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3.73  ·  Rating details ·  631 ratings  ·  237 reviews
One evening in 1924, Katharine “Kay” Swift—the restless but loyal society wife of wealthy banker James Warburg and a serious pianist who longs for recognition—attends a concert. The piece: Rhapsody in Blue. The composer: a brilliant, elusive young musical genius named George Gershwin.

Kay is transfixed, helpless to resist the magnetic pull of George’s talent, charm, and sw
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published March 2nd 2021 by Gallery Books
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Average rating 3.73  · 
Rating details
 ·  631 ratings  ·  237 reviews

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Feb 18, 2021 rated it liked it
Rhapsody by Mitchell James Kaplan

I never knew much about musical genius George Gershwin but now I know he was a womanizer with a talented mistress that loved him. The mistress was Katharine Swift, the society wife of wealthy banker James Warburg and a serious pianist and a talented composer of popular and classical music. Early in their marriage, Kay realized that her husband was a philanderer and he told her that it's his nature to philander and that she is free to do so herself. Kay didn't joi
Angela M (On a little break)
Feb 19, 2021 rated it really liked it

3.5 stars rounded up.

I was lured into this book by the title, by the setting in historic New York City and the time, the Jazz age . Taking the reader to that place and time is the strength of the novel and that’s what captivated me throughout . I didn’t know a thing about Katharine Faulkner Swift, called Kay by her lover George Gershwin. She was a pianist, a composer in her own right and was married to a very rich banker. While I knew of George Gershwin’s musical talent and fame and even love li
1920s New York City is blazing with jazz and one of the rising stars George Gershwin is blending classical music with jazz. A musician endowed with “the most brilliant, most enchanting and perhaps the most profound talent.” On the other end of spectrum, there is a classically trained composer – Katherine “Kay” Swift. This story brings two legends and their musical influences on each other.

NYC, 1924. Katherine is not convinced of old musical pieces being presented in a new style. But Paul Whitema
Feb 25, 2021 rated it it was amazing
"There's been another man that I've needed and I've loved
But that doesn't mean I love you less
And he knows he can't possess me and he knows he never will
There's just this empty place inside of me that only he can fill"

-Torn Between Two Lovers" written by Peter Yarrow (of Peter, Paul & Mary) and Phil Jarrel

Katharine "Kay" Swift was a classically trained pianist who had studied at Juilliard. "People associated classical music with aristocratic taste...the newly rich and the newly almost rich, who
Chris  C - A Midlife Wife
Feb 12, 2021 rated it really liked it
Interesting and unique look at the life of George Gershwin and Kay Swift as they impact Broadway and music world. Kay’s dedication and love for him cost her greatly. 3.5 STARS
This book is not what I was expecting at all but it is one that grabbed my interest and kept me engaged. This is a story of love – a love of music and what your passions can do to you and for you.

The first part of this story is humorous and fun. I loved Katharine and Jimmy with their light-hearted, wise ban
Lillian Abensohn
Sep 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Want to be transported to the Twenties? This book is a time-capsule: while reading I was there, vibrating with all the rhythm, electricity, energy of the era--and aware of the deprivation in its midst. Rhapsody showed me how a gifted and determined woman could succeed in a male-dominant culture, fully aware of the ironies in that success. Kay's rise involves a struggle between her emotional and her musical desires; and her emotional desires are themselves torn between two men: her husband--socia ...more
Oct 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a beautifully written fictional story of the ten year affair between George Gershwin and fellow pianist/composer, Kay Swift (which took place between 1925 and 1937). I loved it so much! The background and setting of the jazz age along with a supporting cast of rich and famous wonderfully described characters, made this novel one of my very favorites of 2020. While reading this book, I had my Alexa play Gershwin as the perfect mood music to further deepen my appreciation of the book.

My thank
Feb 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Much of this book was written for a piano aficionado, but no matter because those parts help to develop the story’s mood of “pensive longing.” 1924, Katherine Swift was married to James Warburg, a scion of the Warburg banking Dynasty. He is Jewish, mostly unacknowledged. She, of another faith, is a classically trained pianist. He is a banker of course, but also a poet of sorts. They move in a rarefied social circle of classical musicians, financiers and politicians. She doesn’t care for popular ...more
Amy Bruno
Prepare to be transported back in time to the musical world of 1920's New York City with Mitchell James Kaplan's new novel, Rhapsody!

Rhapsody tells the story of the famous composer, George Gershwin, and the much lesser-known but just as talented, Kay Swift.

Kay had put her musical dreams aside after marrying but when she hears Gershwin play Rhapsody in Blue at a concert she is entranced and not only is she drawn to his music, but the man himself. Kay is a multi-faceted woman that you will someti
Kate Bolonnikova
Jan 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Extremely close to historical facts (for the genre), the book offers an intimate perspective on the lives of both Gershwin and Kay Swift — a pioneering composer in her own right. In painting the euphoria of following one’s destiny as a musician, it inspires one to pursue what they are meant to do, and seek exposure to both Swift’s and Gershwin’s work in closer detail. The book not only encapsulates the time period and atmosphere, but the backstage of every single piece of music and professionall ...more
Feb 28, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you are a fan of musical history and New York City during the Jazz Age, Rhapsody is a book worth checking out. It centers around two talented musicians – George Gershwin, whose fame remains today and the lesser known Katherine “Kay” Swift. In 1924, while married to wealthy banker Jimmy Warburg, Kay is mesmerized by the young composer George Gershwin, as he performs Rhapsody in Blue. She is forever changed. Once George and Kay meet, they begin an affair and inspire one another in their music. ...more
Mar 24, 2021 rated it did not like it
This book missed the mark on so many levels.
It does not deliver what it promised which was the love story between George Gershwin and Katharine (Kay) Swift/Warburg.

It is 130+ pages in before they even say ‘hello’.

Before that it’s a cavalcade of name dropping of the artistic crowd of the 1920’s NYC + Katharine’s humble beginnings and James Warburg’s (whom she marries) high society banking family.

There is an underlying political theme that has nothing whatsoever to do with “Rhapsody”.

Mitchell Kaplan
Dec 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
To give my own novel five stars seems immodest, or boastful. But there are practical reasons to do so, so I do hope my readers will forgive me. The truth, I suspect, is that all novelists love their creations. It would be a little crazy to devote years of your life to a work that you thought unworthy. So the five stars are really a way of saying to the characters of RHAPSODY: thank you for coming into my life; I love you. And to any metaphysical entities that may have participated in this proces ...more
Feb 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful piece of historical fiction about the lives of two extremely fascinating people, Kay Swift and George Gershwin. I am a great admirer of Gershwin so I was drawn to this story, which I didn’t know about.

Kay Swift was a gifted musician and composer. The relationship between Gershwin and Swift was really interesting, not just because of their talent, but also because of the people whose paths they crossed.

Kaplan wrote a pitch perfect (groan) about these gifted people which also
Literary Redhead
The legendary George Gershwin mentors married pianist/composer Kay Swift in 1920s’ NY, and they soon fall in love and create gorgeous music together. Their 10-year affair ends only when he succumbs at age 38 to a brain tumor. We’re immersed in the Jazz Age that produced music still beloved today, Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue a perfect example. While slow pace and often dislikable characters mar the tale at times, the glorious music keeps readers entranced. A fine hist fic novel for lovers of Gers ...more
Bookreporter.com Historical Fiction
George Gershwin will go down in history as one of the great American composers and musicians of the 20th century. Concert hall music was the domain of soloists and orchestras performing the great European composers --- orchestral and operatic performances by Beethoven, Chopin, Mozart and Debussy, along with Wagner, Liszt and Verdi.

RHAPSODY is a story about the brief romance between Gershwin and the beautiful and remarkable young pianist, Katharine “Kay” Swift, who contributed so much to American
Dec 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Rhapsody by Mitchell James Kaplan is an excellent historical fiction novel that depicts the epic relationship between Kay Swift and George Gershwin.

The author is remarkable in his ability to place the reader directly into NYC during the fabulous 1920s era. The jazz and broadway scenes were on fire at this time, and of course to me jazz will always be hopping. I loved being immersed into this wonderful and rich atmosphere.

The author also created a wonderful narrative that gave the reader insigh
Feb 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing
What a rare and enchanted novel about the great George Gershwin and his music, and the gifted, alluring composer Kay Swift who loved him! At this time when we have lost so much of the crowds and arts of New York City, we can fall back into the jazz age in these pages. And what a wonder it is! Make yourself a Prohibition cocktail, put on "Rhapsody in Blue," and get ready for a unique journey. ...more
Feb 05, 2021 rated it liked it
This was one of those books that is too erudite for its own good. Don’t get me wrong , I like an intelligent author and book but here the intelligence and the erudition(about music, art, history, etc...) overwhelms the story about Swift and her romance with Gershwin. It’s a shame because Kaplan can write and knows his stuff. If he concentrated more on the story and pace, this could’ve been a great book. As it is its not a bad book. Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC.
Gail O'Connor
Jan 24, 2021 rated it it was ok
I so tried to get into this story but it just didn't hold my attention. I'm sure it's a delightful novel but just not for me.
There didn't seem any passion or emotion
Jordan (Forever Lost in Literature)
Find this review at Forever Lost in Literature!

Although I've read a few books set during the Jazz Age of New York City, I've never read anything that includes the lives of the musicians Katharine "Kay" Swift and George Gershwin. Actually, in general, the only person I'd heard of prior to this book was Gerswhin, and I had no knowledge of Kay or her husband's roles--which of course made me that much more intrigued by the premise!

The narrative largely follows Kay and starts off in 1924 before jumpi
-`ˏ Galaxi Faerie ˎ´˗
-`ˏ 3 stars ˎ´˗

Storyline -`ˏ 7/10 ˎ´˗
An intimate look into the affairs of a musical genius named George Gershwin and a pianist Katarine Swift, who desire recognition with her profession as well as a love that she no longer gets from her husband.

Characters -`ˏ 5/10 ˎ´˗
Katherine Swift is someone who was swept away with the promise of a happy and stable marriage before fully knowing who her partner was. Her husband Jimmy Warburg believes that it is natural for them to experience the bodies of other
Feb 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing


I loved “Rhapsody” for its historical details, captivating characters, and whirlwind romance.

Firstly, I applaud the author for the number of details added. As a fan of the golden age of cinema, I LOVED all the references the author makes to pop culture during that time. There were so many beautiful moments of Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Alfred A. Knoph, Dick Rodgers, and many more. I felt like I was reliving the era with the
I inhaled this wonderful read! Katherine Swift was a classical pianist, well trained and relatively successful. She married a wealthy and influential man, had children, and then met George Gershwin. George began calling her Kay, and his influence changed her music as well as her name.

Kay began writing show tunes and acting as a helpmate to George. They eventually became involved in a complicated love affair, and along the way, in their busy cosmopolitan lifestyle, the reader becomes acquainted
Ariel Curry
Feb 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Rhapsody is a showstopper. On one hand, it's a story you've probably never heard before: the story of Kay Swift/Warburg, talented pianist, who rises to fame as a composer when she falls head-long for George Gershwin, the daring and innovative composer whose Rhapsody in Blue was unlike anything anyone had ever heard before. On the other hand, it's a story many of us will be familiar with: girl falls in love (with her husband, Jimmy Warburg), and marriage is not what they expected. She meets Georg ...more
Dec 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It's the roaring twenties, the jazz era, Broadway shows were alive and glistening, new musicians and composers were turning out concertos and popular music. Show tunes were being written by the likes of Rodgers and Hart as well as others and above all George Gershwin. However, before that we find Katherine "Kay" Swift a graduate from The Institute of Musical Art, a student of classical music.

It's 1917 and Kay is part of the Edith Rubel Trio that played music at society parties and soirees. It wa
Julia Johnson
Feb 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I was lucky enough to get an early copy of this--the minute I heard the premise, I was IN. And it absolutely delivered! A terrific, fascinating story.

Debbie Viscosi
Dec 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Mitchell James Kaplan has written a book that delves into the life of high society and Broadway musicals as he acquaints us with George Gershwin's muse, Kay Swift. Katharine "Kay" Swift Warburg is the first woman to compose a hit musical. Classically trained in piano, Katharine is languishing as a high society wife when she meets George Gershwin, and her life forever changes. She is drawn into modern music, composition, and Broadway. Together, Kay and her husband write songs and finance Broadway ...more
Feb 27, 2021 rated it really liked it
"This is just... one beat in the magnificent concerto of your life."

Rhapsody by Mitchell James Kaplan is an inspired-by-a-true-story novel about the love affair between George Gershwin and Kay Swift, two musical marvels of the 1920s-30s.

"She tried not to think about George Gershwin. About his embrace, that twinkle in his eyes, and the way he used the piano as an extension of his soul. She tried."

This impeccably well-researched tale drops readers right into the heart of Jazz Age New York. Kaplan’
Feb 21, 2021 rated it really liked it
I am really glad that I jumped on this tour to do a review. I had never heard of Katharine “Kay” Swift or George Gershwin before and it was very interesting to read about them, knowing they were real people. There were other people referenced that I have read about before, Josephine Baker for one. These people were known in the music world, and often mingled among the elite of that time- but it was for their talent in music. It was not because they were chummy with them, they just wanted their t ...more
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Mitchell James Kaplan is a cum laude graduate of Yale University, where he won the Paine Memorial Prize. His first mentor was author William Styron. Following college, he lived in Paris and Southern California. Currently he lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.

​Mitchell James Kaplan's 2010 novel, By Fire, By Water, won numerous literary awards both domestically and abroad. Into The Unbou

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