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  • A warm and wonderful story, beautifully told.

    “For Diana, Arie had learned, music was an all-purpose medication. She used rousing music to stir herself to action, maudlin music to soothe herself in distress, violent music if she needed to vent, and bittersweet music if she felt like crying.” The Lost Love Song is the second novel by Australian author, Minnie Darke (aka Danielle Wood). Celebrated pianist Diana Clare had composed the song for her lover, Arie Johnson. They had been together for seven amazing years, and it was going to be her way of telling him what he so wanted to hear. But soon after the composing was completed, that song, the one Arie had heard her tinkering with before she departed on tour, was lost. Diana couldn’t bring Arie her beautiful gift. But the song wasn’t altogether lost. It took a long journey, was overheard, inspiring action and further creation. Bene Romero heard it, was fascinated and took it home; flautist Beatrix Romero played it with her lover; it made Evie Greenlees understand she deserved more; it helped distant brothers connect; it motivated a fiddler to a long-overdue proposal; it moved a jaded DJ to tears; a crusty old banjo player felt closer to his dear departed wife hearing it. Would it one day find Arie? The path that Diana’s love song follows, through different players and diverse instruments and multiple iterations, is easily believable: described by a certain banjo player as “jumping around from ear to ear and heart to heart, which is how all the best songs make their way across the world.” Its effects might have the reader wishing they, too, could listen to it. It’s easy to fall in love with Darke’s characters, who are by no means perfect but are definitely the sort of people you want to know. Their dialogue is natural: at times clever and amusing, often wise. The challenges these people face are from every-day life and how they deal with them is completely credible. Darke portrays grief, and reactions of others to those grieving, exceptionally well. A warm and wonderful story, beautifully told. This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by Better Reading Preview and Penguin Michael Joseph.

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