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Chanson de l'Ange, Book 1: The Bleeding Rose- An Epic Retelling of Phantom of the Opera Paperback – June 24, 2010

4.8 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Review

"Ms. Stewart's writing voice is powerfully and masterfully done, and is informed by her own experiences.  She has what it takes to be a NYC published author."   
--~ Madelyn Alt ~ National Bestselling Author of The Bewitching Mysteries

From the Author


From a tender young age, I recognized man's cruelty to his fellow man.  I hurt profoundly when children were ridiculed by other children because of their physical appearance.  

Skinny and physically awkward, I did not fit in at school.  I was unhealthy, my eyes were too big behind thick glasses, and my complexion was too pale.  I rarely played with other children, and chose to remain indoors while the neighborhood kids played kick ball and hide-n-seek, and thus I was nicknamed, "the mole."

Shy, and afraid to speak unless spoken to, a result of my step father's constant haranguing me to "shut the hell up," I became a quiet, lonely and introspective child.  Adults encouraged me to smile...but I saw little to smile about, and escaped into a world of fairy tales and fantasy.

My preteen years remain shrouded in family secrets and my step father's escalating alcoholism.  His negative influence poisoned the entire family, and I sought further escape through books, movies and music.

I gravitated to musicals and movies from the 30's 40's and 50's,  often staying up late into the night, watching old black and white horror films...like Dracula, Frankenstein and King Kong.  I was sympathetic to these monsters, perhaps relating personally to their outcast stories.

The first time I saw the Lon Chaney silent version of Phantom of the Opera, I was about eleven.  I was frightened, but equally fascinated by the masked Phantom, the movie's man/monster, whose name was Erik.  The film's tragic conclusion left me in tears, wishing that Christine had saved him from his fate.

Later I came across the colorful film adaptation starring Claude Rains, and I developed my first crush on a movie character.  His voice floating through the mirror enthralled me, and the melancholy melody he played on the violin was unforgettable. I thought him so handsome in the mysterious mask, and was captivated by his efforts to win the trust of the young opera singer.

Finally in my mid-teens I discovered that I could sing...and my love of performing was a further identification with the Phantom story.  For 10 years I studied classical voice, playing leading roles in musicals throughout high school and my early 20's, where I finally received the attention and acceptance I craved.

In the early 90's, my husband and I attended an LA based performance of Andrew Lloyd Webber's stage musical, starring Michael Crawford.  I shall never forget the first commanding chords played on the dark organ, as the gold and crystal chandelier rose above the gasping audience.  When the Phantom first appeared in the mirror, I forgot everything else around me; the audience, the auditorium, they all receded into the mist when he beckoned Christine from behind the glass.

Dressed in elegant tails and black opera cloak, he gracefully prowled across the stage...the half-mask erotic and spell binding.  As an adult woman, I immediately recognized the sexual pull of this Phantom, and I sat breathless as the tragic story came to life through Webber's soaring music.  The performance was hypnotic and deeply sensual, but for me, the drama resonated beyond its Victorian romance and beautiful score.   

The Phantom is a man of superior intellect and artistic intelligence,  who because of a hideous facial deformity, is denied acceptance and love.  He is forced to remain on the outside looking in, and can never know the warmth of human touch.  His soul is twisted, his psyche damaged through his self imposed isolation in the opera house cellars, where he exists as a shadow, a ghost...a haunted creature to be feared and obeyed.

But the Phantom is no monster.  He is only a man who desires to walk unmasked in the daylight, who craves someone to share his music, his heart and his body.  Underneath the skin, Erik longs to be loved, just like the rest of us.

In December of 2004, as I sat enthralled by Joel Schumacher's film version, starring Gerard Butler, I was once again awash in the flickering light of an old black and white television, where a lonely little girl wept real tears for the Phantom of the Opera.
 
My own story, however, will have a happy ending, because despite my emotional and physical scars, I found true love and a deep abiding faith in God.  As I mature, my own need for masks and disguises diminishes and I am learning to love myself for who I am...as alas, poor Erik never could.

Paisley Swan Stewart
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 636 pages
  • Publisher: Xlibris, Corp. (June 24, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1450084028
  • ISBN-13: 978-1450084024
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,479,427 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Brava, Brava, Bravisma!!
As Erik said of Christine both in the movie and this book. I use it now to sing praises for this lovely novel. It is a thick book. It is very frustrating when you realize you have to put this back down and sleep for a night before picking it up again. You do not want to stop reading.

It was as if my eyes were glued to each twist and turn of young Christine Daae's life.

You also feel both Erik and Raoul's pain.

Neither Raoul nor Erik are made perfect, Neither seem like the only choice. Christine has valid reasons why she cares for each of them. You as a reader will care for them both as well.

One offers more stability and one offers more passion.
One is calm and serene. One can go through a myriad of emotions in a matter of seconds.

Christine herself is a contradiction. She is pure of body, but her mind and heart want to know grow great passion. Comforted by Raoul's hugs, tempted by Erik's. She is truly torn.

What engagement ring will she wear Erik's or Raoul's? Who shall father her children? Will it be the man who eases her mind or the one that stirs her heart?

If you miss this tale you will be sorry.
This is book one in a two part series. I cannot wait to read book two.

Tracy Holmes
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I had this book 2 months before sitting down to read it, thinking its size a little intimidating. Hah! By Page 2 I was hooked and finished in 3 days (damn the laundry... and get your own supper, honey)!

Swannie, I loved your realism in relating the ordinary, everyday needs, functions, dreams and desires of our flawed but very extraordinary Phantom. It stunned me as I pictured a grown man's pathetic attempts to make his home presentable for a romantic dinner - and I felt like an intruder.

My only nit was Christine's constant waffling on her affections between Eric & Rauol made me want to smack her. However, a 17-yr old girl in Victorian-era England really was a product of that era...very sheltered & innocent.

I finished the book 2 nights ago & my Phantom withdrawal symptoms have already begun. Book 2:The Angel's Song is #1 on my New Years Resolutions List.

Thank you Swannie!

"The-keeper-of-green-eyes-behind-a-white-mask"
"Gerry's-personal-orange-juicer"
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I am in ecstasy after reading this brilliantly written book. In my opinion it quite possibly could be the best Phantom book published to this day! You will not be able to put it down I promise you, every page begs to be turned to the next and the next etc! I am counting the days til book two hits the shelves! Brava Brava, Paisley Swan Stewart!
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By Arielle on August 28, 2010
Format: Paperback
I cannot begin to describe how this incredible this book is. It's very detailed and makes you believe you are actually there in the story. I must say I almost passed up this story, I was not looking for any more Phantom stories to read. One look of the cover and I was fascinated by the cover and wanted to know more, so I looked at the reviews and it great reviews and I realized I must have this book, along with soon-to-be Book 2. This is a retelling of The Phantom of the Opera detailing the love triangle betwenn Christine Daae and her two loves: Erik/Phantom and Raoul de Changy. You will find that in this suspensful and romantic story that Christine has two choose between a life of security and caring with Raoul or a life of passion and soul binding music with Erik. As the story progesses you find yourself not wanting to put it down and wanting to know Christine's choices. I highly suggest that any Phantom fans out there don't pass up this book, Miss Swan has written a fine story and should be read by adoring Phantom fans and fans of romance as well!!!! It's worth your time!!!!! ~Ariel~
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I purchased this with high hopes after reading all the positive reviews. After so many disappointing PotO retellings, I thought for sure this would be wonderful.

It's not a bad book, it's just not breathtakingly brilliant. The story is interesting, and keeps you reading. You get to see in Christine's head a bit more, though I disagree with how the author portrayed Erik (my Erik is portrayed perfectly in Susan Kay's Phantom). All in all, not a bad addition to PotO stories.

On the negative side, grammatical and spelling errors are everywhere in it. This leads me to my next point. The author switched publishing companies, and is going to re-release this book as two separate books, and have the sequel be released under two books as well. So, if you are like me and enjoy having your books look the same within a series, wait until the new versions are published. I don't know if I'm going to pick up the sequels, mostly due to this. I was willing to give one or two books a shot...having read it, I'm not planning on getting the sequels (especially if they remain around the same price as this one was). It really wasn't worth the price, though it's not a bad book.

*edit* Apparently, now it will only be one new book, though the author has since taken this book off the market. Still probably worth new publishing, if just for the grammatical errors.
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