, and many others become well known to him, even if he doesn't agree with them. All he wants to do is make enough money to marry Lili. Because of that, he gets entrapped in working for a "spy" whose allegiance is only himself. Will Delhomme break free and believe he can be himself? And how does that affect his stand in the community? Author Mary Burkehalter has taken a little known part of French history and played it well through the eyes of real people. However, the writing is difficult to follow at times. I was struck with the loving descriptions of pianos and tuning. The artists of the time were overlooked. However, those in power easily used them for their own means. This made me uncomfortable enough to lose the story line and detracted from the book. It's a good book, but sometimes hard to follow.⅘ [disclaimer: I received this book as part of #Francebooktours. I chose to read and review it] https://francebooktours.com/2020/07/1...

  7. 5 out of 5

    Denise

    Nancy Burkhalter has written a very unusual historical novel, the story of Frederic Chopin's piano tuner, Delhomme. Delhomme is not a sympathetic character. In an era when most offspring have long left the family nest to strike out on their own, Delhomme is still at home, unhappily working as a stock person for a neighbourhood grocer. His father wanted Delhomme to follow in his shoes and become a doctor. However, Delhomme has a problem. He can not stand the sight of blood. After entering music s Nancy Burkhalter has written a very unusual historical novel, the story of Frederic Chopin's piano tuner, Delhomme. Delhomme is not a sympathetic character. In an era when most offspring have long left the family nest to strike out on their own, Delhomme is still at home, unhappily working as a stock person for a neighbourhood grocer. His father wanted Delhomme to follow in his shoes and become a doctor. However, Delhomme has a problem. He can not stand the sight of blood. After entering music school, in order to become a pianist and composer, he fails miserably at that too. When Delhomme becomes an apprentice to a piano tuner, he has finally found his ideal vocation. Delhomme gains a rich and famous clientele and becomes the piano tuner for Chopin. But life will not be kind to Delhomme. He is entrapped by Vidocq, the head of government security, and blackmailed into spying on the lover of Chopin, George Sand. He thinks he can satisfy Vidocq by supplying minimal information from her dinner parties and then will be free. But Vidocq is a master in his craft and tortures those who Delhomme has feelings for, if Delhomme does not comply. Will Delhomme continue to support the monarchy and the slippery Vidocq; will he be found out? Through various social events and concerts, we meet a cross section of Parisian society and thereby learn about the political situation in France, Poland and the rest of Europe, during the reign of Napoleon III. George Sand, the writer, attracted the cream of novelists, musicians and artists from all over Europe to her salon. Many appear in the novel. Since she was a socialist, she was considered an enemy to the monarchy. I would have loved to see the concert, that the author described, with Chopin and other famous composers each playing their own pianos. Or just to hear Chopin, himself. While reading the novel, I kept hearing his nocturnes in my head. What was very fascinating in the novel was the description of the art of piano tuning. The author like Delhomme, could not find a position in her field after graduating from university and became an expert piano tuner. She does go into detail, how pianos are tuned, how pianos should be placed in a room and in what environment they should be kept to stay in their optimum playing state. I recommend this book to any lovers of music and literature. If you would like a chance to win a copy of the book, follow the link to the tour page: https://francebooktours.com/2020/07/1...

  8. 4 out of 5

    RavenclawLibraryBooks

    I have read many historical fictions but never many about Chopin and I loved the fact that the main character is both Chopin's piano turner and a spy for the King. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in historical fiction and have already put this on my books to buy list for 2021. I have read many historical fictions but never many about Chopin and I loved the fact that the main character is both Chopin's piano turner and a spy for the King. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in historical fiction and have already put this on my books to buy list for 2021.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Smbergin

    I love a novel that mashes up many of my literary interests, and The Education of Delhomme by Nancy Burkhalter checks several boxes. With its historical fiction foundation, Burkhalter weaves a tale that is part espionage, has a pinch of romance, a healthy dose of coming of age, a loveable bumbling bloke, and a petty rivalry worthy of a Real Housewives franchise. It’s a delicious and educational read. After a miserable but hilarious go at medical school, Beaulieu Delhomme finds his future as the p I love a novel that mashes up many of my literary interests, and The Education of Delhomme by Nancy Burkhalter checks several boxes. With its historical fiction foundation, Burkhalter weaves a tale that is part espionage, has a pinch of romance, a healthy dose of coming of age, a loveable bumbling bloke, and a petty rivalry worthy of a Real Housewives franchise. It’s a delicious and educational read. After a miserable but hilarious go at medical school, Beaulieu Delhomme finds his future as the personal piano tuner to Chopin. Desperate to earn a living range, he reluctantly becomes involved in a political spy ring requiring him to ride on Chopin’s coattails to access the elite social, artistic, and political minds in the mid-1800’s in France. Beaulieu masters the craft of piano tuning and wins Chopin’s trust and loyalty but finds himself constantly at odds with Chopin’s long-term lover (George Sand), and hapless at currying political favors. With this fictional character, Burkhalter provides fascinating insights into Chopin’s creative genius and the political, economic, and social forces at loggerheads at the time. A five out of five-star rating and a hearty brava to Burkhalter on this meticulously researched and well-imagined story. Thank you to History through Books and NetGalley for an ARC of The Education of Delhomme in exchange for an honest review.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kahlia

    I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley but put it down at the 10% mark because I just could not connect to the narrative voice at all. There seems to be a lot of telling rather than showing regarding what should be highly emotional events, and the tone is a little too flippant for what I thought would be a serious story. I hope others enjoy this book but I've read enough to know that it's unfortunately not for me. Thanks to the author for the opportunity to read and review. I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley but put it down at the 10% mark because I just could not connect to the narrative voice at all. There seems to be a lot of telling rather than showing regarding what should be highly emotional events, and the tone is a little too flippant for what I thought would be a serious story. I hope others enjoy this book but I've read enough to know that it's unfortunately not for me. Thanks to the author for the opportunity to read and review.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Milou

    I have a weak for books set in the nineteenth century, so when I saw one on Netgalley set in Paris following some very interesting people, and spies (!!!) I Had to request it. And I am happy I did. Because I did enjoy this read, although it also lacked in some parts for me. We follow Delhomme over quite a long period of time, as he enters medical school, drops out and becomes a piano tuner. He is approached by Vidocq to become a spy and convince Chopin to take him on as his tuner. So begins a gre I have a weak for books set in the nineteenth century, so when I saw one on Netgalley set in Paris following some very interesting people, and spies (!!!) I Had to request it. And I am happy I did. Because I did enjoy this read, although it also lacked in some parts for me. We follow Delhomme over quite a long period of time, as he enters medical school, drops out and becomes a piano tuner. He is approached by Vidocq to become a spy and convince Chopin to take him on as his tuner. So begins a great friendship, and a story filled with political intrigue. The author’s passion and knowledge for piano tuning and music leaps of the page. Her descriptions of Chopin’s music made me listen to it for hours. She made me look at his, but also Liszt’s, Mozart’s and Mendelssohn’s music (which I have played myself) in a different way. She also introduced me to George Sand, a fascinating woman, and taught me more about some parts of history I was not familiar with. But where the writing is great when it comes to the music, it lacks a lot in other ways. It is very much telling, and not showing. It focuses on the wrong parts of the story, taking great care in narrating small, ‘common’, events whilst glancing over big moments with possibility of emotional impact. The love story was utterly unconvincing, and Delhomme’s view (though I realize common at the time) of wanting a wife merely to cook and make babies for him, made me wish for Lili to find someone else. It all made for, not necessarily a boring read, but one that couldn’t really pull me in. I couldn’t connect with any of the characters, and all of it just fell flat for me. Overall, this is an interesting and unique read that definitely showed me new things and made me appreciate Chopin’s and classical music in general more. But it is not a book I will ever feel inclined to reread.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ruth

    Wonderful story about Chopin and many of the other Classical music greats. Liked the interconnectivity of history with the lives of these famous musicians, observed through the eyes of the piano tuner. Really enjoyed this book while listening to Chopin's music as well as some of the others. Character development was so very good and the Profiles of the major characters at the end of the book was a nice surprise (I read this book on my tablet)! Music, Spies, History, a MUST read! Wonderful story about Chopin and many of the other Classical music greats. Liked the interconnectivity of history with the lives of these famous musicians, observed through the eyes of the piano tuner. Really enjoyed this book while listening to Chopin's music as well as some of the others. Character development was so very good and the Profiles of the major characters at the end of the book was a nice surprise (I read this book on my tablet)! Music, Spies, History, a MUST read!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Hayley (Backpacking Bookworm)

    Taking an iconic historical era and adding a fictional spin. The premise of this book instantly excited me; I love historical fiction novels and I love to learn something new. The notion of having a main character whose job is to tune Chopin's piano fascinated me and I was eager to find out more. My political and historical knowledge was limited and I do think that would have helped me connect with the novel more. That said, the author maintained a flowing writing style that made it easy to follow Taking an iconic historical era and adding a fictional spin. The premise of this book instantly excited me; I love historical fiction novels and I love to learn something new. The notion of having a main character whose job is to tune Chopin's piano fascinated me and I was eager to find out more. My political and historical knowledge was limited and I do think that would have helped me connect with the novel more. That said, the author maintained a flowing writing style that made it easy to follow the events and understand what was happening. The story was interesting and I particularly enjoyed how it interspersed with real historical figures and true events to give it an authentic layer. I wasn't a huge fan of Beaulieu as I found him to be quite a selfish and rash individual but I did like his character arc. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about piano tuning, particularly the technical details as I find the instrument incredibly interesting. Because of the timeline covered, I did feel like the story was rushed in parts or jumped ahead suddenly. I also felt that the sporadic French words/sentences were unnecessary when the rest of the dialogue was written in English. Just a small thing but once I noticed it, I couldn't help it. I still enjoyed the novel and would definitely like to read more from the author in the future. Rating breakdown Plot/narrative - 3.5 Writing style/readability - 3.3 Characters - 3 Diverse themes - 4 Ending - 3.5 Overall - 3.5

  14. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    The Education of Delhomme is the first book I have read by Nancy Burkhalter and it definitely will not be the last. I was captivated reading this tale right from the start and continued to be until I read the last page. I enjoyed the rich historical details. The author obviously did thorough research to write this book. It has a lot that I love to read: suspense, romance, history, and beautiful settings. I thought it was a great read. The Education of Delhomme is getting a very well deserved five The Education of Delhomme is the first book I have read by Nancy Burkhalter and it definitely will not be the last. I was captivated reading this tale right from the start and continued to be until I read the last page. I enjoyed the rich historical details. The author obviously did thorough research to write this book. It has a lot that I love to read: suspense, romance, history, and beautiful settings. I thought it was a great read. The Education of Delhomme is getting a very well deserved five plus stars from me. I am looking forward to reading more by Nancy Burkhalter in the future. I highly recommend this one for readers who enjoy to read Historical Suspense. It is most definitely not one to be missed. I received The Education of Delhomme from the publisher. This review is one hundred percent my own honest opinion.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen Herb

    This was a fascinating book that centered around Chopin’s piano tuner. It deals with real history, such as Berlioz and Delhomme meeting in medical school. He becomes Chopin’s piano tuner, as the detective Vidocq wants him to spy on George Sand, Chopin’s lover, and Delhomme is poor, and decides to do it because he is desperate for money. What follows is a trip through the lives of Chopin and Sand, as well as insight into 19th century France. The characters are well drawn and sympathetic, and the This was a fascinating book that centered around Chopin’s piano tuner. It deals with real history, such as Berlioz and Delhomme meeting in medical school. He becomes Chopin’s piano tuner, as the detective Vidocq wants him to spy on George Sand, Chopin’s lover, and Delhomme is poor, and decides to do it because he is desperate for money. What follows is a trip through the lives of Chopin and Sand, as well as insight into 19th century France. The characters are well drawn and sympathetic, and the fact that the writer is herself a piano tuner imbues the character of Delhomme with reality. This was a thoroughly enjoyable historical novel!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    VERDICT: Beautifully crafted, this historical novel takes you in the heart of Paris life in the 1840s. Music and misery, art and hardship, beauty and danger. A must for all lovers of music or French history. You may be familiar with the French Revolution and the 1830s uprising, so well described in Les Misérables, but have you read any book set about fifteen years later? The Education of Delhomme does an amazing job at recreating the context of the period, as for social movements, the political li VERDICT: Beautifully crafted, this historical novel takes you in the heart of Paris life in the 1840s. Music and misery, art and hardship, beauty and danger. A must for all lovers of music or French history. You may be familiar with the French Revolution and the 1830s uprising, so well described in Les Misérables, but have you read any book set about fifteen years later? The Education of Delhomme does an amazing job at recreating the context of the period, as for social movements, the political life, the life of artists, and much more. For instance, imagine having to fight against an epidemy not of Covid, but of cholera? Read my full review here: https://wordsandpeace.com/2020/11/19/...

  17. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

    Chopin flutters arpeggios as I sip a cappuccino and munch on a passion fruit beignet. Book in hand I begin the journey of reading 'The Education of Delhomme'. Unlike Chopin's smooth and relaxing music in the background, I found reading this book an arduous task. I was disappointed not to enjoy it, because the topic is so new and fascinating. Chopin's piano tuner? Spy? Treason? Paris in 1848? Sounds like a recipe for success, right? While I did not whole-heartedly love this book, there were many g Chopin flutters arpeggios as I sip a cappuccino and munch on a passion fruit beignet. Book in hand I begin the journey of reading 'The Education of Delhomme'. Unlike Chopin's smooth and relaxing music in the background, I found reading this book an arduous task. I was disappointed not to enjoy it, because the topic is so new and fascinating. Chopin's piano tuner? Spy? Treason? Paris in 1848? Sounds like a recipe for success, right? While I did not whole-heartedly love this book, there were many good qualities. So, let's start there. It was so interesting to "meet" Chopin. I didn't know a lot about him, because way back when I took music appreciation class, he was not mentioned. I felt like Nancy Burkhalter did an amazing job to bring together the creative arts of music and writing. I left the book wanting to listen to Chopin more (being more informed about his history). Additionally, Nancy Burkhalter clearly knew what she was writing about. She used to be a piano tuner, which is clear from the level of detail and knowledge portrayed. During the whole book, I loved seeing the author's passion come through for what she was writing about. Despite the interesting topic, I found no connection with the characters. For me, connecting with characters is essential. The characters most interesting were the historical figures. I saw her research come through presenting well-rounded people. Beaulieu, her fictional creation, felt awkwardly placed in a world he didn't belong. I hate to say it, but he was not a sympathetic character. He complained about nearly everything, and then at the end took a self-righteous demeanor which grated on my nerves. He seemed to think he was better than everyone, except Chopin. Women's suffrage and equal rights was brought up through the character George Sand. George Sand was the writing alias for a woman, Amantine Lucile Aurore Dudevant. She was connected to Chopin through a 9 year romantic relationship. Throughout scenes where women's rights were brought up, I found I had to remind myself of the time-period I was reading. This was about 100 years before women got the right and men were fighting for this right. Therefore, it is not surprising men likely saw women as mere property. Despite this reminder to myself, when Beaulieu overtly said he only wanted a wife to cook and have babies for him I had to bite my tongue! By the end of the book, while he had some change of heart/development, his actions said he only really wanted a woman for babies and food. I left feeling discouraged by the lack of development in this area since it was brought up. With the view of women it was not surprising to feel the love story was forced. Rather than fighting for them to be together, I found myself rooting for Lili to find someone better! The book wouldn't have been too different without Lili and Beaulieu's love story... so why put it in? Lili has no personality, other than being a really good looker (as Beaulieu constantly brings up) and a good caretaker (he paid her to look after his Mom). She is betrothed to a soldier fighting out of country, yet she is writing love letters to Beaulieu. The development of their relationship was non-existent. This book is unique and I don't know if there is another like it. It is clear the author put time and effort into the research and historical accuracy. Learning history is much more fun when told as a story, and my knowledge of this topic has grown substantially. Overall, I feel like I did take away something from reading the book, and it encouraged me to seek out more information. But, it is not one I will pick up again. Thank you to the publisher for providing me with this ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Darlene Golbitz

    Courtesy of BookclubCookbook and #GalleyMatch, I received an ARC of this debut novel, published by History Through Fiction. I was enthralled by this well written story of Chopin, George Sand, and the French Revolution. Other than the narrator Delhomme, the historical characters are accurate. I learned so much about pianos, tuning, Chopin's techniques and philosophy, and the nuances of the French government in the 1800's. I augmented my reading by listening to the works of Chopin mentioned in the Courtesy of BookclubCookbook and #GalleyMatch, I received an ARC of this debut novel, published by History Through Fiction. I was enthralled by this well written story of Chopin, George Sand, and the French Revolution. Other than the narrator Delhomme, the historical characters are accurate. I learned so much about pianos, tuning, Chopin's techniques and philosophy, and the nuances of the French government in the 1800's. I augmented my reading by listening to the works of Chopin mentioned in the story, adding to my knowledge and musical appreciation.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Rose Auburn

    Beaulieu Delhomme is a rudderless young man when we first met him in The Education of Delhomme, set in mid-19th century France. By chance, he becomes a piano tuner and captures the attention of Frederic Chopin. He is quickly assimilated into Chopin’s inner circle run by his lover, the female writer, George Sand, whom Delhomme detests. Unbeknownst to Chopin, Delhomme has been recruited to spy on George Sand for the French Monarchy. However, as socio-political unrest begins to overtake Paris, Delh Beaulieu Delhomme is a rudderless young man when we first met him in The Education of Delhomme, set in mid-19th century France. By chance, he becomes a piano tuner and captures the attention of Frederic Chopin. He is quickly assimilated into Chopin’s inner circle run by his lover, the female writer, George Sand, whom Delhomme detests. Unbeknownst to Chopin, Delhomme has been recruited to spy on George Sand for the French Monarchy. However, as socio-political unrest begins to overtake Paris, Delhomme realises too late that his allegiances are misguided and he is arrested for treason. The Education of Delhomme is a beautifully accomplished novel. Beaulieu Delhomme is an interesting main character; as George Sand states in Chapter 38, ‘There is much to dislike about Delhomme’. In the beginning he is rather feckless, and for the majority of the novel makes bad decisions based on unsound moral judgements. Although he professes to adore Lili and expresses remorse for her treatment at the hands of Vidocq, it does not seem entirely genuine which makes him appear quite heartless and emotionally disconnected from her. Yet he has an insecurity and a simple, childlike construct of the world which is endearing, if not maddening, at times. Chopin is the real star of the novel. He is not simply regurgitated from history but written with genuine understanding, respect and emotion. I thought Sand only came into her own at the end of the novel, she was a little ambiguous until then and although her earlier diary entries were revealing, personally I felt they lacked the character of a journal. The plot encompasses a plethora of actual events and people; it’s a real tour de force in parts and Ms Burkhalter’s personal investment in both research and emotional involvement shines through. You are swept along by the plot; it’s intriguing, interesting and absorbing although I did find the narrative sluggish in a few places and sometimes I felt the prose was trying to be a bit too clever. However, as a whole, the writing is consummately skilled. One of the final chapters where Delhomme reminisces about a late Summer morning in Marainville contains some achingly lovely descriptions. The account of Delhomme’s trial was gripping and there is some gruesomely visual writing in the chapters where he attends Medical School and is incarcerated in the Conciergerie Prison. Personally, I found the Author’s Note and Glossary really useful, thoughtful and professional additions especially if you have little musical knowledge and no talent, like myself. A polished, absorbing and intelligent read that is both rewarding and educational. Highly recommended.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Rachelle

    This was such a wonderful, informative look at a period of history with which I was not very familiar, despite taking French all through high school and into college. The author takes such a unique approach in exploring the persona of Chopin through the eyes of his piano tuner, Beaulieu Delhomme, who is somehow a sympathetic character and dear friend to Chopin despite Delhomme's serving as a spy tasked with reporting Chopin's and partner George Sand's comings and goings. Vidocq, the person who o This was such a wonderful, informative look at a period of history with which I was not very familiar, despite taking French all through high school and into college. The author takes such a unique approach in exploring the persona of Chopin through the eyes of his piano tuner, Beaulieu Delhomme, who is somehow a sympathetic character and dear friend to Chopin despite Delhomme's serving as a spy tasked with reporting Chopin's and partner George Sand's comings and goings. Vidocq, the person who offers a sizable chunk of money to Delhomme for spying, is a very shady character whose true intentions remain a mystery all the way until the end of the book. I learned a lot about music and French history, but in the delightful manner of the best historical fiction where you don't feel like you are being "taught." Delhomme is a complicated main character, one whom I wasn't sure I actually liked very well at times, partly because his infatuation with his young neighbor, Lili, seemed based on frivolous, surface-level feelings (i.e., she was youthful and pretty). This seemingly-baseless obsession irritated me to a point, but at the same time, it seemed a pretty accurate representation of how a man in France in the mid-nineteenth century might objectify the women around him. Moreover, the lack of depth in the relationship between Beaulieu and Lili was counterbalanced masterfully by the inclusion of entries from George Sand's diary. Sand, a feminist and political activist, was a no-nonsense woman who did not suffer the foolishness exhibited by Delhomme. She emerged as the true hero of this novel, even though she was by no means an angelic character; in fact, her irreverent rejection of the status quo and outright intolerance of Chopin's weakness in the waning days of his illness had me laughing out loud in certain places. I loved the French words interspersed throughout the story in a "just right" manner. This book was incredibly well-researched and well-delivered. I highly recommend this book to other readers who might enjoy a delightful historic escape into the world of classical music at its height. Well done!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Gail

    The Education of Delhomme: Chopin, Sand and La France by Nancy Burkhalter Delhomme as narrator connects the reader to the many famous historical characters populating this novel such as Berlioz, Liszt, Delacroix. Excellent profiles in the back. Perhaps her Masters in Journalism makes her writing pedantic. Show don’t tell is the cardinal rule of fiction yet as Chopin’s piano tuner Delhomme tells us about Chopin. Portions read more like a history text. Sand’s point of view, conveyed through journ The Education of Delhomme: Chopin, Sand and La France by Nancy Burkhalter Delhomme as narrator connects the reader to the many famous historical characters populating this novel such as Berlioz, Liszt, Delacroix. Excellent profiles in the back. Perhaps her Masters in Journalism makes her writing pedantic. Show don’t tell is the cardinal rule of fiction yet as Chopin’s piano tuner Delhomme tells us about Chopin. Portions read more like a history text. Sand’s point of view, conveyed through journal entries, can seem girlish rather than the daring writer, activist, femme fatale who cross dresses and smokes cigars. A high point in the novel is Sand’s dinner party at her manor, Nohant, where Burkhalter breathes life into her characters with witty political banter. More of these scenes would improve the novel. Much of the story revolves around the relationship between naïve Delhomme and the great virtuoso pianist-composer. We sense Chopin’s perfectionism, popularity and creative genius and his worsening tuberculosis. Perhaps my expectations were too high; disappointed not to discover a more romantic, intimate portrait of Chopin and Sand’s nine year love affair. The espionage as scrupulous Vidoq lures reluctant Delhomme into spying on Sand whose writing on equality threatens the monarchy, makes us aware of this tumultuous time of the Second Republic (1948-1952). Nancy Burkhalter, History Through Fiction, $16.95, c2020, 255p. ISBN 978-1-7329508-3-2

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    There is so much historic fiction set in France during the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars but this is a unique book in that it is sent slightly later. At a time when France was still tumultuous, a young provincial man, Beaulieu Delhomme, moves to Paris. After getting kicked out of two schools, he finds his place as an apprentice piano tuner. With little money and no family left, he is pulled in to a life of spying. As part of his spy mission he is sent to befriend Chopin and become Ch There is so much historic fiction set in France during the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars but this is a unique book in that it is sent slightly later. At a time when France was still tumultuous, a young provincial man, Beaulieu Delhomme, moves to Paris. After getting kicked out of two schools, he finds his place as an apprentice piano tuner. With little money and no family left, he is pulled in to a life of spying. As part of his spy mission he is sent to befriend Chopin and become Chopin's piano tuner. A second branch of this mission involves getting close to George Sand, Chopin's lover. Spying isn't the life Beaulieu wants, but spying isn't as easy to get out of as he would like. Chopin, Sand, and various other historic figures are brought to life in this delightful book. The characters are the main focus of the novel, and they're incredibly well rounded. A wonderful book that explores friendship as well as the politics of the time.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Reena G

    Being a fan of historical fiction I absolutely enjoyed this beautiful and exquisitely written book. It has been set during the French Revolution and the time when the music maestro Chopin lived. The author has done detailed research to tell about the life of Chopin and his works through the eyes of his piano tuner Bealieu Delhomme who is is fictional character. I loved the character of Beaulieu who became a dear friend of Chopin and stood by him till his last days. I came out much educated learn Being a fan of historical fiction I absolutely enjoyed this beautiful and exquisitely written book. It has been set during the French Revolution and the time when the music maestro Chopin lived. The author has done detailed research to tell about the life of Chopin and his works through the eyes of his piano tuner Bealieu Delhomme who is is fictional character. I loved the character of Beaulieu who became a dear friend of Chopin and stood by him till his last days. I came out much educated learning about the French history and the interesting facts about the world of music and mostly about Chopin who made the piano speak the language of infinity. Thank you Nancy Burkhalter for your giveaway on The Write Review Facebook Page which I truly devoured. Looking forward to reading more books by you. This is my honest review.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ellie

    #AD: gifted product The publishers reached out to me to let me know about this upcoming release, which I then received via NetGalley. Thank you to the publishers and NetGalley for providing me with a copy for review purposes. Full review on my blog. The Education of Delhomme is heavily based in real history, with actual events and people cropping up throughout the narrative. The protagonist and his character arc, however, are fictional, which I admit did disappoint me somewhat. Almost all of the ot #AD: gifted product The publishers reached out to me to let me know about this upcoming release, which I then received via NetGalley. Thank you to the publishers and NetGalley for providing me with a copy for review purposes. Full review on my blog. The Education of Delhomme is heavily based in real history, with actual events and people cropping up throughout the narrative. The protagonist and his character arc, however, are fictional, which I admit did disappoint me somewhat. Almost all of the other characters in this book are based on real historical figures, however, and at the end of the book there is some information on the different characters and their real lives. This is a part of the publisher’s attempt to market their books as separate from other historical fictions: they are more influenced by real history. For me, however, given that the main character was entirely fictional, I struggled to really know how much historical knowledge I should be taking from the narrative itself. While I knew the characters were real, and the events that took place were real, I’m still not sure if the figures discussed in the narrative were actually involved in these events in the ways they are in the book. The extra reading section at the back was a nice touch that isn’t often present in historical fiction, but that was presented more as a further reading list than a bibliography, so I’m still unsure if the articles listed would shed more light on how much of the book was accurate in terms of the character’s participation in the events that occur. When I moved away from thinking about the historical accuracy of the narrative, I enjoyed the plot itself a lot more. Mostly told from the perspective of the protagonist Beaulieu Delhomme, Chopin’s (fictional) piano tuner, it forms a sort of rags-to-riches (and back to rags) tale. Delhomme fails in his training as a doctor due to a proclivity for vomiting at the sight of entrails, and falls in as an apprentice to a piano tuner. A poor man, Delhomme is struggling to make ends meet when he is approached by Vidocq and asked to act as a spy on behalf of the King. As the narrative progresses and Delhomme is dragged further and further into the entanglement of espionage he has fallen into, it becomes unclear who he is actually working for, and who is spying on whom. It was this narrative of confused morals and uncertain futures that kept me reading on, along with the promise of the inclusion of the French Revolution, which is a driving force of the narrative. If it weren’t for the plot, I’m not sure that I would have finished this book. I found the characters themselves quite weak, and none of them really captured my attention at all. As a person who loves character driven books, weak characters is a big pitfall for me, and I struggled to find much to grasp hold of to connect to. The passages in George Sand’s voice were almost unbearable for me, and I considered skipping straight through them. Sand was an incredible writer, so I find it hard to believe that her personal voice (her sections read a little like diary entries) would be so unsophisticated and petulant. This sort of brings me on to the writing style, which is something else that didn’t impress me. While it’s fine to write unlikeable characters, they should still be brought to life in an interesting manner, something that a first person narrative can really offer the opportunity to do, but it just didn’t happen at all. The sections in the voice of George Sand were for me the worst parts, stylistically, but Delhomme’s voice wasn’t particularly well-written either.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Caryn

    This is a debut historical fiction novel by Nancy Burkhalter. It is about a young man who becomes the piano tuner for Chopin. I learned how a piano tuned and it takes a lot of talent. I did find the main character to be very egocentric however there was enough other story to make the book readable. This book was supplied to our book club by the group Book Club and we thank them. Listening to Chopin while reading the book was nice a nice background to the story.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Alyssa Adkins

    The Education of Delhomme is my type of historical fiction – in-depth information on a niche subject with historical research dripping through the pages. It also utilized one of my preferred forms of historical fiction, the narrator being a character just off to the side of the spotlight. As the summary explains the novel is told from the point of view of Chopin’s piano tuner, Beaulieu Delhomme. I’m not sure if it was done on purpose or not, but Delhomme ended up being a rather startling example The Education of Delhomme is my type of historical fiction – in-depth information on a niche subject with historical research dripping through the pages. It also utilized one of my preferred forms of historical fiction, the narrator being a character just off to the side of the spotlight. As the summary explains the novel is told from the point of view of Chopin’s piano tuner, Beaulieu Delhomme. I’m not sure if it was done on purpose or not, but Delhomme ended up being a rather startling example of a quintessential millenial – starts off being noted that he’s too old to be living at home (in his twenties), tries a career that would make him successful and ends up quitting it because it doesn’t make him happy. Eventually, he moves to the city and begins hanging around artists…and then eventually gets swept up in a revolution and becomes a convicted spy. (Okay, the last bit is a stretch, but I’m claiming it as a millenial experience.) While, I will admit he was not the most likable character (a lot of his unlikable qualities were very obviously grounded in the time period and his privileged upbringing) he was interesting. I can respect an unlikable character when there’s logic to the characteristics the author gave them. Overall, especially for an indie publisher, this was a great read. It was fast paced, and you could tell it was a passion piece for the author. I’d recommend this odd little historical to anyone looking for a historical novel that’s just off to the side of what’s popular. A French spy novel – but with a twist! I’d like to thank Netgalley and History Through Fiction for the free electronic copy (in which I was horrendously late in reviewing). You can read my full review on my blog at: https://theliteratigeek.wordpress.com...

  27. 5 out of 5

    L. Toh

    In The Education of Delhomme Chopin, Sand & La France, its author, Nancy Burkhalter has chosen a piano tuner to be the central character of the historical fiction about Frédéric Chopin, George Sand and 19th century France. The historical fiction by Nancy Burkhalter is imaginative and well crafted. The fiction is narrated in the piano tuner’s voice and also George Sand’s voice through her diary . Ms Burkhalter cleverly weaves the story between the two narrations and tells the story about how a pi In The Education of Delhomme Chopin, Sand & La France, its author, Nancy Burkhalter has chosen a piano tuner to be the central character of the historical fiction about Frédéric Chopin, George Sand and 19th century France. The historical fiction by Nancy Burkhalter is imaginative and well crafted. The fiction is narrated in the piano tuner’s voice and also George Sand’s voice through her diary . Ms Burkhalter cleverly weaves the story between the two narrations and tells the story about how a piano tuner, dropped out of medical school and the Conservatoire in Paris and later became a piano tuner and somehow forced to become a Royal spy in exchange of cash and getting himself entrapped in the hands of the spymaster, Eugène Françoise Vidocq. The story begins with the piano tuner being thrown into the infamous Conciergerie jail in Paris and he has been accused of committing treason. He faces the guillotine for committing treason against the newly elected French president and the only person who can possibly save him is George Sand, his archrival. It is a captivating and commendable read with a very detailed description of the music and art scenes in the early 19th century and vivid characterisations of known historical personalities. From the narrations, I learn about the unrest situation in Paris during the 19th century and also about the role of a piano tuner and his piano tuning , George Sand and Chopin's technique for playing his compositions. (I received a copy of the title from the publisher for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own.) https://lifang-leehong.blogspot.com/2...

  28. 5 out of 5

    Denice Josten

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jorja

  30. 5 out of 5

    Nora

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