When First We Practice To Deceive

 

whenfirst2Imagine how it feels to lose your memory, piece by piece, to find large parts of your day vanish as if they had never been. This is what happens to thirty-two year old Lenore Whitehall. Along with her husband and two children, she has returned to the small town where she grew up. She spirals into a nightmare world, one where she becomes the reincarnation of Polish composer Frederic Chopin and sets off a clash between the only two men who can help her, close friends for many years, Dr. Patrick Flynn and Father John McNulty, both icons in the small Midwestern town of Caddo, Nebraska.

After Lenore begins spitting up blood, her husband Matt assembles the pieces to the puzzle that has overtaken their lives. When he finds her playing classical music on the piano with vehemence and passion in the middle of the night, he realizes the seriousness of their situation. Lenore doesn’t know how to play piano; in addition, she has an aversion to the baby grand that has been in her family for over a hundred years. Lenore vaguely remembers a similar experience when she was a child and thinks Dr. Adams, deceased, the family doctor when she was growing up, may have chronicled it in his journals, now in the hands of Dr. Flynn. As Lenore displays more and more symptoms of a tuberculosis patient, Matt realizes that she is taking on not only the personality but also the illness of Frederic Chopin, an illness from which he died. After much pleading on the part of Lenore and Matt as well as Father McNulty to share the journals, Dr. Flynn begins to read them. He discovers that Lenore did indeed have a similar experience as a child and that Dr. Adams had stumbled across the only way to help her. There is a catch. Dr. Adams had also written about a deep secret of Dr. Flynn, one that will ruin him if exposed, and one that has haunted and tormented him for over six decades. Dr. Adams died the night after he discovered the way to help Lenore, before he was able to take action.

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