The Trumpet Lesson by Dianne Romain

Dianne Romain
She Writes Press (2019)
ISBN 9781631525988
Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (03/2020)

“The Trumpet Lesson” is Dianne Romain’s literary fiction debut, a story that dives into the worlds of secrets, racial inequities, different cultures and sexual orientations, and coming to terms with the past. It’s about embracing and accepting friends, family, and change, and learning to appreciate what matters most. “The Trumpet Lesson” is a fascinating story that brings all these elements together as one woman discovers how to let go and start living.

Callie Quinn’s life is safely compartmentalized by to-do lists, work commitments, and a handful of people in her inner circle. Everything and everyone occupy a specific place in her life, a life rich in routine normalcy. Even her deep dark secret is isolated, only given life on its anniversary. Yet all it takes is a simple song carried by the plaintive notes of a lone trumpet to turn her neatly constructed world upside down – but that might be just what Callie needs most.

“The Trumpet Lesson” is a beautiful story. It’s hard to believe this is a debut novel it is so well done, and my kudos go to the author right up front.  Romain mesmerizes the reader with her words – eloquent, captivating, haunting. Layers of complexity are rolled out with ease, yet it’s also quirky to lighten the burden of some of the more serious topics entertained. There is a lot going on in this story. For instance, the setting is Guanajuato, Mexico, but the dialogue is English, laced with Spanish, laced with French. Where does the French language enter the picture, you might ask? Through the main characters Armando Torres, a man who wants to learn French to impress his lover, and Callie Quinn, who instructs Armando in all things French.  It’s a unique and entertaining twist that livens up an already eventful story!

The author, a resident of Guanajuato, captures the essence of the town like only an insider can. From the cobblestone callejones to the yard filled with cosmos and a luscious avocado tree, the descriptions are enticing and alluring, drawing you into a world that feels like it was created just for you, the reader. The same is true for the characters, who are divine. They are all so different yet go together perfectly as if they were placed in the universe at this precise time to influence each other. It’s pure destiny and they all have something to contribute and learn from each other. 

Though it may be cliché – I am confident in stating that readers will have a hard time putting this book down. But don’t rush through it – you don’t want to risk missing even one of the subtle distinctions that make the writing all the more endearing – no, simply savor the experience. I highly recommend “The Trumpet Lesson” by Dianne Romain.

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