The Universe in 3/4 Time

A Novel of Old Europe

Fiction - Literary
464 Pages
Reviewed on 07/16/2023
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Author Biography

Pianist, author and composer LEONA FRANCOMBE is of English and Czech heritage and grew up in the United States. She studied at Yale School of Music, the Hochschule für Musik in Vienna and Bryn Mawr College. She is the author of many essays and short stories as well as the novels "The Sage of Waterloo" and "Madame Ernestine und die Entdeckung der Liebe". An encounter she had with an abandoned piano one misty evening in Brussels was the inspiration behind "The Universe in 3/4 Time: A Novel of Old Europe". Leona lives in Belgium with her family.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Tracy Traynor for Readers' Favorite

In The Universe in 3/4 Time by Leona Francombe, a perpetual night walker, Audrey Nightingale comes across an abandoned piano on the streets of Brussels. She hasn’t played the piano since a mysterious disaster happened three years ago. Her fingers are drawn to the keys. She plays, and her soul awakens. Only, when she looks up, is she being stared at by a dark stranger? Unnerved, she hurries to her favorite café. Once a member of the acclaimed Kepler Players, she hasn’t seen the other two members since their last fateful night together. But music calls her to save the piano, and she can’t do it alone. She picks up her mobile and dials. In a way, what follows is a treasure hunt to save the piano. The treasures she finds are a cabin in the Black Forest, a castle on a hill, new friends, a puzzle to solve, and the most important one—a reconciliation with old friends. As it is with stories that float on the memories of war, traces of sadness lace the chapters that are otherwise vibrant and full of life.

Wow, what a book! Leona Francombe is both a musician and a lover of music. The history of the war in Europe, and even more insightful, the history of Kepler and his writing “The Harmony of the World” pour through the pages, giving us a breathtaking glimpse into the love of everything musical. Leona's writing style is among the best I’ve ever read. The Universe in 3/4 Time abounds with mystery and the dream of musical romanticism. The twisty plot is delightfully revealed, and the star pinning the tale together is a Czech piano, unassuming in looks and dripping with intrigue and secrets. Best line from the book—'beauty is the only antidote to war.' In this stunning work of fiction, the ghosts of the past walk hand-in-hand with the spirits of today. It is a magnificent blend of modern-day and the 1940s and more. Leona Francombe’s work deserves to be read again and again. Fabulous from start to finish!