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A Song Begins

(The Warrender Saga #1)

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  251 ratings  ·  37 reviews
An unknown benefactor had sufficient faith in Anthea Benton's singing voice to pay for her training under the celebrated operatic conductor, Oscar Warrender. She was ecstatic, but her joy was short-lived when she came face to face with the great man. Cold and forbidding, he proved to be a hard taskmaster. She felt her dreams can be coming true... but would she be tough eno ...more
Hardcover, Warrender Saga Collection #1, 188 pages
Published 1978 by Harlequin Books (first published 1965)
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Average rating 4.04  · 
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An unknown benefactor pays for singer-heroine Anthea Benton's training under the famous conductor, hero Oscar Warrender. (Anthea had met Oscar once and didn't like him. She thinks he was the cause of her losing a singing competition). But the more time she spends with Oscar, the more she admires his talent and she begins to fall for him.

I really liked Anthea, it was great seeing her realizing her dream of becoming a famous singer coming true. She was sweet, kind, but determined to make it and gr
This was a re-read of a very memorable story that really shows just how expansive the category length romance can be in the hands of a talented writer (s). Long before Britain's Got Talent, Mary Burchell put her love of opera and its artists in an 13 book saga. This is the first book in the series, published in 1965.

The set-up: heroine, Anthea "from the provinces," enters a TV competition to win 500 pounds in order to continue her vocal training. She desperately needs it because her father is i
Oct 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: hqn
For me, this was a very riveting read. There is something about Burchell's writing that hooks me from the first page even though her heroes tend to be rather horrible creatures. This was no exception. In fact, this is probably one of her strongest books.

The story is about a young woman (Althea) who has a terrific voice and has been given the opportunity to train under one of the greatest conductors in the world, Oscar Warrender. Of course, Oscar is a pig...I honestly can't think of a better wor
Read for the 2018 TBR Challenge prompt "We Love Shorts!"

A Song Begins is the first in Mary Burchell’s thirteen-book Warrender Saga , which was originally and published between 1965 and 1985.  All the novels in the series take place in the high-pressure world of the classical concert hall and opera house circuit; many of the characters are top-flight musicians – singers, pianists, conductors – and it’s very clear, even though I’ve as yet read only this opening entry, that the author really kne
I really loved this story. But just so you know, the hero, Oscar Warrender, was a total a-hole. He was right down verbally demeaning most of the time, but it went along with his character as the arrogant, self-obsessed, virtuoso conductor. The heroine, Anthea, was an aspiring opera singer, who got the opportunity to study under him.

There's a lot of interplay where he's bullying on her and she fights back but pretty much has to submit. We also have a little bit of OW angst to spice things up. It
Mar 21, 2011 rated it liked it
Yes, yes, Dear Friends...this IS a Harlequin romance from the 60's. I stumbled upon it clear back then on the recommendation of a a romance novel-reading friend who knew I loved music. The British author, Mary Burchell, wrote sweet, innocent romances--no heaving bosoms, no sex. A kiss was a big deal. Burchell wrote a whole series...thirteeen books in all...called the Warrender series/saga about opera people...beginning with the famous conductor Oscar Warrender. He figures in all of the subsequen ...more
Noël Cades
Dec 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful story but I think I'm going to have to read it again, once I've finished the whole series. Because Oscar Warrender just gets more sexy and alpha as the books go on.

The basic plot is that famous-conductor-Oscar-Warrender falls in "love at first hear" with young singer Anthea's voice, and falls in love with her pretty soon after. She thinks he despises her, and has no idea he's paying for her musical training, which he carries out himself. Of course she gets the lead role in an
Jul 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite Mary Burchells! Anthea is determined to succeed as a singer but the arrogant Oscar Warrender seems equally determined to belittle her efforts. When he agrees to train her, Anthea is very dubious but willing to try anything for the sake of her career. Can they survive such a tempestuous relationship?
Jan 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

An entertaining quick read book. Oscar wasn't as bad as I thought he would be.

Carole Jarvis
Jun 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: romance
It was undoubtedly the Harlequin romances published back in the 1960s through early 70s that created my love for romantic fiction. And I read a ton of these sweet stories. They were entertaining, fun, pure escape stories that took me mostly to places in Great Britain – and they were completely clean, never going beyond a romantic kiss. Imagine my delight to find a few of these books available for Kindle, including one of my favorite authors, Mary Burchell. While most of her books aren’t yet avai ...more
Sep 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars. I vaguely remember having read this book when I was 15, translated in Greek! Mary Burchell had several of her titles translated, in a publishing line called Viper Nora. It is about an opera singer student and a famous conductor who is fascinated by her voice and decides to teach her. Neither she nor we understand his fascination because he behaves abominably. Of course it is all attributed to his musical genius, so he is pardoned by the heroine and all ends well.
Barb in Maryland
Boy howdy, I am so conflicted on this one.
What I liked:
First off, the opera parts and the insider's look that that particular part of the music world rates 5 stars. Burchell knew and loved her opera. Her portrait of the driven conductor, Oscar Warrender, is so vibrant. I had no trouble picturing him in the music world, widely acclaimed. Burchell's prose is smooth and polished; she was a very good writer. The way she used the opera 'Otello' to mirror the relationship of Anthea and Warrender was
Harini Gopalswami Srinivasan
Dug this out of a pile of dusty old books I inherited from an aunt. Light, pleasant read, after all the heavy stuff I've been reading lately. Well written, good characterization and interesting peep into the world of opera. ...more
Dec 01, 2017 rated it liked it
Good story on making of an artist. I especially liked the quoting: 'Industry without talent is useless. Talent without industry is exasperating. The two together can make an artist.' ...more
Jan 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Song Begins is a 3.5-stars for me. Yes, 1965, Harlequin clean romance, and I had a hard time to get to the book at first. The book got better and enjoyed it. It is a clean romance, because of the time it is based.
It is a slow burn love story between a music conductor and the opera student that Oscar decided that Anthea will be his prodigy.
The family relationship and the friendship that Anthea builds with Neil and Vicky are develope well through the story.
Also, Anthea's teachers are there to
Dannica Zulestin
I'm having mixed feelings. I loved the extreme drama of Anthea and Warrender's relationship, and even the power imbalance and how bewitched Anthea was. It was very exciting--and I'm not usually into alpha males, so kudos to Burchell on pulling that off. But I'm not sure how I feel about the two actually getting together, especially so quickly, and I wonder how things between them will ever even out. And as far as I can tell, the other books in this series are largely about other couples, so.... ...more
Jun 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
I super duper dug this, and the only reason I'm not giving it five stars is that the (view spoiler). I definitely want to track down more of the books in this saga, though I am a little sad that they all follow new couples. I want followups!!!

**Read for Ripped Bodice Bingo 2019, Show Business**
Lady Delacour
Likable music centered storyline.
Unlikeable to be love interest.
Young submissive female singer.
Older arrogant male instructor.
Harlequin Dysfunctional Romance.
3 Frustratingly Interesting Stars,
Listened with TTS.
5 Mild Words.
Feb 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Having read most of the stories in the Warrender series already, I was already quite familiar with The great Oscar Warrender and his biggest treasure, his singer wife Anthea. Now, doing this in reverse and reading about how they found each other in the first place, was a lovely feeling.

Because I already know he adores his wife beyond measure, I am inclined to be lenient with his behavior in this book. He was cross with her most of the times and quite ruthless in the way he handled her. But thos
Jun 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I've gotten out of the habit of reading genre romances, but I've read quite a few in my life and I kept a box of them from when I was in high school and college. I'm going through them and reviewing them on goodreads.

Mary Burchell (Ida Cook) is my favorite romance author. According to Wikipedia, "Ida Cook and her sister Mary Louise Cook rescued Jews from the Nazis during the 1930s. The sisters helped 29 people escape, funded mainly by Ida's writing." Knowing this makes me enjoy her writing even
3.5 stars

Synopsis: Allegra is a singer and she wants to get out of her small town. She competes in a talent contest, but one of the high profile judges persuades the other judges that she shouldn't win the contest. When a mysterious benefactor paves the way for Allegra to go train with Oscar, the high profile judge, she thinks she knows who it is, and despite really disliking Oscar, wants to take the opportunity to follow her dreams. Throughout her training with Oscar, Allegra continues to disli
Mar 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Leanne by: Lols
Okay, I'm embarrassed (almost) to list this, but it was such a fun read. My dear friend Lols, lent this to me from her newly acquired collection of old Harlequin Romances that have a music theme or something like that. The point is that it was clean and very, very sweet. ...more
May 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I think that this book was an excellent speciment of its kind. Mary Burchell has a unique way with words. She even made me want to listen to the opera, although I 'm not a fun! ...more
Jun 08, 2016 added it
Well-written. I adored Andrea and found Oscar charming.
Jan 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Mary Burchell was an F***ing Genius. That's all. ...more

As a singer (not opera, though), I can sympathize with the Feelings that Anthea had For the discipline necessary to develop her voice, and for the feelings She had for The man who was teaching her control over her instrument As well as demanding the Discipline Needed to learn the Artistry required for Strong performances. A great romantic story that shows how true talent must be nurtured and trained in order to come to fruition...and the romance was a nice bonus!
Jun 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this in book form...

Many years ago! I liked it then and I love it still. Mary Burchell writes about music incredibly well. And as a loving reader and a music lover, this book took me to places I’ve only dreamt about!
Beth Hirschenbein
Wonderful reading this again

My paperbacks fell apart from all of times I enjoyed this series. When I moved I couldn’t take them with me. So happy to see them as ebooks. Will definitely be reading the complete series again from the beginning.
Sue Chatterjee
Aug 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very old favorite enjoyed once more. Old fashioned book but the story still satisfies. Just lovely.
May 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

A fabulous story that pulls your emotions and loyalties in all directions.
Now looking forward to reading the rest of the series....!!!
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Ida Cook was born on 1904 at 37 Croft Avenue, Sunderland, England. With her eldest sister Mary Louise Cook (1901), she attending the Duchess' School in Alnwick. Later the sisters took civil service jobs in London, and developed a passionate interest in opera. The sisters helped 29 jews to escape from the Nazis, funded mainly by Ida's writing. In 1965, the Cook sisters were honored as Righteous Gen ...more

Other books in the series

The Warrender Saga (1 - 10 of 13 books)
  • The Broken Wing (Warrender Saga, #2)
  • When Love is Blind (Warrender Saga, #3)
  • The Curtain Rises (Warrender Saga, #4)
  • Child of Music (Warrender Saga, #5)
  • Music of the Heart (Warrender Saga, #6)
  • Unbidden Melody (Warrender Saga, #7)
  • Song Cycle (Warrender Saga, #8)
  • Remembered Serenade (Warrender Saga, #9)
  • Elusive Harmony (Warrender Saga, #10)
  • Nightingales (Warrender Saga, #11)

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