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The Education of Delhomme

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  60 ratings  ·  29 reviews
Frédéric Chopin’s piano tuner, hungry for money, is lured into a royal spy ring but later condemned for treason by Napoleon III during the 1848 Paris Uprising. His one-time competition for Chopin’s affections, George Sand, might be his only hope.

Filled with real historical characters and events, The Education of Delhomme is a captivating tale of struggle and hope amidst th
290 pages
Published November 17th 2020 by Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA)
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Oct 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Desperate times called for desperate measures. Beaulieu Delhomme, Chopin's piano tuner was jailed in the Conciergerie, accused of treason. Delhomme had accepted a nefarious job. Hired by Eugene Francois Vidocq, a spy-master for King Louis Philippe, Delhomme would be handsomely paid to help protect the French Monarchy by rubbing elbows with the elite and listening to their conversations. His first assignment: become Frederick Chopin's piano tuner.

Delhomme's first person narration describes his la
Jul 13, 2020 rated it liked it
At twenty years old, Delhomme is still living with his parents. He is bored with his clerical work, his father, who is a doctor, wants him to follow his profession, but Delhomme dreams about music. He leaves the house for the city of Paris gladly, but not so much for studying anatomy. His father’s sudden death puts the family in dire situation. He needs money and quickly. He gets apprenticed as a piano tuner. Next, he is pulled into becoming a spy for the king, but he needs to get a job of piano ...more
Blaine DeSantis
Aug 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
BIg shoutout to NetGalley and History through Fiction for this wonderful book. Part history, part spy, part music, this is a great and fast read as we follow the life of Beaulieu Delhomme who begins his adult life going to medical school and after failing rather miserably ends up becoming a piano tuner, and eventually the personal piano tuner for Chopin. Filled with a multitude of historical figures and historical accuracy, we meet many in the art world in 1840's France including George Sand, Li ...more
Laura Tenfingers
The Education of Delhomme takes place in France around 1830-1850 and is told from the point of view of Chopin's piano tuner and George Sand, famous writer and Chopin's partner during part of this time.

I enjoyed how the story covers a broad range of interesting topics: from Chopin, piano tuning, piano playing and piano building, to rioting in the streets, the origins of the Sûreté, worker's (lack of) rights and the political changes in France during this time... it was all well woven together and
Elizabeth Dragina
Dec 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: on-my-shelf
"Paris was where I became a man, but Marainville is where I will live as one.”

I have to say I’m impressed.

Out of the many indie published books in the world less than half are of good quality. And even fewer of that number are actually something I enjoy reading.

While I wasn’t enthusiastic about the book in general, it did interest me. The historical genre is one I’m willing to tolerate 😂😅 (because I’d prefer to be reading fantasy).

About thirty times out of a hundred I actually enjoy histori
Andrea Stoeckel
Nov 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
"Like the quartz I found by the river,I experienced my own turbulent transformation. But that education has forged my soul into a beautiful piece of quartz."

Beaulieu Delhomme,son of a rural country doctor was bullied into Medical School,a place he soon knew wasn't for him. It took his father's death before he began his apprenticeship as a piano tuner, learning how changeable the world is and how compromise makes everything better.

In the middle of the attempted revolution from the French Monarchy
May 09, 2021 rated it really liked it
Beaulieu Delhomme has found himself in a desperate situation.  After failing out of medical school and Conservatory, Delhomme finds some luck as a piano tuner.  However, in order to advance his career, Delhomme needs a more consistent income.  His prayers seem to be answered when Delhomme is approached by François Vidocq, who asks Delhomme to spy on some of Paris' elite to gauge their feelings towards the Monarchy.  To do this, Delhomme must first become the piano tuner for Frédéric Chopin.  As ...more
Nov 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Nancy Burkhalter has written a very unusual historical novel, the story of Frederic Chopin's piano tuner, Delhomme. Delhomme is not a sympathetic character. In an era when most offspring have long left the family nest to strike out on their own, Delhomme is still at home, unhappily working as a stock person for a neighbourhood grocer. His father wanted Delhomme to follow in his shoes and become a doctor. However, Delhomme has a problem. He can not stand the sight of blood. After entering music s ...more
Kimberly-Dawn Quinn
Nov 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful Debut historical fiction with a thrilling edge, It's been a long time since I've read a heady HistFic book set in France. I found this one divine probably because of how much time I've daydreamed about being able to sit in one of George Sand's Salons. We meet famous musician's including Chopin who would go onto become Sand's lover. There is espionage (a king's spy), treason and how important a a very good piano tuner is to a fabulous Salon if you plan on having Chopin, Mendelsohn and L ...more
Ravenclaw Library Books
I have read many historical fictions but never many about Chopin and I loved the fact that the main character is both Chopin's piano turner and a spy for the King.

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in historical fiction and have already put this on my books to buy list for 2021.
Sep 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing

I love a novel that mashes up many of my literary interests, and The Education of Delhomme by Nancy Burkhalter checks several boxes. With its historical fiction foundation, Burkhalter weaves a tale that is part espionage, has a pinch of romance, a healthy dose of coming of age, a loveable bumbling bloke, and a petty rivalry worthy of a Real Housewives franchise. It’s a delicious and educational read.

After a miserable but hilarious go at medical school, Beaulieu Delhomme finds his future as the p
Aug 22, 2020 rated it liked it
I have a weak for books set in the nineteenth century, so when I saw one on Netgalley set in Paris following some very interesting people, and spies (!!!) I Had to request it. And I am happy I did.

Because I did enjoy this read, although it also lacked in some parts for me. We follow Delhomme over quite a long period of time, as he enters medical school, drops out and becomes a piano tuner. He is approached by Vidocq to become a spy and convince Chopin to take him on as his tuner. So begins a gre
Jul 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful story about Chopin and many of the other Classical music greats. Liked the interconnectivity of history with the lives of these famous musicians, observed through the eyes of the piano tuner. Really enjoyed this book while listening to Chopin's music as well as some of the others. Character development was so very good and the Profiles of the major characters at the end of the book was a nice surprise (I read this book on my tablet)! Music, Spies, History, a MUST read! ...more
Hayley (Backpacking Bookworm)
Taking an iconic historical era and adding a fictional spin.

The premise of this book instantly excited me; I love historical fiction novels and I love to learn something new. The notion of having a main character whose job is to tune Chopin's piano fascinated me and I was eager to find out more.

My political and historical knowledge was limited and I do think that would have helped me connect with the novel more. That said, the author maintained a flowing writing style that made it easy to follow
Nov 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Education of Delhomme is the first book I have read by Nancy Burkhalter and it definitely will not be the last. I was captivated reading this tale right from the start and continued to be until I read the last page. I enjoyed the rich historical details. The author obviously did thorough research to write this book. It has a lot that I love to read: suspense, romance, history, and beautiful settings. I thought it was a great read.

The Education of Delhomme is getting a very well deserved five
Kathleen Herb
Oct 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was a fascinating book that centered around Chopin’s piano tuner. It deals with real history, such as Berlioz and Delhomme meeting in medical school. He becomes Chopin’s piano tuner, as the detective Vidocq wants him to spy on George Sand, Chopin’s lover, and Delhomme is poor, and decides to do it because he is desperate for money. What follows is a trip through the lives of Chopin and Sand, as well as insight into 19th century France. The characters are well drawn and sympathetic, and the ...more
Debra Borchert
Oct 27, 2022 rated it really liked it
Intimate way of getting to know Chopin!

A unique and intimate way of getting to know Chopin through his piano tuner. Burkhalter, a piano tuner herself, has written a fascinating story about the friendship between the two men and the trials of living in difficult times. Brava!
VERDICT: Beautifully crafted, this historical novel takes you in the heart of Paris life in the 1840s. Music and misery, art and hardship, beauty and danger. A must for all lovers of music or French history.

You may be familiar with the French Revolution and the 1830s uprising, so well described in Les Misérables, but have you read any book set about fifteen years later?
The Education of Delhomme does an amazing job at recreating the context of the period, as for social movements, the political li
Jun 30, 2020 rated it liked it
Chopin flutters arpeggios as I sip a cappuccino and munch on a passion fruit beignet. Book in hand I begin the journey of reading 'The Education of Delhomme'. Unlike Chopin's smooth and relaxing music in the background, I found reading this book an arduous task. I was disappointed not to enjoy it, because the topic is so new and fascinating. Chopin's piano tuner? Spy? Treason? Paris in 1848? Sounds like a recipe for success, right?

While I did not whole-heartedly love this book, there were many g
Darlene Golbitz
Aug 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Courtesy of BookclubCookbook and #GalleyMatch, I received an ARC of this debut novel, published by History Through Fiction. I was enthralled by this well written story of Chopin, George Sand, and the French Revolution. Other than the narrator Delhomme, the historical characters are accurate. I learned so much about pianos, tuning, Chopin's techniques and philosophy, and the nuances of the French government in the 1800's. I augmented my reading by listening to the works of Chopin mentioned in the ...more
Rose Auburn
Oct 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Beaulieu Delhomme is a rudderless young man when we first met him in The Education of Delhomme, set in mid-19th century France. By chance, he becomes a piano tuner and captures the attention of Frederic Chopin. He is quickly assimilated into Chopin’s inner circle run by his lover, the female writer, George Sand, whom Delhomme detests. Unbeknownst to Chopin, Delhomme has been recruited to spy on George Sand for the French Monarchy. However, as socio-political unrest begins to overtake Paris, Delh ...more
Dec 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was such a wonderful, informative look at a period of history with which I was not very familiar, despite taking French all through high school and into college. The author takes such a unique approach in exploring the persona of Chopin through the eyes of his piano tuner, Beaulieu Delhomme, who is somehow a sympathetic character and dear friend to Chopin despite Delhomme's serving as a spy tasked with reporting Chopin's and partner George Sand's comings and goings. Vidocq, the person who o ...more
Oct 28, 2020 rated it it was ok

The Education of Delhomme: Chopin, Sand and La France by Nancy Burkhalter
Delhomme as narrator connects the reader to the many famous historical characters populating this novel such as Berlioz, Liszt, Delacroix. Excellent profiles in the back. Perhaps her Masters in Journalism makes her writing pedantic. Show don’t tell is the cardinal rule of fiction yet as Chopin’s piano tuner Delhomme tells us about Chopin. Portions read more like a history text. Sand’s point of view, conveyed through journ
Jun 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
There is so much historic fiction set in France during the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars but this is a unique book in that it is sent slightly later. At a time when France was still tumultuous, a young provincial man, Beaulieu Delhomme, moves to Paris. After getting kicked out of two schools, he finds his place as an apprentice piano tuner. With little money and no family left, he is pulled in to a life of spying. As part of his spy mission he is sent to befriend Chopin and become Ch ...more
Reena G
Dec 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Being a fan of historical fiction I absolutely enjoyed this beautiful and exquisitely written book. It has been set during the French Revolution and the time when the music maestro Chopin lived. The author has done detailed research to tell about the life of Chopin and his works through the eyes of his piano tuner Bealieu Delhomme who is is fictional character. I loved the character of Beaulieu who became a dear friend of Chopin and stood by him till his last days. I came out much educated learn ...more
#AD: gifted product

The publishers reached out to me to let me know about this upcoming release, which I then received via NetGalley. Thank you to the publishers and NetGalley for providing me with a copy for review purposes.

Full review on my blog.

The Education of Delhomme is heavily based in real history, with actual events and people cropping up throughout the narrative. The protagonist and his character arc, however, are fictional, which I admit did disappoint me somewhat. Almost all of the ot
Sep 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a debut historical fiction novel by Nancy Burkhalter. It is about a young man who becomes the piano tuner for Chopin. I learned how a piano tuned and it takes a lot of talent. I did find the main character to be very egocentric however there was enough other story to make the book readable. This book was supplied to our book club by the group Book Club and we thank them. Listening to Chopin while reading the book was nice a nice background to the story.
Alyssa Adkins
Sep 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
The Education of Delhomme is my type of historical fiction – in-depth information on a niche subject with historical research dripping through the pages. It also utilized one of my preferred forms of historical fiction, the narrator being a character just off to the side of the spotlight. As the summary explains the novel is told from the point of view of Chopin’s piano tuner, Beaulieu Delhomme.

I’m not sure if it was done on purpose or not, but Delhomme ended up being a rather startling example
L. Toh
Nov 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
In The Education of Delhomme Chopin, Sand & La France, its author, Nancy Burkhalter has chosen a piano tuner to be the central character of the historical fiction about Frédéric Chopin, George Sand and 19th century France.

The historical fiction by Nancy Burkhalter is imaginative and well crafted. The fiction is narrated in the piano tuner’s voice and also George Sand’s voice through her diary . Ms Burkhalter cleverly weaves the story between the two narrations and tells the story about how a pi
Julien Defferrard
rated it really liked it
Feb 06, 2022
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