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When I first learned that Pam Godwin was going to write a student/teacher romance, I was over the moon. It immediately made its way to the top position on my TBR list. Being a huge fan of her previous books, I knew that she would be able to put her own dark spin on it to make it stand out amongst the other books in the genre. I was neither wrong, nor disappointed. This is not merely the tale of two lovers who are forbidden to be together due to their ages and roles in society, this is the story of two people who despite their ages and roles in society do deserve to be together.
Ivory Westbrook wasn’t born of privilege or circumstance. She is a girl who had a dream to be something in the world, to be a musician- a pianist, who would make her father proud and would melt the hearts of her adoring audience. Life hasn’t been kind to Ivory. Dealing with the loss of the one person in her life who understood her and knew her talent, motivation, and capability to succeed in the highly competitive world of music hasn’t been easy on her.
I loved Ivory from the first moment I stepped inside of her thoughts. She was an intelligent girl, a girl who could have the whole world at her doorstep if she was just given the opportunity. With her bright smile and her confident demeanor, she owned every room that she entered – despite her less than polished appearance. She was pure talent and enthusiasm. She was someone who earned her way in life by merit and talent, not by the lineage by which she was born.
Ivory did the best with what she had. She did what she had to in order to survive in her impoverished community. While some would criticize her for her means of survival, she did what she had to do, not only for herself, but for the family who had turned their backs on her four years ago. The ordeals that Ivory had to endure were truly gut-wrenching and horrific. My heart broke repeatedly for her.
Ivory had one goal in life. She was going to graduate from Le Moyne and attend Leopold, the top music college in the United States. She knew in her heart that she had the talent and the potential, she just needed to successfully obtain her high school diploma without any misconduct tarnishing her records.
All of her hard work was paying off, until she met her new music teacher and mentor, Emeric Marceaux. While he was brought onto the payroll of Le Moyne with one goal in mind, his goals became blurred as he became acquainted with his new prodigy, Ivory Westbrook.
Sweet mother of all things sinful…the connection and attraction that they had was scorching. Emeric was well aware that getting involved with one of his students would end his career, but his desire for her overpowered his judgement.
Emeric’s demeanor was confident, self-assured, and in complete control. He was a commanding force in his classroom as well as his bedroom. But with Ivory’s painful history with sexual experiences, Emeric was walking a fine line between what he could offer her and what would be too much for her. Emeric walked that fine line like a master tightrope walker, giving her just what she needed, while playing her body like the finest instrument.
While Emeric was a dominant character, what I really enjoyed was seeing the softer side of him. His softer, caring, protective side shone through as much as his commanding side. This only made me like him that much more. As a reader, I never doubted his intentions or his true feelings for Ivory. It was evident that he was more than willing to do whatever was necessary to protect her and ensure her happiness. Emeric may have had his own flaws and secrets, but he was everything that Ivory needed - he was her knight in slightly tarnished armor.
Dark Notes provided the perfect balance of emotions. With all of the darker elements that this book had, it was equally as touching. I felt all of the emotions right along with the characters; I felt their chemistry, their pain, I fell in love, and experienced the thrill of their illicit romance. I was completely invested in the characters and the story from beginning to end. It was everything that I could’ve hope for and so much more.