Series Name: The Guardian of the Opera
Author: Cheryl Mahoney
Pub. Date: June 5, 2020
Find it: Amazon
Set against the backdrop of 1880s Paris and the stunning Opera Garnier, The Guardian of the Opera: Nocturne brings you the familiar tale from a different direction. Meg Giry met the Phantom once when she was twelve years old, a new ballet dancer lost in the Opera’s maze. Years later, when an Angel of Music offers singing lessons to her best friend Christine Daaé, Meg is sure she knows what’s actually happening. But as strange events unfold and the pieces stop adding up, Meg has to wonder if she truly understands the Phantom—or Christine.
Erik is a man of many talents and many masks, and the one covering his face may be the least concealing. The opera house is his kingdom and his refuge, where he stalks through the shadows as the Phantom of the Opera, watching over all that occurs. He never intended to fall in love; when he does, it launches him into a new symphony he’s certain can only end in heartbreak.
A Deleted Scene-Provided By Author
Nocturne begins when Meg is twelve years old, and moves swiftly through five years in a few chapters. I liked this scene when she was sixteen, but I cut it out to move through that opening section a little quicker. The essential ideas mostly come up elsewhere in the book, but this is a nice moment of insight into Meg, and to her relationship with her mother.
Everyone liked to say that I had wonderful potential as a dancer. For a while, that pleased me, until eventually I realized it was just another way of saying I was pretty good. When a dancer was Great, people said so. Or when someone was terrible, that was said too. When someone was just acceptable, then they had potential.
Some of the people with potential really did go on to be stars. By the time I was sixteen, I knew I never would.
I became really sure one Sunday afternoon, walking by the Seine with my mother. We were talking of inconsequential things, but I had a subject I wanted to raise, and had been looking for an opening. I’d lingered at a bookseller’s stall, and had to hurry to catch up.
As I took Mother’s arm again, she remarked, “You walk like a dancer—like at any moment you might take flight into a pirouette. You always did, even before we came to Paris.”
This seemed like my chance. “When you brought me to Paris,” I said slowly, “were you hoping I’d become, you know…a prima ballerina?”
She laughed lightly. “I brought you to Paris just to dance. But I suppose every parent has hopes about the wonderful things children will do.”
Some of the mothers at the Opera cared far more about their daughters’ careers than the girls did. Always pushing them on, always badgering people about better parts. My mother was never like that. She was strict and she wouldn’t tolerate it if she thought I was being lazy—or if she thought I was being slighted by anyone. But she wasn’t so overwhelming about it, the way some of the mothers were. I wouldn’t have dared to ask them what I asked then, even if one of them had been my mother.
“If I never become a great dancer…would you be disappointed?”
I was looking carefully out towards the Seine, but I could feel Mother’s gaze on me. “Not if you don’t want to be one.” She put her hand over mine for a moment. “Do you?”
I was so relieved by her first sentence that it was making me bubbly—though that wasn’t hard to do. “Sometimes,” I said, turning back to Mother with a smile. “And sometimes I don’t think I want it enough. Some of the other girls, dancing is all they ever think about. And there’s so much else to think about!”
I slipped away from Mother’s hand, stretching my arms out in my enthusiasm. “There’s so much else I want to do! I want to travel to new places—and meet new people—and fall in love—and go to grand parties—and climb the Egyptian pyramids and explore the Roman catacombs and maybe someday I’ll marry a baron!”
Mother laughed. “Why a baron?”
“Why not?” I countered. “It’s not that I don’t love to dance—it’s that I don’t want to only dance. Some of the dancers don’t even seem to care that there’s anything else happening at the Opera. And I always want to listen to the singers and watch the actors and find out what’s in the latest note from the Phantom.”
I shook my head in pure disbelief as I remembered some of the conversations I had had. “How can anyone living in a haunted opera house not be completely fascinated by the world? Whoever—or whatever—the Ghost is, he’s proof that there are amazing things in the world.”
“What if he’s just a very clever man?”
“Even more so.”
3 winners will win a finished copy of NOCTURNE (US Only)
About the Author
Cheryl Mahoney lives in California and dreams of other worlds. She is the author of the Beyond the Tales quartet, retelling familiar fairy tales, but subverting expectations with different points of view and new twists to the tales. She is also a co-author of The Servants and the Beast, and its companion piece, After the Sparkles Settled. Cheryl loves exploring new worlds in the past, the future or fairyland, and builds her stories around characters finding their way through those worlds–especially characters overlooked or underestimated by the people around them.
She has been blogging since 2010 at Tales of the Marvelous (http://marveloustales.com). Her weekly Writing Wednesday posts provide updates about her current writing, including excerpts. She also posts regularly with book and movie reviews, and reflections on reading. She has been a member of Stonehenge Writers since 2012, and has completed NaNoWriMo seven times.
Cheryl has looked for faeries in Kensington Gardens in London and for the Phantom at the Opera Garnier in Paris. She considers Tamora Pierce’s Song of the Lioness Quartet to be life-changing and Terry Pratchett books to be the best cure for gloomy days.
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