Genre: Historical Fiction
Length: 352 pages
First Published: 2021
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
One evening in 1924, Kay Swift witnesses George Gershwin playing “Rhapsody in Blue” at a concert. Thus begins a love affair between a society wife who longs for her own musical career and a young brilliant musician. Kaplan’s novel details the tangled bond between the two composers through the ups and downs of their careers, her loyalty to her husband, and his eventual death from brain cancer.
Rhapsody was so crammed full of celebrity name-dropping and pointless details that I quickly gave up on Kaplan’s historical novel. Maybe if I enjoyed music more I would have persevered, but to me, the writing felt more belabored than lyrical.
One evening in 1924, Katharine “Kay” Swift–the restless but loyal society wife of wealthy banker James Warburg and a serious pianist who longs for recognition–attends a concert. The piece: Rhapsody in Blue. The composer: a brilliant, elusive young musical genius named George Gershwin.
Kay is transfixed, helpless to resist the magnetic pull of George’s talent, charm, and swagger. Their ten-year love affair, complicated by her conflicted loyalty to her husband and the twists and turns of her own musical career, ends only with George’s death from a brain tumor at the age of thirty-eight.
Set in Jazz Age New York City, this stunning work of fiction, for fans of The Paris Wife and Loving Frank, explores the timeless bond between two brilliant, strong-willed artists. George Gershwin left behind not just a body of work unmatched in popular musical history, but a woman who loved him with all her heart, knowing all the while that he belonged not to her, but to the world.