THREE THINGS INSPIRED ME WHEN WRITING ENCHANTING THE SWAN: ROMANCE, LOVE FOR MUSIC AND MUSIC IN LOVE. IN SHORT: FOREVER ROMANCE:
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Don’t take me wrong: it is not only love that makes the world go round: pigheaded ultraconservative family rules preventing a SHINING love blossoming from the heart and conceived in music, GREED versus compassion, JEALOUS PURSUIT to snatch away someone else’s love, ABUSE IN MARRIAGE, desperate escape and FINAL REDEMTPION in music: it’s all in ENCHANTING THE SWAN, a love story as no other.
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Paul Cramer, MBA graduate and Fiona Baroness de Maconville, cellist, play The Swan, a famous cello-piece by Camille St. Saëns, before their William & Mary Audience. That’s where their love bloomed: at the Department of Music in the Ewell Hall, located at the College of William & Mary, situated in rustic Williamsburg, Virginia.
Neal Cary, Professor and cellist teacher at the College of William & Mary, writes about Enchanting The Swan: “…a beautiful story — full of suspense, drama, and enduring love centered around music. John Schwartz has created a whole world, and a wonderful escape. The characters jump off the page with such personality and imagery that this book could make a great movie. Enchanting the Swan is a very enjoyable read, and I recommend it highly.”
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As you see from the back flap, the beginning of their love seems doomed in a bitter family feud of old stiff Belgian nobility with modern times. Fiona, an orphan raised by godparents after her parents died sailing into a storm at the Belgian coast, must break off because her noble godfather wants her to marry into their Belgian circle. At a heartbreaking lunch in a restaurant at the Grand Place in Brussels, The Roi d’Espagne (right on the photograph) she tells Paul she can’t marry him.
Paul joins a financial postgraduate course at the Free University of Brussels for a few weeks in the hope Fiona and her godparents change their mind, but eventually must capitulate, and when offered a promising internship at First Swiss Bank in Geneva he takes it. And off he goes, heartbroken, not knowing this step leads him into lots of trouble. Read the story in http://amzn.to/1LPFw5o
Paul skiing in Swiss Alps
To get rid of his sour mind and keep his sanity, Paul plays piano at the Salle Delveau in the “Cité”. He is lucky that a guest speaker at his investment course is impressed with his mathematical skills and offers him a job at the Geneva branch of First Swiss Bank. So, deeply hurt Paul travels to Geneva with the TGV to start his career, completely the opposite of what he had hoped for with Fiona in New York.
View of the Mont Blanc from the Dôle on the Swiss Jura near Geneva where Diane gives Paul her bombshell.
A hasty departure for New York follows after Paul completes his internship successfully and, despite all what happened, with distinction. He is transferred to First Swiss Bank in New York in a managerial position.
And then by sheer coincidence he meets the son of Fiona’s aunt at an office party, who tells him Fiona is in New York, shattered by an abusive relationship and divorcing! They meet at a house concert at Fiona’s aunt…can they put humpty-dumpty back together again or not? A long struggle that ends up with a loud shot!
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Why are we surprised? Whose memoir starts off with playing with Audrey when they were kids (she 13 and he 7) , only to discover ten years later that she has become a famous movie star winning an Oscar in Roman Holiday with the great Gregory Peck? I mostly remember her from these two encounters and when she trained in Arnhem, Holland, for ballet, shortly after World War Two. And the Audrey picture above and the dancing one below are private pictures that nobody else has! (The originals were donated to the Audrey Hepburn Children’s Fund). If you click on the pictures most computers will enlarge them. Click back on the picture to get back to the Blog.
Who in his life can claim he met Audrey again 30 years later when she is an accomplished and widely acclaimed actress, with two great sons? Many people knew her and met her, few people knew her as a young, beautiful undiscovered young girl!
Sam says: This is a heartwarming collection of short stories that portray the path of boy meets world with realism and sensitivity. Perhaps most surprising are the different relationships that each story portrays – some were romantic, while others were more familial or close friendships. Those qualities, combined with the historical backdrop and international perspective, distinguish this book from the more typical and predictable storylines, making it a five-star read!
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This may be the reason why so many want to read this story. But it’s not just Audrey, it’s the other women too, not all that famous but heartwarming females that upset any young lad growing up! Who does not love their grandmother like the author does?
Sure everyone’s grandmother is something special! This one was, a Grand Dame who left an indelible mark on the author’s mind and soul. Many want to read it as a matter of comparison, thinking, yes, that’s how my grandmother was, too!
And the first real love? That girl that knocks you of your socks when you are just 17?
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If I told you that picture with the beloved girlfriend was taken in a heavily guarded Jesuit boarding school you would not believe it, but it’s TRUE.
Then that lovely pianist in Paris.
Who says that Paris does not upset anyone’s love life? Hundreds of books and movies ballyhoo about it, and you don’t believe it until you get bitten yourself! I am not sure how that city does it to young people, especially if you speak its language of love, as I did, if it is imagined, dreamt of, hallucination, or wishful thinking, or all of the above, but it turned me upside down. Everyone who went through the same experience, and many did, wants to compare with someone else’s experience, just to be able to say, yes! that’s how it felt! Yes, that’s how it was! And then to think that I and my adorable pianist ran into Sammy Davis in the Hermes store, getting his broad smiles and autographs on her shawl!
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But I ran into big troubles too. Did anyone mess up because they met spider woman when they started their professional career? I did! Nothing more distressful then getting enamored by blond hair, artic blue eyes, a most enticing bright smile and a sexy seductress grabbing you by your….well you know what. Readers don’t want to miss that desperate episode. The author got out of it thanks to the blessing of his gods…oh boy, how that seductress could have destroyed his life…Remember that fabulous song “Here she comes! she is a Man Eater, Ho Ho Ho!?” Watch out!
And then he escapes to Switzerland, meets a loving woman he was too young to appreciate and breaks up once more, all to fall in love with a Norwegian Viking on the skis slopes that ends up in tears on both sides.
Ach! How difficult young life is. Loving and living love and it never stays the way it should be. Why does it have to be that way?
Dan Dwyer writes: I had read the author’s vignette on Audrey Hepburn a few months ago when I was looking for something short, different and personal because my daughter is a big Hepburn fan. Mr. Schwartz did not fail me then nor has he failed me now with his compilation of the women he has met in his life. This latest work, Some Women I Have Known, talks as much about the man himself growing up amount the fairer sex, which he learns almost too late in life has a decisive advantage over a man too eager to find life’s companion.
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And so the deep sufferer left for Africa. Only a desperado would do that. But he got mesmerized by a dark figure, a magnificent black woman, strolling on a hill and she wanted something from him. No, not sex, not earning money to give her beauty away. She wanted freedom, away from mistreatment, longing for the moment she could employ her talents, flying away to unsurpassed heights, dislodge herself from imprisonment in a suffocating society, forced marriage and abusive treatment. A beautiful bird from the jungle, begging to be let loose from its cage to spread its wings and shoot out to heaven.
I don’t think I can ever forget Nyira, never. I don’t know where she is now, what finally happened to her when I got her out, but she did get her chance to live a better life.
And that’s the moment where young minds settle and reach some sort of maturity. It’s what they call coming-of-age. We all go through that one way or another. The only thing this author can say is that he was damn lucky he did not fall into the cracks. He finally met the woman he felt comfortable with. The opposite of what he started out with.
I think this is the element why so many want to read this love story. It’s out on Amazon. com, e-book and paperback. Don’t miss out on these stories, they inspired me to write them, and they will inspire you to read them.
SOME WOMEN I HAVE KNOWN – MEMOIR AND ROMANCE
KIRKUS REVIEW; “A WISTFUL MEMOIR…“
AMAZON.COM AND PAPERBACK