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"Framed by Rosalie’s regrets and memories as she nears death, this is a novel of an enthusiastic life lived in controversy. This is a book well set in its era. Historical details are plentiful and interesting, bringing the 1920s and ’30s to vivid life, not only in setting, but also in attitudes. ... (Romano-Lax) creates a story peopled with very human characters who, while they don’t always learn from their mistakes, acknowledge those mistakes and their place in history.
—Historical Novels Review
"Rosalie Rayner was a fascinating woman who unfortunately slipped through the cracks of history, but Andromeda Romano-Lax does her well-deserved justice through this heartfelt and intricate story."
"Behave is an insightful look at women in science, family life, and the cultural mores of the 1920s. Romano-Lax tells Rosalie's story with an authority that evokes empathy, sympathy, and respect for a woman caught at the dawn of a new era and at a crucial stage of her life."
"Of interest to anyone curious about Watson and the history of psychology. Andromeda Romano-Lax does well to place John B. Watson in the context of of the conflict between eugenics and environmentalism, consciousness versus behaviorism, and the rise of advertising and consumer culture. She draws the reader in with details such as the nature of fear-based adcampaigns. She teaches behaviorism and does it well."—Ben Harris, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, University of New Hampshire
“A fabulous novel that brings Rosalie Rayner to life, allowing us to sympathize with someone caught in the whirlwind of her times, as well as John Watson, a man cursed, condemned to forever run from his own emotions. Ms. Romano-Lax’s novel commendably sticks close to the available facts. Behave invites us to explore a lifetime of questions about science, ethics, motherhood, sexual attraction, and love.”
—Hall P. Beck, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology at Appalachian State University and author of Finding Little Albert
"I loved Behave: a rich and nuanced glimpse of the woman (Rosalie Raynor) behind the man (John B. Watson) who founded behaviorism. The ethical issues presented are both shocking & thought-provoking, and the intimate struggles of a woman weighing her value, utility & satisfaction both within and outside the home certainly resonate today. Beautifully written and meticulously researched, this is a novel to be savored and shared. Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to read it early. I can hardly wait to put it into the hands of customers."
—Tova Beiser, Brown University Bookstore, Providence, RI
"This is an interesting and educational look at the beginnings of behaviorism and the unique relationship between the two people who pioneered it. Behave is thought-provoking and certainly promotes reflection on the tenets of child rearing. An enjoyable read!"
—Stephanie Crowe, Page and Palette, Fairhope, AL
"I very much enjoyed reading Romano-Lax's fictionalized account of Rosalie Rayner Watson's life. Romano-Lax offers an empathetic and insightful look into the heart of a complex and conflicted woman as she tries to forge new roles in society, academia, and business as a scholar, wife, scientist, and mother. I found the parallel of Rosalie's internal conflict between tradition and modernity with the fragmented social backdrop of the Roaring 20s to be particularly compelling. Many of the issues that Romano-Lax touches upon in Behave—feminism, research ethics, work-life balance, consumerism—will resonate deeply with modern readers. Fans of biography or history of science, as well as readers who enjoy a novel with strong historical context and deep moral conflict are certain to enjoy in Romano-Lax's newest novel."
—Jennifer Gromada, Labyrinth Books, Princeton, NJ
"With vivid description, Romano-Lax introduces Rosalie Rayner Watson, an intelligent, ambitious woman overshadowed throughout history by her husband, famous psychologist John B. Watson. Behave is engaging from the start and Rosalie is a fascinating at its center. Her life of passions, scandal, and regret will hold you riveted."
—Tarah Jennings, Mitzi’s Books, Rapid City, SD
"Romano-Lax is so skillful at drawing you into the world of the famous behaviorist John Watson and his wife, Rosalie, that you feel like you're watching a slow motion train wreck--horrified by the approaching disaster, but unable to look away. On every page, you're silently screaming at Rosalie, 'Don't open that door!'"
—Laura Keys, A Capella Books, Atlanta, GA
"Rosalie Rayner Watson will alternately grab your heart and make you furious—sometimes in the same chapter. This imagined life of this early twentieth century scientist and her lover, the great psychologist John Watson is a great addition to your historical fiction shelf."
—Valerie Koehler, Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, TX
“The story was fascinating and well-paced; the writing was incredible. The urgency at the intersection between desire and guilt; the struggle between the demands of motherhood and the lure of scholarship; the compulsion to follow societal (and behaviorist) demands warring with the truer instincts of motherhood, all beautifully rendered. Reading this book was like walking in a haze. It is like a combination between Mad Men and The Blind Assassin.” —Rosie Lee, Readers’ Books, Sonoma, CA
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“A romantic and at times poetic trip through Italy’s countryside…. It is a brilliant adventure into differing German and Italian cultures and stances, a philosophical excursion into art and the meaning of art, and a sweet, romantic love story contained within a suspenseful and deadly race to make (or to prevent) the timely delivery of the statue to Germany…. Romano-Lax’s fresh and vivid narrative and her evocative and bright writing style allow her to oscillate easily between the story’s past and present. The mysterious murder plot, the race to get the Discus Thrower across the border, and Vogler’s puzzling transformation make her novel a page-turner. And if that isn’t enough, the sweet and romantic love story keeps readers engaged…. The novel is full of humor, sadness, and occasionally cheerful absurdity, and Romano-Lax provides us with fictional writing in its most elegant form.” -- Pasatiempo
“VERDICT: Elegant, Haunting, Compelling.” -- Courier Mail, Brisbane
“With great care and skill, Romano-Lax teases out the human complexities, exploring the differing values, desires and fears of the various characters while creating, through Vogler’s cautious and evasive voice, an atmosphere of chilling menace and threat.” – Sydney Morning Herald
“A skillful blend of art history and contrasting personalities. A very rewarding read.” – Launceton Examiner, Tasmania
“A marvelous adventure across landscapes both inner and outer, The Detour is a moving study in art and memory, history and geography, courage and compassion and every kind of love. Beautifully executed, deeply felt, and crammed with what feels for all the world like reality itself, it’s a rare and valuable book indeed.”
– Jon Clinch, author of Finn and Kings of the Earth
“As Nazi Germany passes from living memory, novels that allow the reader to travel its ethical landscape are increasingly important. Andromeda Romano-Lax has a fine feel for moments of clarity that are recognized only in hindsight, when chance and personal defects — moral and physical — combine to produce heroism, or mediocrity, or cowardice. A convincing novel, beautifully written.”
– Mary Doria Russell, author of The Sparrow and Doc.
“A poignant and important historical drama, as well as part road trip and compelling adventure, The Detour defies our expectations on every page. Andromeda Romano Lax is a powerful and moving storyteller.” – Jennifer Gilmore, author of Golden Country and Something Red.
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The Spanish Bow
“Passionate, vivid, and engrossing, The Spanish Bow is profoundly human, a poignant history full of life and color.”
—Hamilton Cheifetz, concert cellist and recording artist
“This riveting historical page-turner moves inexorably toward a heartrending crescendo.”
“Andromeda Romano-Lax’s powerful first novel, The Spanish Bow, is an account of Spain during the years of 1890-1940, as experienced by a Catalan child prodigy who goes on to become court musician and then the country’s most celebrated cellist. Epic in scale it is full of richly detailed tableaux of Catalonian peasant life, bohemian Barcelona, the chaos of the Second Republic, and the rise of Francoist fascism…The Spanish Bow…excels as a portrait of a country at a painful moment in its evolution.’ ”
—Times Literary Supplement (London)
“Can art save us from ourselves? In her elegant debut, Romano-Lax ponders this timeless question through the ambitious tale of Feliu Delargo, a gifted cellist born in turn-of-the-century Spain. … From the hypocrisies of the courts of Madrid to the terror of Nazi-occupied Paris, Romano-Lax weaves the upheavals of the first half of the 20th century into an elegy to the simultaneous power and impotency of art, and the contradictions of the human spirit. ”
—Historical Novels Review
“…Vivid and absorbing. … Lively and well-written. … Romano-Lax’s passion for music is tangible but not daunting. The characters are convincing (Delargo and Al-Cerraz are based on historical figures) and by using Feliu’s voice along with her own narration, the author can point up the shortcomings in his self-understanding. She exposes the tension among the characters with masterly subtlety. ”
—The Times (London)
“Andromeda Romano-Lax’s ambitious and atmospheric debut examines 50 years of Spanish history through the eyes of a fictional Catalan cellist, Feliu Delargo; en route she has much to say on the relationship between music and politics. ”
—The Guardian (U.K.)
“(A) vast, inventive novel … It’s a pleasure to read popular fiction that is so interesting and instructive about music. ”
—The Telegraph (U.K.)
“I love the way this sweeping, emotional juggernaut of a novel weaves historical fact with romantic fiction.”
“An inspired portrait of the cello virtuoso’s unique career.”
“Can music transcend politics or must the musician’s only true response to authoritarianism be principled silence? This question is asked throughout Andromeda Romano-Lax’s ambitious debut, The Spanish Bow, a sweeping memoir of a fictional Spanish cellist, Feliu Delargo. His life, from his improverished upbringing in rural Catalonia, via apprenticeships in Barcelona and Madrid, to a glittering career as a European superstar, is the thread that leads us through Spanish political and musical history in the early 20th century.”
—The Observer (U.K.)
One of the top 10 books to look for…
—SPAIN Magazine (U.K.)
“Romano-Lax’s descriptions of music are beautifully rendered and tortured virtuoso Delargo provides plenty of food for thought about the purpose of music. ”
“A well-crafted story of how music can inspire and break down any number of barriers — social, political and class … The colour in this story comes from a heady mix of the rich and famous whose paths cross that of Feliu’s during his musical career right through to the final years of his life in Cuba. Kings and queens, dictators, famous artists and musicians all come into contact with the son of a poor family who leaves an indelible mark on the lives of many because of his skills with the bow. ”
—Western Mail (Wales)
“The book is almost dizzyingly episodic, but bound together by Feliu’s lifelong struggle with the question of the proper relationship between music and politics, a subject Romano-Lax handles with finesse. … A deft, inventive debut.”
“(Feliu Delargo’s) story and struggles to make music are for all of us who have a dream, a passion, yet don’t believe we have (or don’t have) talent and access. … The true lesson of the book is not how one should be an artist but how one can live one’s life. ”
—Anchorage Daily News