Every so often a special novel comes along. Such is the case with William Coles's
Prelude. By today's standards, the subject of the novel—India, a music teacher at
Eton College seducing Kim, a seventeen-year-old student—would suggest likely prison time
for the female character.
But this situation is somehow different from the typical teacher molesting a student. The
affair is handled so delicately that the reader senses the great love between this mismatched
pair. The word molestation never enters the reader's mind.
The obstacles that the two loves must overcome in order to continue their relationship and
still keep it a secret from the faculty and students at the college make for some tense moments
and add to the drama of the love affair.
Music is a big part of this novel—especially Bach's "Well-Tempered Clavier." Both India
and Kim love the music as much as they do each other. As the reader follows the clandestine
trysts of these two lovers, he forgets that a crime is being committed. The love scenes, while
passionate and somewhat graphic, ring so true of real love that one hopes for success of the union.
So what could possibly stop such a strong love? Insane jealousy on the part of Kim puts a big
stumbling block in their relationship.
The combination of the music and the delicately-handled love scenes makes this a refreshing
read that has "movie version" written all over it. The reader (and hopefully movie goer) will
appreciate the Hollywood ending. The song "The Dance" and Bach's "Well-Tempered Clavier" give a
hint of what the ending is like.