Why I read it: I’m a huge fan of the trilogy and I couldn’t wait to read the final chapter of Jayden and Darren’s story. You can read my reviews for book 1, Vivaldi in the Dark HERE, and book 2, The Devil’s Thrill Sonata, HERE.
Sequel to The Devil’s Trill Sonata
Although their relationship has been repaired since the disaster that was Cambridge, Darren has not. His depression has worsened over the years until it is no longer an option to watch the illness play out its patterns. Treatment is a must.
Treatment is also a difficult disaster. When the second attempt at medication goes as badly wrong as the first, and Darren is forced through a rapid deterioration of mood swings, insomnia, nausea and increasingly dangerous thought patterns, his partner Jayden begins to fear that the only end to this disease will also be the end of Darren himself.
Apart from a single glimmer of hope: when Darren’s best friend asks Darren to play at his wedding, Darren begins to slowly return to the half-forgotten piano. As he slowly sinks back into the music that he deserted seven years earlier, the shadows — finally — begin to fade.
Published May 18th 2014 by JMS Books LLC
Rhapsody on a Theme is the third and final book in the Vivaldi in the Dark trilogy. It’s set 3 years after The Devil’s Thrill Sonata ended, and the boys are all grown-up now. Darren’s career as a crime scene investigator is taking off, and Jayden has found a job in the local newspaper after graduating from Bristol University. They live together, sharing the mortgage and the bills, and they’ve both out-grown the misconception that high-school love doesn’t last.
“Suddenly ‘boyfriend’ didn’t seem enough to describe Darren anymore. Suddenly, the idea that he’d had in sixth form, that they’d split up in uni, seemed downright stupid. They weren’t going to go their separate ways. They weren’t going to split up. Darren… Darren was forever.”
Life is somewhat normal. At least on the outside.
Darren is still battling his depression. It has changed ever since he was a teenager, but it’s still there – an ever-present shadow in their otherwise perfect life.
Darren goes through several kinds of treatments over the years, and keeps trying to find the right way to deal with the depression in this book. His reaction to the medication he gets prescribed is gruesome. More heart felt like it was being squeezed with an iron band the whole time. I’ve grown so attached to both of those boys that it physically hurt to read what they both have to go through.
Jayden redeemed himself in this book. I was so mad at him in The Devil’s Thrill Sonata, but he’s grown so much to become a wonderful young man. I know it in my heart that Darren wouldn’t have been able to deal with… everything, if it wasn’t for Jayden. And, thankfully, Darren knows it too.
“I’m alive because of you,” Darren said flatly, and Jayden’s heart clenched painfully in his chest. (…) “I’m still here because of you. And I couldn’t have done any of this, this shit with the drugs, the Prozac, if it weren’t for you. (…) I’m not giving up my good days with you, for anything. It’s not a good trade.”
Darren is much more affectionate in this book, much more open, in his own way. He is secure in his relationship with Jayden, unlike in the previous books, and even though he goes through hell and back, he manages to open up to the person who loves him most.
“I love you, and that’s what gets me through this. Knowing you’re with me and you love me even when I’m bashing my head against the wall. That you care. And I don’t say it enough because I’m a total man about this stuff, but I love you.”
And Jayden… sweet, loving, strong Jayden! He’s incredible, one of my favourite fictional characters of all time. He loves with all his heart and he’s not afraid to show it. He’s been himself throughout his life, even when he was bullied in school for it. He did have a lapse in judgement in the previous book, as I mentioned, but which 19 year-old hasn’t? The important thing is that he’s realised his mistakes and done more than enough to make up for them.
“You’re it,” Jayden said finally. “You’re it for me. There’s never going to be anyone else like you. I’m done. This is it, this, right here with you, this is the rest of my life and I’m more than OK with it. I love this part of my life, even if it’s not perfect, and I love you…”
Rhapsody on a Theme is the perfect ending to this amazing trilogy. The writing is flawless, as usual, and even though it is so hard to read sometimes, it’s a book full of hope. There are sweet moments, funny moment, moments that make your heart clench in sympathy for the boys, and even some hot sex. Yep, as the boys have grown, so has the maturity of the book. The sex scenes are not explicit, but they’re there, and they’re incredible.
I cannot recommend this book enough for all the fans of Vivaldi in the Dark. And if you haven’t read the trilogy yet, do it. I promise you’ll return to it again and again in the future.
Where to buy: JMS Books, Amazon