“[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.
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.
“When I first read the opening pages of Mitchell James Kaplan’s novel, Rhapsody, which details the relationship between George Gershwin and Kay Swift, his lover for a full decade, I knew I had to acquire it. Kaplan was inspired to write his novel shortly after the death of his father, who earned his way through college and medical school by playing jazz clarinet, and who had a particular love of Gerhswin’s music. The players in this novel—not only the formidable Kay Swift, a woman ahead of her time, and Gershwin himself, but his brother Ira, and Swift’s husband James Warburg, a member of the wealthy Warburg banking family—are all larger-than-life characters who come fully alive in the pages of Rhapsody. For readers who love period fiction, and yearn to understand the complicated lives of actual historical figures, this novel is likely to be on a lot of must-read lists.”
"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."