“The Lost Melody” is an excellent example of Christian historical fiction. Set in England in the 1880s, this is the story of a young musician who is searching for an inherited ward in an asylum. The asylum claims to have no record of the patient in question, and Vivienne goes to great lengths to figure out what happened to this mystery woman.
Most of the story is set in Hurstwell Asylum, and the author sheds a great deal of light on what conditions were typically like in that type of institution during that time period. I found her descriptions of locations, staff, patients, and practices to be historically accurate and interesting. I appreciate Ms. Politano’s efforts to research and write about such a difficult topic, and share her knowledge with the reader without making the story feel depressing. I also liked reading about some of the earliest attempts at music therapy.
I enjoyed just the right amount of suspense as I tried to figure out the answers along with Vivienne. It was interesting to watch her navigate the asylum and see firsthand how it was run. I enjoyed the missing ward storyline, as well as Vivienne’s personal growth and development, throughout the novel.
The author has a unique way of bringing characters to life that make them simultaneously fascinating and relatable. There is just something special about the way she writes that draws me in to her work in a very personal way. In addition to Vivienne, other characters added a great deal to the story. Patients and staff, as well as a couple of “outsiders”, all add depth to the plot and draw the reader into this world even more deeply.
Vivienne’s personal faith journey adds an important element to the story. From her childhood acceptance of God through some doubts as she navigates a difficult situation, I found her faith and thoughts to be realistic. I liked the way her faith was portrayed throughout the novel, and seeing how it guided her in her choices.
The book ends with a satisfactory resolution of the plot, while leaving room for the reader to imagine what comes next in the lives of the characters.
As an added bonus, a quote by a musician starts each chapter. Many are from familiar historical names, but some are from Vivienne herself.
Definitely five out of five slices of perfect Provolone!