“[A] shining rendition of Swift and Gershwin’s star-crossed love.” —Therese Anne Fowler, New York Times bestselling author
In the vein of the New York Times bestseller Loving Frank, this fascinating and compelling novel “will have you humming, toe-tapping, and singing along with every turn of the page” (Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author) as it explores the decade-long relationship between the celebrated composer George Gershwin and gifted musician Katharine “Kay” Swift.
When Katharine “Kay” Swift—the restless but loyal society wife of wealthy banker James Warburg and a serious pianist who longs for recognition—attends a performance of Rhapsody in Blue by a brilliant, elusive young musical genius named George Gershwin, her world is turned upside down. Transfixed, she’s 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 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.
Kaplan (By Fire, by Water) builds an enchanting world featuring musical giants George Gershwin and Kay Swift. The story begins and ends on the same day July 11, 1937 in-between, a great romance culminates in tragedy. Katharine Swift is a pianist of modest means who marries wealthy banker James Warburg. She's fond of James (and hurt by his romantic indiscretions), but doesn't experience true passion until she meets brash composer and pianist George Gershwin. This leads to a complicated setup of caring deeply for two very different men that ends with the death of one of the men. Kaplan's meticulous research is evident throughout (an author's note at the end points out where he fiddled with facts), and the pages glitter with the names of such musical luminaries as Richard Rodgers, Duke Ellington, and Fats Waller, who provide a glamorous backdrop to the narrative, punctuated with major world events: the Great Depression and the ominous gathering storm of fascism in Germany. This spellbinding and luminous tale will linger in readers' minds long after the final page is turned.