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Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite
Daniela Domenica and the Guarneri di Gesù by Angela Brown is a character-driven story about an accomplished young woman and the betrayal that surrounds her. The book begins with Daniela Domenica's upbringing in New York as she is raised within the comfort of a loving, devoutly Catholic Italian-American family. She is a stand-out student and performer, and people are drawn to her sincere and loving personality. Among these people are Alison, who becomes Daniela's best friend (but is really no friend at all) and Kevin, who becomes Daniela's abusive, controlling, and manipulative (soon-to-be-ex) husband. As they hitch their stolen wagons to Daniela's shooting star, the pair conspires to drag her down when they make a plan to steal Daniela's prized family heirloom—a famed and singular violin called the Guarneri di Gesù.
Daniela Domenica and the Guarneri di Gesù by Angela Brown is an interesting, slow-burn romantic thriller that takes the reader into a world many know very little about: the symphony and philharmonic. It's evident this is a sphere that Brown is well familiar with as the details she provides are exceptional, bringing to life the entire experience. Mixed within is the story of Daniela and the history of her family, her personal life, and two disastrous relationships; one romantic and the other platonic. There are moments when Daniela is a bit too naive for my liking, almost completely unconscious of the storm swirling around her. Still, this can be attributed to both her youth and a sheltered upbringing. She is, after all, a multi-dimensional character meant to rise above the crowd...and she certainly does this. I loved Robert, the Ducati-riding police officer who is just absolutely everything that Daniela isn't. She's lipstick and Vivaldi, he's guns and Berlin CDs. The tension is amazing from the get-go and this is when the story truly lifts off. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to those who enjoy romance and classical music with a suspenseful undertone.