- Paperback: 220 pages
- Publisher: TreasureLine Publishing; 2nd edition (June 28, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1617520004
- ISBN-13: 978-1617520006
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 21 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,166,029 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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In The Eye Of The Beholder: A Novel of the Phantom of the Opera Paperback – June 28, 2009
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I felt a little swept away and once I started reading, it was hard to stop. - Romance, Old School
The characters captivated me. I ended up thinking of Claire as an actual person. - J. Timothy King, author of "From The Ashes of Courage"
About the Author
Sharon E. Cathcart is a former journalist and newspaper editor. She is the co-author of "Born of War ... Dedicated to Peace," and the author of "Les Pensees Dangereuses." A former equestrian athlete and long-time Phantom fan, Sharon has combined two of her favorite activities in her debut novel: "In The Eye of The Beholder." Sharon lives in the Silicon Valley, California, with one husband, five cats and two dogs.
Top customer reviews
Having just finished it, I'll give some thoughts.
First and foremost, it is important to be able to let go of your own visions or images of the Phantom's/Erik's character while reading this story. Failure to do so will leave you frustrated with some of Erik's choices, manners and dialogue. Sharon makes note of this in her prologue that everyone has their own idea of who the Phantom is. I certainly have my own ideas and not all of them jive with Sharon's. Nevertheless, don't let those things be a stumbling block to accepting the story for what it is and letting it be told.
Second, I like how the author borrowed multiple elements from many of the "canon" Phantom backstories. You will find that Sharon has borrowed elements from Leroux's Erik, Andrew Lloyd Webber's and Joel Schumacher's. I was happy that the Persian is present in this story, for example, and that Erik's backstory working for the Shah is referenced.
The pacing of the story is somewhat inconsistent. The first few chapters of the story fly by far too quickly. I would've liked it more had the author spent more time developing the romance between Claire and Erik. As it is, the falling in love between them is too quick and fantastical for me to suspend my disbelief during those portions. Once they are established as a couple, however, things get better. The second half of the book gives more depth to the emotions of the characters and in some ways has a shifted tone which is suitable given the change in locale and lifestyle (saying more than that would be spoiling it).
Joseph Merrick's cameo is nicely integrated into the book and, indeed, his scenes were perhaps my favorite. As has been noted by other reviewers, Merrick's real life case provides a nice parallel to Erik's fictional predicament. Indeed, I actually wish Erik and Joseph had exchanged more dialogue and gotten to know one another more deeply. I believe such a conversation would have added many more layers of depth to both Erik and Claire.
Also, no review is complete without it being said that this book has plenty of tantalizing bits of Phantom Phantasization.
Overall, I'd recommend this book to people who enjoy reading different perspectives on the Phantom of the Opera. This book doesn't have the quality of widespread appeal but it does have those bits which will appeal to niche audiences like Phanatics, equestrian hobbyists and folks interested in the social status of women in the late 19th century.
I have somewhat of a hobby of reading every phantom based book that comes my way. I think the author of this novel has a good storyline, but doesn't know how to develop the plot or the characters to add depth. Everything in this book seems very rushed. On one page Erik reveals himself to the heroine, two pages later they're having hot sex, then a few pages later they're madly in love and getting married. The result is huge plot holes, undeveloped characters that are hard to identify with or care about and events in the novel that quite honestly sound pretty implausible.
The end of the novel is rather frustrating as we learn in a few pages that not only has Erik been ill and died but his wife was pregnant and had his child. The way it's written was almost as a afterthought.
Despite the criticisms I will recommend this book as it is the forerunner of the author's next two books in this series which I found very entertaining and well-worth reading. They were written several years after Eye of the beholder and it is obvious that the author spent time developing her writing skills.
Upon first glance, this appears to be a typical romance based on the story of "The Phantom of the Opera." However, it is actually much more than that. It is a many-faceted story of a strong-willed, highly independent woman who finds herself at the mercy of others following the deaths of her beloved father and fiancé. A woman who, upon finding love again, must cope with her new husband's insecurities that he carries due to the prejudices and cruelties of mankind, and her own fear that he will never forget his love for another woman. It is the story of a woman who must learn to fit into a foreign society, where her efforts to form friendships are rebuffed and she finds herself the victim of prejudice and the object of gossip. It is, above all, the story of a man and a woman struggling to maintain love in their marriage through difficult times.
There is a dramatic shift in tone that occurs halfway through this book that almost makes it seem like reading two different books. The first time I read this book, I found that shift to be disconcerting. This time, I see that it was necessary to show how life changed for Claire and Erik as they tried to make a new life in a new country.
Most recent customer reviews
I personally loved the story of The Phantom of the Opera and the Broadway show, which is why I was drawn...Read more