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Support us financially by purchasing this e-book from
The Dark Side of Dawn by MG da Mota
Formats: ePub, Mobi
Publisher: 4 Square Books ISBN: 978-1-61766-228-7
Price: $US 3.95

This elegantly constructed novel effortlessly interweaves a number of intriguing plot threads simultaneously serving up a murder mystery, a lost manuscript by Mozart and an intricate web of relationships. The story is told through the voice of Vera, the main heroine of the book, who has just emerged battered and bloodied, literally in this case, from a relationship with her ex-husband. Vera is a concert pianist who has a particular affinity for Mozart and she has just been left a house in the Azores by an aunt (Aurora) of whose existence she was previously unaware.
 
On visiting the Azores, Vera is suspicious about the circumstances surrounding her aunt’s death and comes across a manuscript in her papers which she believes to be a lost piece of music by Mozart. The novel cleverly and skilfully gradually reveals clues as to the origins of the piece by introducing historical interludes which describe Mozart’s relationships with two boyhood friends from the perspective of one of these friends. At the same time we are introduced to a rich cast of characters including Dr Elias (the local solicitor), Augusto (the handsome handyman), and Alessandro (a celebrated conductor and composer).
 
The novel looks at a number of interesting themes including the subjugation and empowerment of women, the toxic effect of religion, and the redemptive and healing power of music. Vera is on an emotional journey throughout the book as she gradually moves from crushed and helpless victim to resourceful woman who is not afraid to take the initiative in carrying out some much needed detective work, and who recovers musical gifts she thought were lost. The web of relationships with Dr Elias, Augusto and Alessandro are skilfully drawn. We begin to see that there is an iron resolve and depth in Vera in spite of past traumas.
 
The plot is developed with admirable clarity as the various mysteries and secrets that lie at the heart of the book are gradually unearthed. Da Mota very sensibly takes her time in revealing the truth and the reader is compelled to go on Vera’s journey of discovery to find out what really happened. There are moments of high dramatic tension - try the moment where Vera finally confronts Augusto - but also moments of extreme tenderness and sensuality as we watch Vera begin to heal and fall for the charms of the handsome and talented Alessandro. Some of the descriptive writing is very poetic and da Mota is good at conjuring up atmosphere and mood.
 
Vera says: “Dawn is always darker before the light breaks up and the sun rises…..Aurora never saw the rising sun. She stared most of her life at the dark side of the Dawn”. At various points in the novel, we wonder if Vera will be consigned to a similar fate. However, as she finally takes her place in the concert hall we are in the presence of an artist who is once more at the height of her powers and, who in doing so, has banished the darkness. The novel is a victory song for the redemptive power of music and art as symbolised by the redoubtable Vera. Overall, this is a great read and well worth your attention.
 
Robert Beattie 

Note: The author of this book is a Musicweb International reviewer, Margarida Mota-Bull.