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Reviewed by Jaycee Allen for Readers' Favorite
In The Budapest Artists’ Club by Claire Doyle, Laura and her boyfriend Dany have been encouraged by a group of Transylvanian musicians to leave London and come to Budapest for an extended stay. But all is not what it seems: Dany, an instrument maker, becomes involved in a scheme to substitute a viola in a Romanian museum with a newer one he will create, and he soon decides he is in love with someone else. Laura must now depend upon friends for a place to sleep, and to practice the rustic folk instrument she is learning to play. She plans to return to London alone, but before leaving she unwittingly becomes involved in a complicated intrigue. Twenty years later, disillusioned with London and the life there, Laura returns to Budapest. She is older but no less romantic, and she soon begins the search for the magnetic Zoltan she met years before, a man with whom she is certain her future happiness lies.
The Budapest Artists’ Club is not merely a tale about uncertain relationships, nor is it a simple intrigue or a love story, although deception and romance are always present. It is a book that deftly leads us into worlds we might never otherwise discover: the traditional and classical Hungarian music scene; the fascinating techniques of Transylvanian instrument playing, and an appreciation of folk instruments; the magic of dance halls; and Budapest’s very unique atmosphere. Such a wealth of information is more than satisfying, but when combined with Clare Doyle’s lovely dreamlike writing style and her rich imagery, The Budapest Artists' Club becomes pure delight.