by Sally Mandel

April 2002
ISBN: 0-345-42892-7
Reviewer Graphic Button Ballantine Books

It is a miracle for Bess Stallone, a self-taught pianist, to get through her training in Julliard. Her talent in playing classical music is magnificent but unfortunately she has a slight problem, whenever she has an audience or performs in public, she faints and embarrasses herself.

David Montagnier is a famous French piano soloist. He is looking for a new partner for his two-piano repertoire and finds Bess is perfect for the position. After he listens and practices with Bess for a few times, David wants Bess to perform with him in public. Bess is terrified of the idea because of her 'faint' problem but David doesn't mind and tries hard to help her overcome it. They start by performing in small churches, charities and personal parties. Bess still faints every time but she is improving and prolonging her performance every time before she faints. At the same time, David is fighting his attraction to Bess as he thinks their relationship should only be professional and not personal.

Heart and Soul is not a regular romance. The story is written in first person, like a diary or biography told by Bess herself. Bess is from a blue-collar family, a straightforward person and never hesitate to express her feelings and thoughts in a colorful way. David Montagnier is the opposite of Bess in both background and personality but he loves the funny side of Bess as well as her talent in music. Ms Mandel has written a realistic, unforgettable, heart-warming story that will surely grace your keeper shelf.

Reviewed in June 2002 by Rose.

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