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Bliss: A Novelby Gabrielle Pina
Synopses & Reviews
Prominent violinist's life exposed. Noted violinist Francesca Valentine’s past is revealed. Can you guess which classically trained musician used to weigh 300 pounds . . . see page 8 for details. Ms. Valentine, who just appeared on 60 Minutes last week and has received numerous awards for achievement in the field of classical music, finds herself in the middle of a scandal of sorts. It appears that she is not who she has claimed to be . . . story at eleven. Francesca Valentine, born Claudine Jenkins, could not be reached for comment. . . . This is unbelievable, Mother. What is going on? Did you know there were reporters outside? Mother? What in heaven's name are they talking about? Who in the hell is Claudine Jenkins? Oh my God, Mother, is this you?
Francesca couldn't bear to answer her daughter. Jess was waving some clipping in front of her face, ranting like it was the end of the world. Perhaps it was; only time would tell. She bolted to her favorite place-a refuge where she wouldn't have to see the stricken look on Jess’s face, glimpse the questions burning in her eyes. What would she say? Where would she begin? How would they ever be able to look at her the same way again? She didn't think there was anyone else alive who really knew her, the girl she used to be, the pathetic crea- ture plastered across the front page of every major newspaper and sleazy tabloid. She'd been wrong. Francesca stared at the framed magazine covers that were hung along the walls of her expansive dressing room. She smiled; she was beautiful. Sometimes it was almost impossible to believe that she looked like that, so captivating that people wanted to take her photograph and so alluring that men would want to be seen with her in public. Didn't they understand that the woman on these walls was the only woman who mattered? That other woman, the one in the clipping and on the news, didn’t exist anymore. Why was that so hard for everyone to accept? People change. She began to weep. She believed she had taken care of everything, wrapped up every loose end, severed all ties that connected her to Claudine. Claudine. It felt like a lifetime since that name had rolled across her tongue. She hadn't planned on ever uttering it again or remembering anything about that woman. Now partial truths were everywhere, and ignoring the countless inquiries wouldn’t make them disappear. Samuel, her fiancéeacute;, and her children, Jessica and Jon, would discover that she was a liar, a perpetrator, a common hypocrite. She'd succeeded in reinventing herself. They’d had no idea until now that she used to be someone else.
HAVE YOU SEEN her? Jon asked Jessica.
“Is she talking? Has she said anything? There's got to be some reasonable explanation for this. We’re going to sue the bastards for slander, that’s what we’ll do.
No. She's not talking to me, anyway. She locked herself in the dressing room when I asked her about this . . . this . . . ridiculous photograph.
Does Sam know? Mother. Mother, come on, Mother, open the door.” He pounded, hoping she would say more to him than she would to his sister.
They were discussing her like she was some criminal. She heard the agitation and anxiety in their voices, especially Jessica's. The girl damn near
A world famous violinist with wealth, beauty, two successful children, and a loving fianc
Gabrielle Pina received her M.A. from the University of Southern California. She is a member of the adjunct faculty at Pasadena Community College and lives in Southern California with her two children, Julian and Maia. Bliss is her first novel.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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