Monday, June 02, 2014

Rhapsody on a Theme (Vivaldi in The Dark #3) by Matthew J. Metzger ~ Review and Giveaway


Title: Rhapsody on a Theme

Author: Matthew J. Metzger

Publisher: JMS Books

Released:18th May 2014

Genre: M/M (contemporary)


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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.


Mark’s Review

This third and final book in the Vivaldi in The Dark series is Darren’s own personal trip to hell, through it and back. A fight to battle his depression demons, a way out of an all consuming darkness and back into light.

Jayden has now finished Uni and is working for a local newspaper for their online site. He has now moved in with Darren after buying a house together and gradually the mature adult game of jobs, responsibilities like mortgages to pay, and coping with everyday things should put their lives into a domestic bliss. Well, for all intent and purposes it does, they are happy together in their house and Rachel is lodging with them just to make ends meet, it should be an ideal situation, but looming on the horizon is Darren’s worsening situation with trying to get his depression under control. He has now been through a number of treatments, none have worked and the drugs have only made him even worse at times. Together they seek out a new doctor and are hopeful that he can get Darren sorted out.

For me this book was really about getting Darren sorted out. After admitting to himself he has to get this under control at the end of the previous book he puts himself in the hands of the doctors and therapists. Jayden remains a pillar of strength and understanding, but it does put an unbelievable strain on their relationship. It was gut-wrenching to read how Darren felt. He really does go through hell and and back. The new doctor puts him on new meds, but they only exacerbate the whole illness. My God, the poor lad I could never imagine having to go through this, but the way it is described and written takes the reader with Darren on this hell ride and it left me feeling utterly exhausted, mentally and emotionally.

I so felt for Darren and his anger at the sodding therapist who suggested that he should break up with Jayden and have some time alone, to stop depending on him and try and stand on his own two feet. I was so bloody livid! Didn’t the silly cow realise that after all this time Jayden is the only person in Darren’s world who helps him keep his shit together, sees him through the worst and darkest moments of his depression. The only thing that is really keeping him going. Sorry, for all the expletives but I could have slapped the bloody woman. Lets hope she was a particularly bad therapist, because if it may ever be the case  I need one I’m definitely not going. Thank goodness Darren did not take her advice, stormed out of her office and never went back. This for me was one of many very emotionally charged scenes in this book.

However, there is hope on the horizon and light at the end of the tunnel. Evan, Darren’s best friend, announces his engagement and makes Darren along with Paul his most important people at the wedding. But even more than this Evan asks Darren to play at the wedding. Here we have the crux of the matter, Darren really sees the music as the root of his depression evil and has all but given up on music altogether. The doctor eventually finds the right combination of meds for Darren and ever so slowly the veil of darkness that has been surrounding him gradually starts to lift. He feels that maybe he can play something at the wedding on the piano. I was so delighted to see Darren making progress, his sense of humour that Jayden and we all love starts to return. He also finds his love for music again and with it himself, but not the violin, never the violin. this time it’s the piano. He decides to play Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini. This music in contrast to the music before gives hope, is uplifting and I could feel the joy in Darren rediscovering himself and his music. Also the relief and joy for Jayden that he knows they’re going to make it.

As always, Jayden’s family plays a key role. Darren has a funny relationship with Jayden’s step-dad. He has a no nonsense way of talking to Darren which Jayden doesn’t and although Jayden is always running scared his father will tip Darren over the edge, in actual fact Darren always seems to respond well and actually seems to thrive off the man’s quips and directness. I couldn’t help but smile to myself, Jayden’s step-dad I reckon is a big bear of a man, but with a huge heart to match. Which I reckon will always remain a mystery for Jayden – lol! But maybe it’s exactly that that Daren picks up on. Also Darren's friends Evan and Paul are at his side, supporting and caring for him too. I reckon that Evan new exactly what he was doing in asking Darren to play at his wedding. It was if he was giving Darren a challenge, but at the same time a goal to work towards. Darren’s father makes an appearance and I so wanted to give that man a piece of my mind too. Again, no one needs a father like that, but Darren manages it very well and I felt so pleased for him that he could stand up to him and feel no regret.

When the wedding day arrives, Darren gives a sterling performance in front of a very large audience and could fell Jayden’s chest bursting with pride and love for Darren. Yes, I shed a couple of tears! It was almost very symbolic that maybe they can have hope for the future. Although they’ll never be able to relax completely, but for the moment Darren’s depression demon has been beaten and now they can concentrate on making longer term plans than they have been able to up until now.

This book was a marvellous and very fitting end to a superb trilogy. Ending on a note full of hope for the future and I would like to think that the depression demon is now well under control and a thing of the past.


About The Author


Matthew J. Metzger – or Matt, as he is more generally known – is as much a character as the people in his books. Matt is a 23-year-old perpetual mess currently living in England, one of the bigger chunks of the United Kingdom. He writes on the side of life, given that most of it is devoted to his job (full-time suit wearer),his love of hiking (hills are there to be walked on), and paying the bills (alas, life). He has a generally busy life as an office drone, conman, and speaker of strange things. It is a somewhat satisfying existence.

Matt writes in most genres. His first novel, Our Last Summer, is a coming-of-age LGBT romance set near the hometown and experiences of Matt himself in the south of England. His second, Vivaldi in the Dark, deals with clinical depression, another area in which Matt arguably has a fair amount of experience. His hopeful third, Exosphere, is a science fiction novel about terrorism. Consistency is not a key characteristic of Matt or his author.

Contact The Author

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Reading Order and Purchase Links


1) Vivaldi In The Dark

Mark’s Review





2) The Devil’s Trill Sonata

Mark’s Review





2) Rhapsody on a Theme



Amazon (US) ~ Amazon (UK) ~ Amazon (CA)




We will be giving away one Kindle ebook copy of Rhapsody on a Theme to one lucky winner. Enter the rafflecopter below ~ GOOD LUCK!

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  1. I haven't read any books by Mathew yet. I have added him to my TBR list. Thanks for the giveaway.

  2. I just bought the first two books in the series, but have not read them yet. Would love to win the third one! Thanks for the review and giveaway.

  3. It sounds so intense, and I'm sure the injustice Darren faces with the therapist will upset me, but it does sound nicely done!


  4. I am a bit sad that I have not come across this author before so have not read this series (but I have added it to my Goodreads to be read list). So what a cunning plan it would be that if I was lucky to win this book then I would have to buy the rest before reading it :-D

  5. haven't read this author before...they sound interesting

  6. Haven't read these books yet but they sound great!

  7. I haven't read this series but the series sounds really good.

  8. I haven't read any of these, but they sound intriguing. I guess I'd probably start with the first one, since I'm a "start at the beginning" kind of person. Thanks for the chance to win!

  9. Haven't read them but I have added them to my TBR!

  10. I haven't read any of these but they look great. Thanks.

  11. I own Vivaldi in the Dark, which I haven't gotten to yet, but I'm currently reading his Enough, and it's excellent so far. I'm sure I'll be ready to get into this series after reading it because he has such a wonderful style that's a pleasure to read.

  12. I haven't read any of them but have hears good things about Vivaldi in the dark.

  13. Sounds like a very intense series. I'd love to read it!

  14. Matt is a new to me author and I'm looking forward to reading some of his works. Thanks for the giveaway!
    taina1959 at yahoo dot com

  15. I've not read any of Matt's books yet. I'm still sort of new to this genre. Looking forward to reading and will be adding to my TBR list.

  16. RHAPSODY ON A THEME does sound great.

  17. I haven't read any of them, but this series sounds good.

  18. I have not read any of these yet and I would pick Vivaldi In The Dark.

  19. Never read any but interested in reading this series!!