Classical pianist Renata DiMonte has abandoned a career with the symphony to entertain in the elegant Piano Bar and Lounge of the Claremont Arms, one of New York City’s premier luxury hotels. Haunted by guilt following her mother’s death, Renata finds solace in the music she has always longed to play, bonding closely with her audience for the first time.
However, five-star service is not all the Claremont Arms has to offer. There are rumors of paranormal phenomena-rumors that Renata ignores until she begins to have experiences she can’t explain. Patrons she has never met will request songs, and without warning, their life stories reveal themselves to her, open books of pain and joy.
Nothing frightening has happened-yet-but nothing about this is remotely normal, either. Are Renata’s strange experiences simply flukes, products of an overactive imagination? Does the beautiful concert grand piano she plays possess supernatural qualities? Or is there magic in the music itself?
Is it possible to settle in with a great read that offers glamour, romance, and endearing characters surrounded by an aura of music and magic? It is if you have a copy of Michaele Lockhart’s Last Night at the Claremont. Within two pages, I was a friend of Renata Dimonte, the lovely classically trained musician as the reader joins her on her journey of self-discovery. The music references throughout the book captivated me. Renata’s story is woven amongst that of the other characters who frequent the elegant and tasteful Claremont Hotel in New York City. Renata learns their stories against the backdrop of her own talented piano performances and believable psychic experiences, which will lure you with their magic. Lockhart’s sensory and sensual descriptions, character development, and above all authentic story telling voice make this a book to keep on your shelf for reading again and again.
~ Ethel Lee-Miller, author of Thinking of Miller Place: A Memoir of Summer Comfort
Michaele Lockhart’s virtuoso fingers flow eloquently over the keyboard as she “scores” her memorable character, Renata DiMonte, pianist extraordinaire. Her narrative takes form like a classical piece of music—from a prelude of description, building through melodies of life encounters, finally to the soft harmonics of memories cherished and the rhythm of human relationships.
Lockhart treats her readers, as does her character, with unique kindness and polite respect. Finishing her book I felt stories reverberate as long as possible only to become my memories as well. Bravissimo!
~ Nicole Sorkin, Managing Book Review Editor, Pacific Book Review
Last Night at the Claremont explores the mystical filter through which a musician might view experience, almost a clairvoyance. The story affirms the power of music to lead to love and to meaning. The ending is sure to make the reader wonder at possible ways of knowing not yet understood by scientists or philosophers.
~ Toby Fesler Heathcotte, author of Out of the Psychic Closet, and The Alma Chronicles
In this charming mix of fairy tale, allegory, and personal discovery, where each chapter is cleverly overlaid with the ambiance of contemporary music, Lockhart has produced a quite modern-day and mature love story.
~ Robert Hammond, author and playwright, author of The Nursery, Where Were We?, and Don’t Call Me Ishmael