“Mitchell James Kaplan [brings] his impressive knowledge of history, composition, and the heart’s whims to bear on this shining rendition of Swift and Gershwin’s star-crossed love.” —Therese Anne Fowler, New York Times bestselling author of Z and A Good Neighborhood
“A lilting, jazzy ballad as catchy as a Gershwin tune…Rhapsody will have you humming, toe-tapping, and singing along with every turn of the page.” —Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of The Alice Network and The Huntress
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.
Mitchell James Kaplan is the award-winning author of the novels By Fire, By Water and Into the Unbounded Night. A graduate of Yale, he has lived in Paris and Los Angeles, and currently lives with his family in Roanoke, Virginia.
"Gilbert dramatizes Katherine's development into jazz musician Kay Swift, who wrote the jazz standard "Fine and Dandy." Gilbert excels at conjuring two worlds; for example, she contrasts the snide titters of an upper-crust society gathering with the genuine laughs of a down-to-earth Harlem party. Gilbert's vocal variety captures secondary characters as well: the raspy-voice of stride pianist Luckey Roberts, the rolling "r's" of Mrs. Vanderbilt Belmont, the quiet murmurs of maids, and an angry priest's diatribe on the merits of Prohibition."