Cover Image: The Sound Between The Notes

The Sound Between The Notes

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

This book is one of the hardest to talk about as it hit all the deep notes of pain and sorrow in my soul.

Wanting to find yourself, find your feet, your voice after many years of suppressing it all only find out that you have limited time to do it. That tomorrow might not come or come in a way you are not used to. Tomorrow might be so different and so alien that you will be a different person. You won't be able to do the things you love, the things that make you you.

Having raised her child to rebellious teenager, having built and renovated her dream home and having been 'a good supportive wife' to her husband, Susannah finally gets a chance to be herself, to be the pianist she always wanted to be, studied to be, aimed to be... She gets a chance to perform at charity do that might springboard her musical career. 

But something is wrong. Some minor, minuscule detail - sound is flat. Just one sound. A little thing can change so much. Susannah' finger can't reach the right note... Her fingers have a secret, deep dark and life-changing secret - genetic disorder that will eventually cripple her fingers and put a stop to her playing at all.

Susannah perseveres. She does everything and anything to make charity do happen. She goes behind her husband's back, researches alternative treatments, lies to her family, forgets to visit her father, spends a lot of money... Her life is falling apart around her, but Susannah moves ahead.

When world is crumbling down around you, who will be left standing? When we are sick and damaged we are truly alone. When we fight for survival, we are alone... The poetic language of this book made all these truths even more sad and sharp.

Susannah will have to re-evaluate what's important in her life. She will have to realise a few things along the way. She will have to switch back on and see her surroundings and those around her...

Barbara Linn Probst has done a great job with creating this narrative. This book is as much about characters and their development as it is about the dynamic and flow of text. It is like a piece of music. It flows and tumbles, it raises and descends. It takes your heart and rubs your soul. It gives you voice and time to think.

A very immersing and satisfying read.
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This is a beautifully-written novel (with a stunning cover!) with likeable 3D characters, and an intriguing premise, well explored. How easy it is for any artist, any neurosurgeon, any mother, to empathise with a pianist  facing the possibility of losing her ability to play. We all have passions that to lose would feel like losing an essential part of ourselves. Yet there is an even deeper layer, a deeper loss explored in this novel; the loss of knowing part of your family and the secrets they carry in their genes; perhaps secrets that hold a key to our other looming loss. Now there we have a story.
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Quite a different book than what I usually read. A gifted pianist had a nodule on the palm, making it difficult for her to use her little finger. After 16 years of devoting to her home, she wanted to get back to concert life.

An opportunity arose and she wanted to take it. But Susannah had a lot of obstacles to surpass, including fights with husband, missed appointments, therapy for Dupuytren’s contracture that she was diagnosed with, failing her son’s wishes.

This was Susannah’s journey to achieve her dreams. But at what cost?

My first book by author Barbara Lynn Probst, I enjoyed the initial parts where she played for the audition without telling anyone. I liked her passion and talent.

The author dealt with a lot of social topics as Susannah was adopted and wanted to know the birth family along with their medical history. But they were least interested. And it affected her badly.

There was relationship identity issues where one wanted to break the wife and mother mold and the others couldn’t understand it. I liked how she still pursued her dreams.

Then came her desperation for the treatment, both real and experimental, for a slow progressive disease but which could potentially affect her career. But her husband was against it. I liked her bravery to try something new.

Emotions ebbed and flowed in the entire story likes the notes from the piano where I could understand certain facets of the main character. There was a fire burning in her, and I admired her for it. We all need that in our hearts.


She lied and evaded a lot of things, instead of talking straight with the people around, including her family. Her father had episodes of memory losses, but she didn’t seem to bother much about it. She was supposed to be someone who was warm and kind, but she came across as someone who brushed all that away just to get to her dreams. I didn’t like such a facet shown. She didn’t come across as intelligent and endearing. If she had spoken straight, I would have enjoyed the book more.

There were a couple of lines which put me off her by her antiquated views, even at the age of forty. She wrongly thought her mother had been barren and hence had adopted her. And the lines below were her thoughts as quoted in the book.

She had always assumed her mother couldn’t have children. Secretly and not so secretly, she had viewed it as a defect, a missing capacity that belonged to women who were normal and whole. It made her pity and hate her mother in equal measures.

These were her thoughts about her mother’s so called ‘barrenness.’ A modern woman in our times thinking so just rubbed me raw.

The ending was quite rushed, so I couldn’t savor the change of hearts or experience the emotions of a family finding its way back to each other. The richness of music came across, but it failed to evoke my emotions. A pity!!
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This is a unique story that will resonate with a certain type of reader. As a longtime piano player myself I was enthralled by this story, but I can see how it's quite niche to most readers
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The author has used personal experience to provide an added edge to this story. In its essence, it is a quest to identify oneself.
Our lead protagonist, Susannah, has had a sudden stroke of luck when her old mentor directs her to an audition. This is supposed to be the start of something new and adventurous when she also gets a whole other kind of news. This conflict is further exacerbated when the idea of nature versus nurture has her thinking back about her hunt for her birth family. 
Although Susannah was lovingly brought up by her adoptive family, she still feels the need to know about her roots in order to feel whole. The book swings between that past and how the current events of her life and her reactions to them are affecting her.
It was a well-written story, but somehow it felt a little long (it actually was not). Personally, I liked the growth arc, but many of the interpersonal conversations with the secondary characters felt a little repetitive. I expected more, given the speed at which I was able to follow the unfolding events. Some parts are more heart-rending than others but overall had a lot of emotion generously sprinkled in.
I would still recommend this to readers of this genre if the blurb sounded interesting.
I received an ARC thanks to NetGalley, the review is entirely based on my own reading experience of this book.
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Enjoyed this story. Struggle of a mother and wife who had gave her career as a concert  pianist  to raise her children and now has a chance to go back to work an once in a lifetime elite musician. Her husband says she has become obsessive as she struggles to get back the magic she feels she has lost and she suddenly finds herself with a progressive hereditary disease that makes her fingers cramp and curl. Then she suddenly realizes her father is starting to loose his memory, which means some hard choices are in store.
Wonderful writing and great characters made this a very enjoyable read.
4 stars

Thank you to NetGalley and the Author and publisher for a copy of this book.  The Opinions expressed are my own.
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As someone who is not very musical, I cannot imagine going through what the main character in this book does with losing her abilities and having to work to regain them.  I loved the characters and felt like the author did an amazing job giving me the background and insight into them so I really cared.  I read this book in a weekend and would recommend it to anyone looking for a book with great character development.
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Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It was easy to read and very well written. The story invoked wide range of emotional reactions.. sympathy, anger, shock.. the list goes on! While reading it, I began to REALLY dislike the main character, Susannah, and honestly felt like shaking her. But, I think this was the point! Rarely does a character cause me to have such a reaction towards them- so “bravo” 😉 to the author for making me feel that way! 

I do wish there was more of the story with Susannah’s biological family and felt like that part of the book was a bit unresolved. Overall though, 4⭐️! If you are a musician , this is an especially great read.
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I'm probably in the minority in my opinions but I was not a fan of this book. Having read Every Note Played by Lisa Genova, I felt this story was its unpopular cousin. It was difficult to read this for the sole reason that Savannah was not worthy of any sympathy. Of course her diagnosis would affect her - it would affect anyone - however the character was written incredibly selfish. She pushed everyone away, all offers of help - including help from her research scientist husband. 

The death of her teacher, Vera, was a useless plot point. Had Vera not died at the moment she did, the story would have continued without any changes. It just seemed like, 'let's give her one MORE thing to overcome!". 

These are only my opinions - and thank you to Netgalley for providing with with an ARC of this book.
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Another fabulous book by Barbara Linn Probst! I thought her first novel, "Queen of the Owls," was fantastic, but I loved this one even more. At various times I wanted to say that the author's forte is her beautiful writing or her impeccable research or the compelling storyline or rich metaphors, often inspired by the music she clearly loves and understands, but in the end, everything about her books is first rate and all the components come together to create a masterful novel.

Her first book, which revolved around an art history scholar studying Georgia O'Keeffe, piqued my interest in the paintings and photographs featured in the story and sent me to do further research on topics she mentioned. In the same way, this book about Susannah, a pianist grappling with a possibly career-ending medical condition when just on the brink of success, made me want to hear the Schubert sonata Susannah plays and find out more about the composer. I also thought the information about Dupuytren’s contracture, the medical condition which threatened Susannah’s hand mobility, was fascinating, and I appreciated that the author revealed in her acknowledgments that she spoke to a world-renowned pianist about his own experience with this condition. 

But all the scholarly information is beautifully balanced by an equally compelling domestic storyline, as Susannah strives to juggle her professional aspirations with the demands of motherhood, the increasingly fraught relationship with her husband, and her concern for her aging father. Another layer, and one of my favorites, is provided by Susannah’s search for her birth family, with some of the adoption backstory taking place in an earlier timeline but coming back to weigh on Susannah as she seeks to understand the possible genetic component of her diagnosis. The socioeconomic and geographical differences between Susannah and her birth family are presented convincingly and the dialog is pitch-perfect. Topped off with some heart-stopping tension towards the end, this book has it all! Many thanks to the publisher, the author and NetGalley for an e-ARC of this highly recommended book!+
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This was a profound soul-touching  novel that I was instantly invested in and unable to put down. Phenomenal writing with the family trials and tribulations, with music weaved into this beautiful novel. 

I received a copy of this from NetGalley in  exchange for a fair and honest review.
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In THE SOUND BETWEEN THE NOTES, Barbara Linn Probst tells the story of Susannah, a concert pianist destined for greatness when life interrupted in the form of marriage and a child. While Susannah loves her life and her family, she also wants to play concerts, to be the great musician she was nurtured to be. By the end of this exceptionally well-crafted novel, I enjoyed a keen insight into the world of classical music, the prices and the rewards as well as how it is to enter the music and allow it to flow through you rather than playing the right notes. It's early in the year, but I already know that Probst's excellent story will be one of my favorite books read in 2021. Brava! I received an advance reader copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for my unbiased review.
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This was my first story by this author and I really enjoyed the writing of this book! It hooks you from the very beginning! Highly highly recommend.
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A truly wonderful book. It drew me in and captivated me with the emotion and depth of the characters and Susannah's journey to understand her past and reconcile her present and future. I loved the metaphor of the music and how it reflected her journey, fears and challenges and hope for the future. I loved this book on so many levels and will be urging customers in my bookshop to read it.
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Being a musician I absolutely adored this book, it was written in such a way that just flowed like a beautiful score with great detail executed! 

Susannah, a concert pianist is faced with many obstacles that many professional musician face within their career. 
The character of Susannah is very complex and her journey to finding who she is, is exciting! 

The musical themes layered amongst the characters and themes within the novel are very clever and it really is just a beautiful book to read. 

I was kindly provided a copy of this by NetGalley, and thoroughly enjoyed reading this. Thank you!
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Sound Between The Notes~
What a great read.  After putting her dream on hold she finds that she is suffering from a disease that causes her great pain.  How will she go forward with her dream of playing the piano?
Great characters.....Thanks NetGalley for the ARC.
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I have not yet had time to read this novel before the archive date. I am looking forward to reading it and once I do, I will come back and leave a proper review!
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I was originally drawn to the book because of the connection to music. As a music professional I felt this would be a story I would understand and be able to connect to. Honestly as the story progressed I did not feel like I could connect to the main character as she got lost in her search for her family as well as her purpose with the music. She became very self centered and it made me angry. I almost put the book down but I kept reading and I am so glad that I did. As Susannah ran into all of her trials I wanted to see what happened and if she learned her lesson about the truth. The ending of the story was very powerful. It made me sit back and really think about my life as a musician but also as a mother like Susannah. Upon reflection I was glad Barbara Linn Probst wrote the story as she did. The struggles of Susannah felt so real despite my frustration with her. This is a great book for self reflection without directly telling you what and how to self reflect.
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The Sound Between the Notes was a complex story of talent, love, and one’s gift . Throughout the story I felt the character’s love for her craft and also the struggle to balance real life simultaneously. The idea that you can feel completely comfortable and at ease doing what you love is such a beautiful concept. Thank you to NetGalley and She Writes Press for this ARC
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Years ago, when I was still in college, my rheumatoid arthritis flared up really bad, affecting all my activities- I could hardly write or type, and had to take painkillers just to write my exams without hurting my hands too much. I remember wondering then how hard it would be to live without proper-functioning hands. Now throw in art of a kind that you used to do with your hands, and it becomes even more difficult. 

So it is for Susannah, the protagonist of <i>The Sound Between the Notes</i>. She is a pianist, who learns that a hereditary condition can soon cause her hands to be bent and crippled. This shocking news could not have come at a worse time, as Susannah has been preparing for a concert that could be the break she needed. Unable to do anything to stop the disease but equally unable to wait till her hand is deformed (as her well-meaning, scientist husband tells her she must), Susannah decides to take matters into her own hands, with their nodules and all.

As the concert grows near, Susannah has mounting tensions - her son’s typical teenage troubles, quarrels with her husband regarding the treatment and her father’s weakening memory- and tries to reach out once again to her biological family (she was adopted) in the hope of finding someone who can understand her condition- after all, the disease was passed down her genes along with her music.

This book is neatly written, just the right words in all the right places, has a nicely paced plot, strong characters and allusions to great music. The narrative flows back and forth between Susannah’s past and present, keeping the reader’s interest alive all the while. This is my first time reading Barbara Linn Probst but definitely not my last.
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