Check out an interview with the author for this heartfelt story... The Sound Between the Notes by Barbara Linn Probst (Interview, Review & #Giveaway) #womensfiction #newbook @jeanbooknerd

This plot grabbed my attention as I'm a pianist myself, and I really enjoyed that aspect of this story. You can find my full review below as well as a delightful interview with the author and a tour giveaway...

The Sound Between the Notes
By Barbara Linn Probst
Adult Contemporary, Women's Fiction
Paperback & ebook, 336 Pages
April 6, 2021 by She Writes Press


The highly anticipated new novel from the multiple award-winning author of Queen of the Owls . . .

What if you had a second chance at the very thing you thought you’d renounced forever? How steep a price would you be willing to pay?

Susannah’s career as a pianist has been on hold for nearly sixteen years, ever since her son was born. An adoptee who’s never forgiven her birth mother for not putting her first, Susannah vowed to put her own child first, no matter what. And she did.

But now, suddenly, she has a chance to vault into that elite tier of “chosen” musicians. There’s just one problem: somewhere along the way, she lost the power and the magic that used to be hers at the keyboard. She needs to get them back. Now.

Her quest―what her husband calls her obsession―turns out to have a cost Susannah couldn’t have anticipated. Even her hand betrays her, as Susannah learns that she has a progressive hereditary disease that’s making her fingers cramp and curl―a curse waiting in her genes, legacy of a birth family that gave her little else. As her now-or-never concert draws near, Susannah is catapulted back to memories she’s never been able to purge―and forward, to choices she never thought she would have to make.

Told through the unique perspective of a musician, The Sound Between the Notes draws the reader deeper and deeper into the question Susannah can no longer silence: Who am I, and where do I belong?


“The climax, on the night of her performance, is a tour de force steeped in suspense, and Susannah’s subsequent revelations are satisfying and authentic. A sensitive, astute exploration of artistic passion, family, and perseverance.” —Kirkus Reviews

“The Sound Between the Notes is so beautiful, so lyrical, so musical that it was hard to put down. . . . This is a wonderful story from a skillful writer, one that appeals strongly to the heart. It features awesome characters, a twisty plot, and gorgeous writing.” —Readers’ Favorite 5-star review

“In her second novel, Barbara Linn Probst delivers yet another powerful story, balancing lyrical language with a skillfully paced plot to build a sensory-rich world that will delight those who loved Queen of the Owls and win countless new readers. Offering a deep exploration of the search for identity and connection, The Sound Between Notes reminds us to embrace everything we are—and everything that’s made us who we are.” —Julie Cantrell, New York Times and USA TODAY best-selling author of Perennials

“Family ties can bind or blind us—even with relatives we've never met. In The Sound Between the Notes, trails of music connect generations separated by adoption—while the same notes threaten a family believed sewn with steel threads.In this spellbinding novel, Barbara Linn Probst examines how the truth of love transcends genetics, even as strands of biology grip us. Once you begin this story, suffused with the majesty of music and the reveries of creation, the 'gotta know' will carry you all the way to the final note.” —Randy Susan Meyers, international best-selling author of Waisted and The Comfort of Lies

“Beautifully told, The Sound Between the Notes, is the story of tragedy and triumph, of the push and pull of family, of the responsibility we feel to ourselves and those we love. Once I started the book, I couldn't put it down until I reached the last, gorgeously written note.” —Loretta Nyhan, author of The Other Family and Amazon best-seller Digging In

“As soaring as the music it so lovingly describes, poignantly human, and relatable to anyone who’s ever wondered if it’s too late for their dream, The Sound Between the Notes is an exploration of our vulnerability to life’s timing and chance occurrences that influence our decisions, for better or worse. Probst creates her trademark intelligent suspense as Susannah, an adoptee trying for a mid-life resurrection of an abandoned music career, confronts lifelong questions of who she is. A story that speaks to our universal need to have someone who believes in us unequivocally, and how that person had better be ourselves.” —Ellen Notbohm, award-winning author of The River by Starlight

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What inspired you to write a story about a pianist going back to perform, after years away to raise her son, who is facing a hereditary disease?

The source of a book is never just one thing, at least not for me—it’s always several influences that come together in a moment of truly magical convergence. But I’ll share one specific moment with you …

I had gone back to studying piano a few years earlier, after abandoning my studies for twenty years, when my son was born. (Sound familiar?) I’m nowhere near the level of someone like Susannah, however—I’m what’s called a “serious amateur”—but I had just switched to a much more rigorous teacher and a whole new level of playing was opening up for me, a whole new connection to the music. I can still remember that moment. There I was, standing in front of the bathroom mirror, reaching into the cabinet, when I felt a strange stiffness in my left hand. And I thought, “No! Not now, of all times!”

It turned out to be nothing, just a passing sensation, but that was when the story idea took hold. “What if someone who …”

I grew up playing piano and majored in it my freshman year of college, so I was immediately intrigued by a story from a pianist’s perspective. How does her being a pianist influence the story?

That is so amazing! And yes, there are several ways that the piano and pianist’s perspective shape the book.

First, Susannah’s journey as a pianist hoping to vault into the “elite echelon” that she thought she had set aside forever is clearly the frame of the plot. The audition opens the novel, and the concert at the conclusion is its bookend.

Second, music is the thread that connects Susannah (an adoptee) to her roots, her biology. Her adoptive parents don’t share her talent or passion, though they nurture it. Yet Susannah yearns to find the source of that music, the key that will tell her who she really is.

And finally, music exists on every page, as the way Susannah perceives the world and in the very rhythm of the language. As one reviewer put it: “The Sound Between Notes reads like a piece of music—ebbing and flowing, quiet and loud. I felt each word as if it were a note I could feel, physically and emotionally.”

Would you tell us more about the research you did for THE SOUND BETWEEN THE NOTES? Any interesting facts you learned?

Every book involves research, and this one was interesting because there were so many different kinds of research! Some of it was around music. I listened to the Sonata that frames the story many, many times, and set myself the task of learning one of the sections myself—which I did! I talked to someone at the Steinway factory to learn how pianos are made and what’s involved in choosing one for a concert. I also had to learn a lot about Dupuytren’s contracture, the disease that Susannah has.

Here’s one really cool thing I learned that I never would have expected. The piece Susannah plays for her concert is Schubert’s famous B-flat major sonata, a key that many of the greatest pieces of music are written in. As it turns out, B-flat is “the sound of the universe.”

There’s a massive black hole in the Perseus galaxy cluster, 300 million light-years away, that emits a tone 57 octaves below middle C that corresponds to a B-flat. Not a B-flat the human ear can hear, of course—the lowest sound a person can hear has a frequency of one-twentieth of a second, and the sound coming from that black hole has a frequency of ten million years. And it’s been singing that note for two and a half billion years.

How did you personally connect with this story and how do you hope readers will connect with it?

In addition to my connection with music, I’m also a mother by adoption, so that’s a huge part of my connection with this story—which is told through the eyes of an adoptee and is, at heart, about what it means to be a mother and a daughter.

I hope readers will feel the story’s universality. You don’t have to be a pianist, or adopted, to wonder: Who am I, and where do I belong? We all struggle with those questions, just as we all search for a way to do what I need to do, in order to fulfill myself, while also doing right by those I love.

When you’re not reading or writing, what are some of the things you enjoy doing?

As I mentioned, I study piano, and I love having a second art form that’s not based on words. It feels very restorative. I also love to cook and take real pleasure in working with food. I walk every day and have been lucky to be able to keep that up during the pandemic. Gardening, swimming, and traveling—well, no traveling lately, but hopefully I’ll be able to do that again soon! I’ve been to so many wonderful places, from Turkey to Scotland, Israel to Costa Rica.

What are you working on next?

I’m continuing my “brand” of how art can help us to become more fully human, so my third novel is framed around the art of glassblowing and is set in Iceland. I didn’t know anything about glassblowing when I began working on it, but it’s an incredible art form! I also write essays on the craft of fiction, so that keeps the other part of my brain occupied. I do like having two kinds of writing in my life!

My Review

THE SOUND BETWEEN THE NOTES is a story of a woman who is trying to figure out who she is. She has the chance to return to a profession she gave up to raise her son, but finds that change brings risk and challenges that she didn't foresee nor know how to handle. It's a story of family, adoption, music and love.

I loved the beginning of this story as readers are slowly introduced to these characters. Susannah had quite a arc for her character. I liked her in the beginning, but then wanted to shake her when she becomes so focused, to the point that everything was about her and how she felt and what she wanted instead of being aware of others in her life. She definitely had some selfish moments that made me not like her a whole lot. Aaron, her husband, wasn't perfect either but he came across a lot more likable and less obsessed. There were other side characters that were all complex and well drawn. The story was focused on Susannah though and her struggle to find herself because of insecurities from being adopted, giving up her career for family and then trying to go back. I think everyone can relate to some aspect of that. Thank goodness there is redemption in the end, not that it's all perfect, but that things begin to get worked out.

Being a pianist myself, there were a lot of musical aspects of this story that I could completely relate to. I really love the whole message of not just playing the notes, but hearing the music, regardless if all the notes are perfect or not. Life is messy and hard, but it's the meaning of it all and how we love that is important. The author was definitely spot on with the analogy and all the musical references.

I would have really liked an epilogue at the end to know what happened with Susannah and the disease and her family. I kind of felt like that was a bit of a loose end. Plus that radiation... that's not a light thing to do so I was curious if there ended up being some side effects from it. Also, I would have liked to have seen what happened with her sister. Not that I wanted everything tied up all pretty as that would have ruined the story.

In the end, was it what I wished for? This story had all the feels, with complex characters and a heartrending plot. The musical aspect is woven throughout and is a delightful aspect of this story. Recommended to women's fiction readers.

Content: Swearing (including the s and f-words), a few drug/alcohol references
Source: I received a complimentary copy through JeanBookNerd Tours, which did not require a positive review. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

Barbara Linn Probst is a writer of both fiction and non-fiction, living on an historic dirt road in New York’s Hudson Valley. Her debut novel Queen of the Owls (April 2020) is the powerful story of a woman’s search for wholeness, framed around the art and life of iconic American painter Georgia O’Keeffe. Endorsed by best-selling authors such as Christina Baker Kline and Caroline Leavitt, Queen of the Owls was selected as one of the 20 most anticipated books of 2020 by Working Mother and one of the best Spring fiction books by Parade Magazine, and a debut novel “too good to ignore” by Bustle. It was also featured in lists compiled by Pop Sugar and Entertainment Weekly, among others. It won the bronze medal for popular fiction from the Independent Publishers Association, placed first runner-up in general fiction for the Eric Hoffer Award, and was short-listed for both the First Horizon and the $2500 Grand Prize.

Barbara’s second novel, The Sound Between the Notes, is slated for publication in April 2021. Like Queen of The Owls, it shows how art can help us to be more fully human. Barbara has also published numerous blogs on the craft of writing on award-winning sites such as Jane Friedman and Writer Unboxed. To learn more about Barbara and her work, please see She resides in New York.


Tour Schedule

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Tour-Wide Giveaway

- 3 Winners will receive a Copy of THE SOUND BETWEEN THE NOTES by Barbara Linn Probst
- Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter | Ends April 26, 2021

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