Facing the Music (by Mary Sheepshanks)

Mary Sheepshanks is one of those authors I came across by accident, picking up one of her books in a second-hand shop, and thinking the blurb looked interesting.

I was so impressed I have got hold of her other books - not very many, sadly - and have just discovered that she also writes under the name of Mary Nickson.

'Facing the Music' is a delightful book. Flavia, a brilliant flute player, collapses in an important concert, much to the horror of her boyfriend Antoine, who is the conductor. He's not so much concerned for her health, however, as for his reputation. He drops her, and - on the rebound - she decides to go and work at a boys' school. Moreover, she accepts a marriage proposal from Gervaise, the Head.

Unfortunately they are not at all suited, and she falls in love with the father of one of the school students. Crisis occurs when someone runs away...

Fast-moving and very well-written with lovable and believable characters. I felt that Gervaise got rather a raw deal, unfairly, but other than that I thoroughly enjoyed the book.

Definitely recommended, if you can find it. Unfortunately it's out of print in both UK and USA.

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