Five Books With… Musical Themes

Welcome back for another Five Books With… post! I love coming up with different ideas for these posts, and it’s been a while since my last one, which you can find here, and my previous one, here. This time I’ve gone for a musical theme, and want to share five books where music plays an important role in the story, or in the characters themselves.

Music is something I absolutely love, and I used to sing within various choirs when I was younger. I sing around the house when I have peace and quiet, although I’m a very out of practice soprano these days, probably more of mezzo. Despite my love of music, I never learned to play any instruments, but luckily these characters are more motivated and talented than I ever was.

The Phantom of the Opera – Gaston Leroux
The well known musical takes its roots in the fantastic French classic book. Angel of Music, guide and guardian… Sings Christine right near the beginning of the the play, the role the Phantom has chosen to play as he plays his cards, his love for Christine overwhelming (and obviously unhealthily obsessive). The book and show have some significant differences, but you can definitely love both. What’s most significant for this post, however, is that the book wouldn’t be possible without music. I didn’t include this in my list of Classics To Read If You Don’t Like Classics but I probably should have.

Daisy Jones and The Six – Taylor Jenkins Reid
Right at the other end of the timeline, last year’s big hit Daisy Jones and The Six covers the power of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll through the fictional 70’s legends, finally answering why they split the night of their last concert in 1979. Told with all the power you would expect of the tale of a real musical superpower, this book is as captivating and brilliant as it sounds, and takes the central theme of music to another level.

The Midnight Library – Matt Haig
My review for this book is upcoming, but the idea is beautiful. Nora gets to see and experience thousands of possible lives, all the lives that would have happened if she had made different choices along the way. One of these major decisions would have been to pursue the band she dreamed of living with her brother and their friends. In her core life, she works in a music shop and teaches piano lessons. Music isn’t the most focused on theme, but it is a background soundtrack to this beautiful book.

This Eternity of Masks and Shadows – Karsten Knight
I reviewed this book a while back, and really enjoyed it. It’s full of twists and turns, fantasy and realism. The main character’s girlfriend is a powerful singer, and we often get little snippets of her songs, or her career, and her music becomes a major plot story point as the book develops. It handles both the characters and the music beautifully, and allows the melodies to entwine with the tale so wonderfully that it is a simply gorgeous young adult novel.

A Thousand Ships – Natalie Haynes
A slightly different take on a musical book is A Thousand Ships. One of my favourite historical fiction novels and my personal favourite from the Women’s Prize For Fiction Shortlist, this retelling of the Battle of Troy speaks from the perspectives of multiple women, all woven together by the Muse, who is helping an epic be written, but perhaps not the way the tale-teller intended. The song comes into form fueled by the feminine rage of the Muse.

There we are, five very different music-themed books! I hope you enjoy this post, and will maybe take on reading some of these books if you need some music in your life.

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