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“Mitchell James Kaplan [brings] his impressive knowledge of history, composition, and the heart’s whims to bear on this shining rendition of Swift and Gershwin’s star-crossed love.” —Therese Anne Fowler, New York Times bestselling author of Z and A Good Neighborhood
“A lilting, jazzy ballad as catchy as a Gershwin tune…Rhapsody will have you humming, toe-tapping, and singing along with every turn of the page.” —Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of The Alice Network and The Huntress
One evening in 1924, Katharine “Kay” Swift—the restless but loyal society wife of wealthy banker James Warburg and a serious pianist who longs for recognition—attends a concert. The piece: Rhapsody in Blue. The composer: a brilliant, elusive young musical genius named George Gershwin.
Kay is transfixed, helpless to resist the magnetic pull of George’s talent, charm, and swagger. Their ten-year love affair, complicated by her conflicted loyalty to her husband and the twists and turns of her own musical career, ends only with George’s death from a brain tumor at the age of thirty-eight.
Set in Jazz Age New York City, this stunning work of fiction, for fans of The Paris Wife and Loving Frank, explores the timeless bond between two brilliant, strong-willed artists. George Gershwin left behind not just a body of work unmatched in popular musical history, but a woman who loved him with all her heart, knowing all the while that he belonged not to her, but to the world.
About the Author
Mitchell James Kaplan is the award-winning author of the novels By Fire, By Water and Into the Unbounded Night. A graduate of Yale, he has lived in Paris and Los Angeles, and currently lives with his family in Roanoke, Virginia.
“Kaplan (By Fire, by Water) builds an enchanting world featuring musical giants George Gershwin and Kay Swift... This spellbinding and luminous tale will linger in readers’ minds long after the final page is turned.”
— Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Mitchell James Kaplan pens a lilting, jazzy ballad as catchy as a Gershwin tune, bringing to vibrant life the complicated relationship between classically trained composer Kay Swift and free-wheeling star George Gershwin. Their musical bond is as powerful as their passion, and jazz-soaked gin-drenched Broadway is their playground through the tumultuous years of the Great War and Prohibition. Rhapsody will have you humming, toe-tapping, and singing along with every turn of the page."
— Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of THE ALICE NETWORK and THE HUNTRESS
"We all know Gershwin, but how many know he was 'the man behind the woman," the conflicted, extraordinary Katherine 'Kay' Swift? Mitchell James Kaplan illuminates her in Rhapsody, bringing his impressive knowledge of history, composition, and the heart’s whims to bear on this shining rendition of Swift and Gershwin’s star-crossed love."
— Therese Anne Fowler, New York Times bestselling author of Z and A GOOD NEIGHBORHOOD
“In Rhapsody, Mitchell James Kaplan brings to lyrical life the romance between Kay Swift and George Gershwin. A gifted musician in her own right, Kay was no mere accompanist to Gershwin’s genius; she was a true partner, unfortunately little remembered today. Kaplan’s vivid prose and empathetic characterization shines a spotlight on this remarkable woman who contributed so much to American music.”
— Melanie Benjamin, New York Times bestselling author of The Swans of Fifth Avenue and Mistress of the Ritz
"Kaplan’s sweeping novel, spanning the years 1917 to 1937, portrays the life of Kay Swift, one of Broadway’s first female composers, extracting her from the shadow of her colleague and lover, George Gershwin…Kaplan’s propulsive style imparts a momentum of its own…interesting and important.”
— Kirkus Reviews
“Mitchell James Kaplan’s Rhapsody shines a blazing light on the celebrated George Gershwin, uncovering the man behind the legend through the story of the woman he loved, Kay Swift, a brilliant musician caught in the swiftly moving mores of New York’s Jazz Age. Rich with history and packed with intricate detail, Rhapsody soars.”
— Randy Susan Meyers, bestselling author of THE WIDOW OF WALL STREET and WAISTED
“Mitchell James Kaplan has captured a whole world in his luminous journey through the jazz age in fast-paced New York City with this love story of composer Kay Swift and the brilliant but elusive George Gershwin. Kay first heard him playing his Rhapsody in Blue, but she was married to a wealthy man and Gershwin could be faithful only to his own genius. Through Broadway theaters and concerts, he was rising so fast that neither the Great Depression, nor the darkening rise of Hitler across the sea, nor the impossible difficulties of writing the first black folk-opera Porgy and Bess could stop him. Through their love affair, Gershwin and Kay gave fire to each other’s music until nothing could derail his meteoric success but time."
— Stephanie Cowell, American Book Award-winning author of Claude and Camille and The Physician of London
“Kaplan delicately stitches together the notes of Gershwin and Swift’s nontraditional love song with the constant, glamorous hum of the Roaring Twenties playing in the background. Snappy dialogue and lush prose bring the Jazz Age to life as Kaplan takes readers from Harlem rent parties to the stage lights of Broadway... A sumptuous fictional account of a complex real-life romance, this book will stick in readers' heads like the melody of a favorite ballad.”
"Complex and absorbing... [Kaplan] captures the magic in the music."
— Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
"[A] saga of two star-crossed lovers at the very birth of the Jazz Age ... Rhapsody does it all. The novel flows as lyrically through Kaplan’s prose as the wail of the saxophones and crescendos of Gershwin’s keyboards."