Wild Roses tells the story of 17-year old Cassie Morgan, and the way she and her mother handle living with a temperamental and, at times, almost insane musician.
Dino Cavalli is a world-renowned violinist, and he’s also Cassie’s stepfather. At first, he seems like only a bully and an egomaniac, but when he goes off his medication because it blocks his creativity, he becomes manic, paranoid, and destructive.
While Dino never actually hurts Cassie or her mother physically, there are times in the book where the scene is so intense and frightening that I tense my muscles in expectation that he might. Fortunately, he never crosses that line, but unsurprisingly, he does finally hit someone towards the end of the book.
The more interesting story in the book though, is the romance between Cassie and Ian Waters, who happens to be Dino’s student. Ian is an extremely talented violinist who might have a chance to get a full scholarship into the most prestigious school for musicians.
Of course, his romance with Cassie gets in the way of his music, or you could say that his music gets in the way of his romance with Cassie. Either way, Dino isn’t happy, and the situation is full of difficult choices for Ian and Cassie.
It’s interesting to note how the book portrays how difficult it can be living with and loving talented musicians. Both Cassie and her mother have to cater to the needs and the moods of the musicians they love, letting go of what they want in deference to what talent and genius need.
I relate to this on a personal level because I married a very talented musician after making a promise to myself a long time ago that I would never get involved with musicians! I had dated musicians before my husband, and I always felt like I wasn’t important and that their needs always came first.
To be fair, it wasn’t so much that they treated me badly, but more that they were oversensitive and I always had to be careful what I said and did so that I wouldn’t hurt their feelings inadvertently. It got so tiring that I gave up dating musicians until my husband came along.