“Ethan never expected to meet the love of his life on a trolley near an artistic waste incinerator in Vienna, Austria, but that’s what happened. Flat broke, finishing up a Master’s thesis at the University of Music and Performing Arts, he is forced to play his guitar to earn enough money to live on until he returns to the States. After listening to one of his impromptu concerts, Anna leaves a note instead of a tip between the strings of his guitar, and Ethan discovers that love, not Brahms, is the sweetest music. On their wedding day, along with “love, honor, and cherish,” Ethan promises to write a song especially for her.
Neither of them are quite prepared for the music to stop and the nails on the chalkboard to commence when life suddenly intrudes on their idyllic world. As heartache, tragedy, and increased pressure at work begin to erode the feelings that used to come so easily, Ethan questions everything that once seemed unshakable–his faith, his priorities, and his marriage.
When a final, unthinkable calamity happens, Ethan is devastated. Is it too late to finish the love song he began for his wife on their wedding day? In this tale of loss and heartbreak, love and forgiveness, Ethan is about to discover that the final note has yet to be written.“
Well, that was a bit wordy, wasn’t it?
The reason I picked up The Final Note was because of author goodwill from Sweet Misfortune. It’s been a while, but I remember liking the book enough–and, well, this one seemed likeable enough too. And it was. It just wasn’t as special as I thought it would be. Unlike the first book I’ve read off author Kevin Alan Milne, The Final Note seemed to be aiming for more drama. It had drama. But at the end of it all, it felt like a sweetened version of a Nicholas Sparks novel.
That’s not a bad thing for a book to be, especially since I know a lot of people who are fans of Nicholas Sparks’ novels. I used to be one of them, actually. But, after a while it does get tiring. Boy meets girl. They fall in love. Something bad happens to one or both. Life threatens to tear them apart. And then they patch it up. In a lot of the novels by Sparks, the ending is bittersweet. I was expecting the same from this particular Milne book, especially with the build up that The Final Note gives us throughout the story. So when the book gives us an ending on a silver platter, with a nice little bow on top, it feels like a cop out. It sets you up for a life lesson, which comes up short because your characters still get the ending they want–not the one they need.
Of course, I’m not the author, so who am I to say what the characters need or want? But I’m just giving my reaction here. And my reaction is that I feel the ending ruins the book for me. I feel that if the “Postlude” is taken out, the book comes out stronger. And then I’d say it’s one of the most heart-wrenching books I’ve ever read, and it might lead me to read more Kevin Alan Milne books. But it’s there. And I have read it. And, I guess, I’m wondering whose decision it was to put it there.
It’s still a solid book, don’t get me wrong. It just– For me, it doesn’t hold up its promise.