“Carol Jean Delmar has written a lovely book about her parents, telling their story with care and affection. The result is a story that draws you in immediately to their loves and lives, and makes you rejoice in their company and marvel at their grace and dignity. Franz’s talk at Franziska’s grave is one of the most beautiful speeches I have ever read.  Serenade is a celebration of music, family, and one family’s amazing history.”


One of the world’s most beloved mezzo-sopranos


“Gripping and beautiful -- the story of the author’s parents, the musical culture that was a part of their being, the terror of having it all ripped away by the Nazis, is of course very familiar to me, and yet, as always, uniquely compelling to read. Carol Jean’s memoir is a significant contribution to the genre. Congratulations.”

Grandson of composers Arnold Schoenberg and Eric Zeisl
President of the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust

“Carol Jean Delmar serenades the reader in an enchanting and moving story that is both a tribute to her parents and a paean to the world of opera that she knows so well. Beyond the tale of a couple’s triumph over the scourge of the Holocaust, it is a testimony to the power of loyalty, love – and the civilizing power of music in a world that forever lost its innocence.”

The Simon Wiesenthal Center
“[A courtship] story that is told in charming and sometimes passionate detail . . . Serenade reminds us that the great events of history happen to flesh-and-blood human beings, a fact that [Carol Jean] Delmar understands and honors in her beautifully written and illustrated book. (Indeed, the snapshots, postcards, clippings and documents that adorn Serenade are among its greatest pleasures and most illuminating features.) She understands the exalting role that music played in the lives of her parents, which amount to a saga of love and survival, but she also appreciates that a bowl of cornflakes can be a symbol of liberation.”

Kirsch is a publishing attorney, the book editor of
The Jewish Journal, and author of The Short, Strange
Life of Herschel Grynszpan (W.W. Norton/Liveright)

“When I read the beginning of Carol Jean’s memoir about her parents, Franz and Franziska, I could picture the old beautiful Wien, with its romantic atmosphere, cafés, and glorious music. It was the perfect place for her parents to begin their everlasting love story, and therefore the place which was the most heartbreaking for them to leave. Carol Jean takes us on their uncertain journey from Vienna to the United States, with a flair for storytelling that weaves opera with history, and is soulful and compelling.”
--- VLADIMIR CHERNOV, Renowned baritone
Professor of Vocal Studies, UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music
Serenade is multi-layered. Although it is a factual memoir, it reads like a novel and contains many references to specific operas and roles. So, if you like a good story, you’ll enjoy the book. If you love opera, you’ll enjoy the book. And if you like a good story and love opera, this book was written just for you.”

WILLIAM TOUTANT, Emeritus Dean and Professor of Music
Host, KCSN Opera House with Bill Toutant
Mike Curb College of Arts, Media, and Communication
California State University, Northridge

Serenade . . . is a magnificent tribute to the amazing lifelong love of Franz Jung (later Frank Delmar) and Franziska Perger. . . . [It] is both a true love story and a historical sampler of suffering and triumph of the human spirit’s ability to love. Enriched with many actual photos and document reproductions from the Jungs’ pre-emigration collection, it is also a bereft daughter’s tribute to both of her beloved, heroic parents. Serenade should be read by students of opera, the Holocaust, history, and romance. It can be enjoyed on all levels, informing the heart, soul, and mind of inescapable truths of the endurance of love. Many tears will be shed in the reading of this book, all to the enrichment of the soul’s capacity for compassion.”

NANCY LORRAINE, Senior Reviewer
MBR Bookwatch -- The Midwest Book Review

“Carol Jean Delmar’s Serenade recalls indelible memories of a world gone mad while brilliantly integrating moments of joy and fear. Ms. Delmar is a writer of substance whose story sadly reawakens the injustices of an uncivilized world.”

The Creative Arts Temple, Los Angeles
Film and theater critic, author and producer

“Carol Jean Delmar has written a most sympathetic book about two lives lived under extraordinary circumstances. This is not just a compelling love story told over many decades, but also a recollection of what can and did happen to good-hearted people under an unimaginably cruel regime. Carol Jean is not only masterful at painting a big picture full of life, love and sorrow, but also chronicles the minutiae of survival so as to remind us that vigilance is the perpetual price of freedom, and that those who find comfort in the heart of another are especially blessed.”
Professor of Music and Director of Opera UCLA
Artistic Director, Seattle Opera Young Artists Program
“Carol Jean Delmar has painted a rich picture of the opera culture of pre-World War II Europe. . . . She recounts her parents’ forced odyssey from Hitler’s Europe to safety in America, which she sets in a moving narrative of their long loving relationship. As an opera critic and journalist, Carol Jean has delved into both her family history and the musical life of the era, to present a vivid illustration of the destructive and inexorable power of brutal politics on both innocent individuals and artistic life alike. There are still many true stories of Holocaust and personal survival to be told, and this is one that has a contemporary resonance of the belated discovery of both self, family, and the role of music in civilized life.”

Professor of History and Jewish Studies, Emeritus
Pennsylvania State University; author of Wagner -- Race and
(Yale University Press) and Heisenberg and the Nazi
Atomic Bomb Project
, 1939-1945 (University of California Press)

“I enjoy a good book, the type you pick up and discover, shortly after beginning, that you can’t put it down. So it is with Carol Jean Delmar’s memoir, Serenade, a trifecta of music and history weaved lovingly and beautifully together in delicate and sensual prose that tells a story that is fluid and compelling. . . . If you enjoy history, adventure, romance and plain old-fashioned storytelling you will enjoy this book. You will learn from it, tear-up over it, feel melancholy and elated in equal parts and, when you have completed reading it, you will feel immensely satisfied by the experience.”

PAUL JOSEPH WALKOWSKI, Arts Writer and Author 
From Trial Court to the United States Supreme Court

“It [Serenade] gives a glimpse of the world an aspiring opera singer entered. . . . It shows the tortuous path fleeing families took to get to America. . . . Along the way, they [the author’s parents] were fleeced, lied to, led on with false hopes and confounded by bureaucracy, but they persevered. And it’s an inspirational story . . . another version of the American Dream.”

LAWRENCE TOPPMAN, Theater-Film Critic, Arts Writer
‘State of the Art’:

“Her parents’ flight from Nazi Germany to Hollywood prompted Delmar, now an opera critic, to produce this vivid portrait of the couple’s leap for freedom. Using her father’s audiotapes as source material, the author presents the Delmars’ romance like an opera in three acts.”


“[I]t is unlikely that there will be [other tales] more imbued with such . . . authorial passion.”

MARTIN RUBIN, Freelance critic
Review, The Washington Times




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