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Morgan, "Etude" (revised review by Karen Hamilton) Options · View
Posted: Wednesday, May 02, 2012 10:22:27 PM

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Title: Etude
Author: Melinda R. Morgan
Publisher: Silverton House Publishing
Genre: YA Fiction/Romance/Fantasy
Year Published: 2012
Number of Pages: 462
Binding: Paperback
ISBN13: 978-1-600650109
Price: $11.95

Reviewed by Karen Hamilton for the Association for Mormon Letters

I don’t know if Morgan was inspired by the Twilight series or not, but the basic outline of the plot follows those books. However, that is where the two books end in similarity. Yes, a lone girl moves to a new town and meets a good looking guy, but the two main protagonists have control and don’t go sneaking off to each others’ homes.

Beth Arrington is a young woman with a lot of catching up to do. She has been in a coma for almost a year and is dealing with, or trying to deal with, the fact that her left hand is crippled and her dream of being a professional piano player is over. Beth also has recurring nightmares of the car accident that claimed her mother and what happened right after the accident, where she is certain that someone took her mother from her. She has a lot to deal with, to say the least.

Beth’s father is a military man. When Beth is released from the hospital and on the road to recovery, he is sent overseas on a top secret mission, the final one before his early retirement is approved. He is concerned for Beth and sends her to Anderson, Wyoming to stay with her Uncle Conner, her mother’s brother, until the assignment is done.

In Anderson, Beth goes through the motions and routines of registering for her senior year of high school. At a new student orientation she meets Darla Reeder, who introduces her to the culture of Anderson High and becomes her best friend. While being shown around the school, Darla warns Beth about Eric, the school playboy. Darla and Eric have a history together and Beth is more than willing to uphold the "Code" of friends not dating friends exes.

As requirements for graduation become more demanding, Beth and Darla volunteer at the library, which is in the Community Center. The Center also has a music program that offers free lessons to those who can’t afford to pay for them. On the first day of working at the library, Beth hears someone playing Chopin’s Etude in E. When she goes to see who is playing it, she meets Jonathan Rollings.

Jonathan reminds Beth of how much she loves the piano. He brings a selection of duets that he convinces Beth to play with him. As she begins to rediscover the joy of playing, Beth starts to help a young man, Justin Miles, to improve his piano skills and to prepare for the Bach Festival.

While all of the normal, such as it is, is happening, Beth develops feelings for Jonathan and the two of them begin to date. It is on one of their dates that Beth notices that there is something different about Jonathan, which she can’t explain in a way that is satisfactory to her. As time goes on, Beth discovers that those who she loves are actually immortals.

This puts a new spin on everything and everyone around her. Now that Beth knows that there are *good* immortals, she also learns of the darker and *bad* side of having immortals. Memories are coming from her childhood, of the mirror people (the mirror people are what she thinks are her imaginary friends, but later finds out that they were entities that look to possess people who allow them to. It can be for fame, power, or whatever is the strongest desire of an individual), and the nightmares of her accident are becoming more vivid and scary.

As Beth learns more about the immortal world, she discovers that a war has become more and more inevitable. Grace, Jonathan’s sister, tells Beth more of their family history and the decisions that he made as a young man and how those decisions have affected the whole family. Grace informs Beth that Jonathan now has a chance to correct those mistakes, but only if Beth asks it of him. As she weighs the new information, Beth agrees to go where she will be safe, while Jonathan helps train others for the coming war. As a result of her choice to go be safe, she ends up in the past, as Jonathan’s first love during the Civil War.

This is a very well written book. The characters are nicely developed, so that they are three dimensional and seem to be real. As the story progresses the situations that the characters find themselves in are realistic, as are their reactions to them. The landscape of this story is rich in detail and pops off the page.

The one problem that I had with the story was the sex. No, nothing intimate happened; however if young adults or teenagers behaved in such a manner, they would be seeing the Bishop and having some serious discussions. Morgan did show that it is best to wait until marriage to be intimate and that it is the responsibility of both individuals to have a say in when sex happens.

I enjoyed the book and am looking forward to the next book. I will be reading it to get off of this cliff that Morgan has left readers on. As a mother, I would caution parents to read the book first or with their child, or to have a candid discussion about the powerful feelings that come with strong relationships which, if not controlled, could lead to all sorts of problems.
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