Pick of the Week: Bellweather Rhapsody by Kate Racculia
When I started reading the delightful Bellweather Rhapsody (publication date May 13), it was clear to me that Kate Racculia was a band geek growing up. Both my kids were band geeks, and attended music festivals like the one in Racculia’s second novel. The author’s attention to detail, from the black bottoms and white tops to the quirky guest conductors, rings with authenticity.
The stars of the show are Alice and Rabbit Hatmaker, two twins who are polar opposites. Alice loves being the center of attention and singing her heart out to anyone who will listen. Rabbit (a nickname for Bertram) is his sister’s quiet side kick, who feels most alive when he is playing his bassoon, Beatrice. When they both are chosen to go to an all-state music conference from their small town, Alice can’t wait to meet new friends and show off her talents. Rabbit hopes to just get through the long weekend.
But soon it becomes clear that this won’t be just an ordinary music festival. Alice
is assigned to Room 712, where a murder/suicide took place 15 years before. When Alice finds her roommate Jill hanging from the ceiling in their room, she rushes to get help. A few minutes later, Jill’s body is gone, and a note is left saying, “Now she is mine.’’ The
horrified Alice is determined to find out what happened.
Rabbit, meanwhile, is trying to exert his independence from his overly demanding twin while debating when to let her know that he is gay. As the weekend unravels, we get to know the supporting cast members with their own intriguing stories and issues, including Hastings, the hotel concierge who witnessed the murder/suicide all those years ago and now is worried that history is repeating itself.
I had trouble picking a genre for this book. I’ve seen it classified it as “horror’’, which I don’t think is accurate. Yes, there are references to Stephen King’s classic, “The Shining’’, which also is set at an old, creepy hotel. But “Bellweather Rhapsody’’ is more like a coming-of-age story with healthy doses of suspense, humor and teenage angst thrown in.
Bravo, Kate Racculia. You deserve to take a bow for writing such an entertaining, engaging novel. Well done.