An Unexpected Song is a modern adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, featuring a different sort of Darcy—one who frequently wears white tie and tails, who has long, sensitive fingers and a touch of artistic temperament, and who knows the difference between Schubert and Schumann.

An internationally-renowned concert pianist, William Darcy meets Elizabeth Bennet, singer and music teacher, at the wedding of her sister Jane to William's best friend, Charles Bingley. The story moves between New York and San Francisco as William and Elizabeth overcome obstacles rooted in the past while growing closer together, bonded by their love for music—and for each other.

A few aspects of William’s career are loosely based on the career of Van Cliburn, a pianist who achieved an unprecedented level of popularity for a classical musician. He won the first International Tchaikovsky Competition, a prestigious piano competition in the (then) Soviet Union, in 1958 at the height of the Cold War. Cliburn is the only classical musician ever to be honored by a tickertape parade in New York City. His recording ot Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 (which he performed during the competition) was the first classical recording to go platinum. He filled concert halls and—like AUS's William Darcy—attracted his share of female admirers, with fans lined up outside his dressing room seeking autographs after concerts. In the late 1970s, he largely retired from the concert circuit and returned to Texas. Although he died in 2013, the Cliburn Foundation continues to host competitions and other activities to assist young pianists. To learn more about Van Cliburn, visit the Cliburn Foundation web site or his Wikipedia page, or watch his 2001 Kennedy Center Honors presentation on Youtube (his section starts at 2:45).

About the author

Rika Hopewell is a college professor, former information technology professional, and amateur singer/pianist living in the southeastern United States. This is her first experience with fiction writing.

Rika loves music of all kinds and also loves to travel. She still regrets that her mother wouldn't let her wait in line to get Van Cliburn's autograph after a concert in Washington, DC, when she was a ten-year-old piano student.

grand piano