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Bellweather Rhapsody

Narrated by: Jessica Almasy
Length: 11 hrs and 28 mins
5 out of 5 stars (2 ratings)

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Summary

Fifteen years ago, a murder/suicide in room 712 rocked the grand old Bellweather Hotel and the young bridesmaid who witnessed it. Now hundreds of high school musicians, including quiet bassoonist Rabbit Hatmaker and his brassy diva twin, Alice, have gathered in its cavernous, crumbling halls for the annual Statewide festival; the grown-up bridesmaid has returned to face her demons; and a snowstorm is forecast that will trap everyone on the grounds. Then one of the orchestra’s stars disappears—from room 712. Is it a prank, or has murder struck the Bellweather once again?

The search for answers entwines a hilariously eccentric cast of characters—conductors and caretakers, failures and stars, teenagers on the verge and adults trapped in memories. For everyone has come to the Bellweather with a secret, and everyone is haunted.

Full of knowing nods to the shivery pleasures of suspense and the transporting power of music, this is a wholly winning new novel from a writer lauded as “charming” (Los Angeles Times), “witty” (O, The Oprah Magazine), and “whimsical” (People).

©2014 Kate Racculia (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

Critic reviews

"For its darkness and its glee, I loved this novel." (Robin Sloan, author of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore)

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Profile Image for Anna
  • Anna
  • 19-06-15

Zany lovely book, great narrator

On the surface it's a madcap romp with all the elements of a Wes Andersen farce: a haunted hotel, mystery, silliness. But I loved the characters so much and the way the author wrote them really made me care. There were laugh out loud moments and made-me-weepy moments and sometimes moments that made me do both simultaneously. The narrator was great - she captured the energy of the novel perfectly.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Allyn Van Dusen
  • Allyn Van Dusen
  • 31-07-14

Fun and Perceptive Musical Mystery

As a professional musician, I enjoyed reading a story, and a mystery, that was centered in my universe. The writing is energetic, character-driven, and well-constructed, with believable dialogue and internal subtexts. My high school age musician nephew will especially love it! Kate Racculia captures the spirit of a subject that is obviously hard to write about but that fires us up and even drives our actions. Jessica Almasy's performance delineates the various characters very well (she modulates her voice to sound like a high schooler one moment and an older man the next) and was brightly paced. I highly recommend this entertaining book.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for J.B. Fletcher
  • J.B. Fletcher
  • 22-04-18

Perfect narrator, snappy story

The narrator was perfect for this book. She is as syncopated and engrossing and quick as the plot deserves. The story itself is endearing and clever. I laughed out loud several times. There are legitimate plot surprises. It feels warm and symbolic.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • dena
  • 05-08-15

One of the best books ever!

OH MY GOD! I just finished listening to this audiobook. It is amazing. So intricate, funny and enjoyable. I couldn't believe the ending- never saw it coming.

If you love this book I think you would also like author Joshilyn Jackson, especially Gods in Alabama. As for me. I am just about to start Kate's book This Must Be The Place. I can't wait.

I also want to mention that Jessica Almasy is my favorite narrator and her performance is stellar.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Susan Tipton
  • Susan Tipton
  • 12-04-15

A Mystery Romp in Young Adult World

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

I found the story somewhat engaging but I felt this story could have been a Young Adult selection. I found the characters lacked depth they were one dimensional and I found their reaction in the narrative predictable with one or two exceptions. I kept listening to the novel because I wanted to find out how it came out. I had difficulty accepting a family and the 15 year old boy himself maintaining the nick name 'Rabbit' and Bunny. This seemed a stretch and somewhat annoying.

What did you like best about this story?

The mystery plot was well crafted even though the end was tied up a bit too handily. There were interesting characters sprinkled here and there that I did find interesting.

Would you be willing to try another one of Jessica Almasy’s performances?

No. I have to say when I first started listening I checked the reading speed thinking it must have been set at 1.5 speed because her voice sounded as though she had inhaled helium. I do not want to come down on a person's voice; it seems a personal attack and I do not mean that at all but I couldn't listen to another book read by her. She did a good job with accents and I do realize she was reading in the characters of adolescents.

Was Bellweather Rhapsody worth the listening time?

I probably would not read/listen to another by this author. I think the question of whether it was worth the listening time a difficult question to answer. Given that I would avoid another narration by Almasy and also not choose another book by Racculia I guess I would have to say no it was not worth the time.

Any additional comments?

The author gave interesting insights into the arena of youthful musical accomplishments and I found this interesting but truthfully the reader's voice put me off.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for RueRue
  • RueRue
  • 21-05-14

Ultimately Disappointing

Is there anything you would change about this book?

There were good moments and some plot twists that really were surprising, but there were also long passages of character rumination that diluted any suspense. It seemed like the author wasn't sure if this were a thriller/suspense novel or a character drama. It felt like an uneasy mix of both.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

A little bit anti climatic.

What aspect of Jessica Almasy’s performance would you have changed?

She was a little bit strident with the character of Alice, but she absolutely NAILED the wicked Viola.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

It could be a good movie if the suspense aspect of the story was the focus.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Robin Graber
  • Robin Graber
  • 11-09-19

Amazing characters and a great story

Now I have to say right off the bat, this book was not what I expected it to be. Based off the synopsis, I expected a sort of a cross between a mystery novel and haunted hotel novel. There definitely is a little bit of a mystery here, but not in the same vain as a normal mystery novel. Instead what we get is a story about people, all different types of people, but all discovering themselves in ways they didn't expect. And that's I think what makes this novel so amazing - the characters.

I won't get into all of them but I have to mention a couple. First of all, I don't think I've ever hated a character as viscerally as I hated Viola Fabian when she first appeared. Viola cares about one thing and one thing only - herself. She shows that right off the bat, and one thing I loved is that while we do get to see more of who she is, there's no attempts at redemption. Viola wants power and doesn't care who gets hurt in her attempts to get it.

Fisher Brodie is one of my favorite characters in here. A conductor who was a prodigy, and until he gave it all up in a terrible way, it's just fascinating to see inside his head. He plays piano on a whim as a child and then is whisked off to a stardom he never wanted. Now that's he broken away, he goes on a string of bad relationship (i.e. married women) until meeting one of the characters at the hotel. Now he's in love and he changes his demeanor entirely. Also, he has a little twist in the end that I was kind of thinking would turn out that way and I was right.

Minnie is definitely my favorite character. Ultimately broken by the horrible crime she witnessed, she slowly starts to come back to life after getting a dog. And then she realizes if she ever wants a change she has to go back to the hotel where it all started. After the event, she starts to watch horror movies as a catharsis, and as someone who's worked in trauma, I can tell you that it really works. Minnie is definitely an odd character but also the one with the most heart to me. I just loved her growth throughout the book.

Okay, but now my favorite character - Rabbit Hatmaker. Early on (like within the first 15 pages) we find out that Rabbit is gay and is hoping to use this weekend to tell his twin sister. But instead of coming out, he comes into his own. He starts to realize he doesn't have to live in Alice's shadow, but rather can be his own person. I loved watching him grow, even though there were a couple times that he was so awkward that I wanted to scream and shake him. I definitely would've loved a little more for him on the relationship front at the end, but I also understand why that didn't happen.

Overall I highly recommend this book and if you like it, the audiobook version was great. Jessica Almasy, the narrator, was fantastic.