This is an interesting tale, although at times I wanted to stop reading. The first third of the book bogs down a bit as we get long dialogues between Triana Becker and Stephan the ghost. It is a romantic kind of tale. Faced with the death of her second husband Karl from AIDS who left her a wealthy New Orleans widow, Triana lays in bed with the corpse for days lamenting until a mysterious stranger comes to serenade her with the beautiful violin. This is music so gorgeous, that it casts a spell that makes one seem to lose track of time and place. We discover as family comes and goes that the violinist is a ghost who was a pupil of Beethoven and died trying to rescue an especially rare long necked Stratavarius violin. Stephan sees into her mind, brings back memories of loss such as Triana's child Lily, her divorce from her first husband, the death of her alcoholic mother, the disappearance of her much-loved sister Faye, & the recriminations of her sister Katrinka. However, the haunting goes awry as Triana snatches the violin and will not return it. Here, the novel really picks up the pace as we are transported back centuries into Stephan's life in Vienna as the son of a wealthy Russian diplomat who funds Beethovan to educate his son. Triana and ghost Stephan step outside of this world of the past as they see the real-life memory Stephan rescue the violin from his father's burning palace, fight with his father when Stephan wants to study with Paganini, and murder his father after he smashes his fingers with a cane for the son's disobedience. We see Stephan murdered by guards and go through the discovery of his ghostly existence. All of this is punctuated by beautiful dream-like visions of Triana. Apparently, this is a contest of wills between the living and the dead. Triana is victorious and winds up mysteriously transported from her New Orleans home to Vienna, unable to explain the shadowland she has traversed. Triana becomes master of the violin, inherits Stephan's talent for music, and gives concerts globally. She becomes wealthy beyond her already considerable estate. The novel concludes in Rio, which is beautifully described. Ghostly dreams from the first part of the novel are brought into reality in Rio. Rice does a good job of bringing us through the second two-thirds of the book to the final resolution. While the pacing is not completely excellent, there is a lyrical quality to the way Anne describes the power of the music. All in all, this was an interesting tale, a mostly pleasant read. Enjoy!