An Unheard Song by Laura Ambrose
Publisher – Penglass Publishing
Published – Out Now
Price - £2.49 kindle eBook
Annalie’s dreams came true when her first book became the bestselling debit fantasy of the decade. Awards and accolades were overwhelming and incredible, just like when she used to play professional violin before a manipulative ex silenced her. After her second book tanked with poor sales and worse reviews, her dreams crumbled. She lost her words just like she lost her music. She hasn’t left her flat in Edinburgh in months.
Cam is devastated when she doesn’t get the fellowship, she needs for her PhD in music history. She suspects its because she turned down sleeping with the famous violinist on the board, Meanie. Hard for cash, Cam takes a part-time job as an author assistant to Annalie. Cam didn’t expect to find her so gorgeous. As they both struggle for courage to rebuild their dreams, they can’t deny their attraction. When Cam realises that Melanie is Annalie’s ex, they plot a little light revenge. But will the risks silence the fragile song growing between Annalie and Cam?
I’ve really enjoyed Laura Ambrose/Lam’s earlier two romances in what is the Romancing The Page trilogy of novella A Perfect Balance and A Hidden Hope that has f/f love stories set in SF publishing. In Edinburgh we now are given a sweet romance where two characters both with their own private battles to face suddenly find a burning attraction as well as a common enemy that needs taking down a peg or too.
The last instalment in this loosely connected trilogy takes us back to Annalie who we met in A Hidden Hope as a new debut novelist. Time has moved on and Annalie has seen huge success but on her second book a perceived publishing failure and alongside a loss on confidence has also suffered an agoraphobic episode. Into this to aid her research at the local library she recruits through a friend. Cam as a new author assistant. Cam is bouncing back from the shock of her mother having a cancer diagnosis and a rejection from her PhD. There is an immediate attraction between these two young women but initially they bond over research and a shared love of fantasy.
This is a delightful novella. Ambrose has a great way of painting a character and we have the almost ethereal Annalie locked up in her own tower and Cam a lot more active, angry and unsure of where she is going. Even just being around each other before dating does each other good but after much build-up this culminates in a lovely and sensual scene of hair dyeing, they finally let into their desire for one another. Interestingly compared to the other two tales we have a bit more of an antagonist in the form of Melanie – Annalie’s abusive ex who it also turned out the predatory university board member who likely blocked Cam getting into her PhD course. It turns out Melanie stole Annalie’s violin and the two hatch a plot to steal it back. This gives a more interesting almost thriller style finale as the plan a very small heist at an evening gala. It both fun, satisfying but also brings in some emotional conflict as Cam’s anger issues suddenly come to the fore and that requires the couple to start to assess if they are the right match for each other for the long-term.
It’s a very sweet, intelligent romance that has two very compelling leads and the heist plot makes it a very fun and thoughtful adventure as well. Lots of emotional depths rising from despair, anxiety and of course desire and falling in love make this a novella that really can make you smile (as have the two earlier tales). Strongly recommended and I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for more tales in the future.