The Harp Quartet
Book One of the Beethoven Trilogy
While Ireland fights for its independence, sixteen year-old Hannah McDermott is fighting for her own. And what Hannah sets her heart on she usually gets, much to the frustration of her strait-laced sister Stasia.
After being expelled from her school for disgracing herself in front of the new priest, she finds herself freed from the tedium of village life, from nuns, suitors and her annoying sister, and becomes the latest student at the exclusive Maple Academy, near Dublin. There she meets the formidable but impressive Mrs Fitzgerald, its principal, who recognises and nurtures her extraordinary skill as a violinist. Hannah’s life is transformed at the Academy and she finds soul-mates and makes friends for life while Dublin offers her artistic inspiration, excitement and a perfect stage for her musical talents.
But Hannah’s greatest discovery is the power of music to touch and awaken hearts. Although, when too many hearts are woken, some are likely to be broken.
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Tess Alps has written all her adult life from educational plays from her time in theatre-in-education to regular columns on advertising for The Guardian.
She read English at Durham and her long career in advertising has required many forms of writing. But this is her first published novel. Inspired by a photograph of her grandmother at a finishing school in Dublin and using snippets of memories from her mother Kay, The Harp Quartet is the first of three novels about Hannah McDermott and her family.
The second, The Moonlight Sonata, will be published later in 2020 with the final part, The Pastoral Symphony, appearing in 2021, all being well.
It is fitting that this ‘Beethoven trilogy’ is making its first appearance in the 250th anniversary year of Beethoven’s birth.
Tess lives in the Chilterns with her husband; she edits the village magazine and is an avid gardener, competing fiercely in the village garden club shows.