Nancy Burkhalter

on Tour

November 16-27


The Education of Delhomme

The Education of Delhomme

(historical fiction)

 Release date: November 17, 2020
at History Through Fiction

280 pages



Beaulieu Delhomme, a piano tuner, faces the guillotine for committing treason against the newly elected French president due to his part in the bloody worker uprisings in 1848. The one person who could save him from this fate is his former arch-rival, the celebrated author, George Sand. The plot leading to his imprisonment revolves around the triangle of composer Frédéric Chopin, his lover George Sand, and Delhomme, Chopin’s loyal piano tuner. Both Sand and Delhomme compete for the attention of Chopin, who fights a losing battle with tuberculosis. The president’s spymaster uses this triangle to lure cash-strapped Delhomme into exploiting his friendship with Chopin to spy on George Sand, whose fiery rhetoric threatens the new president.

At first, before the uprisings that marked a tumultuous period out of which France’s Second Republic grew, Delhomme favors preserving the status quo because any policy changes might jeopardize his (and Chopin’s) wealthy client base. Sand wields her pen against the oppressive laws and ridicules Delhomme for his views.
Delhomme changes his opinion of the monarchy when he sees how his nephew is abused as an orphan working in a piano factory in industrial London. Delhomme becomes a double agent, paid to spy for the president while secretly working for the resistance. Sand softens her contempt when she discovers that he has switched allegiances and now promotes workers’ rights.
Delhomme is caught working for the resistance, jailed in Paris’ infamous Conciergerie prison, and faces a trial for treason. Even Sand’s testimony is not enough to trump that of the vaunted spymaster, but her fame may be enough to persuade the new president to pardon him.

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The Education of Delhomme_Nancy Burkhalter

Photo Credit: Austin Irving

Nancy Burkhalter
is an educator, writer, journalist, linguist,
and piano tuner.
She holds a Master’s degree in journalism and English education,
as well as a Doctorate in linguistics
from the University of New Mexico.
She has taught composition for many years in the U.S.,
Germany, Saudi Arabia, Kazakhstan, and Russia.
Her overseas work led to an interest in comparative education,
especially critical thinking.
Both observations and research led to her book and blog,
Critical Thinking Now.
In 2019, she was a recipient of Go Back, Give Back,
a fellowship through the State Department
to train teachers in St. Petersburg, Russia.
A resident of Edmonds, Washington, Burkhalter loves to travel, write, and learn languages.

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Words And Peace

Beautifully crafted, this historical novel takes you in the heart of Paris life in the 1840s. Music and misery, art and hardship, beauty and danger. A must for all lovers of music or French history.

Locks, Hooks and Books

The Education of Delhomme is the first book I have read by Nancy Burkhalter and it definitely will not be the last. I was captivated reading this tale right from the start and continued to be until I read the last page. I enjoyed the rich historical details.

What an amazing story that has a piano tuner as the central character of a historical fiction about Frédéric Chopin, George Sand and 19th century France.
The Education of Delhomme Chopin, Sand & La France is indeed a commendable read for historical fiction readers. It is a captivating and marvellous read with a very detailed description of the music and art scenes in early 19th century and vivid characterisations of known historical personalities. Absolument.
Nancy Burkhalter has written a very unusual historical novel, the story of Frederic Chopin’s piano tuner, Delhomme.
Through various social events and concerts, we meet a cross section of Parisian society and thereby learn about the political situation in France, Poland and the rest of Europe.
What was very fascinating in the novel was the description of the art of piano tuning.
I recommend this book to any lovers of music and literature.


Author Mary Burkehalter has taken a little known part of French history and played it well through the eyes of real people.
I was struck with the loving descriptions of pianos and tuning.

Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Educational about the time period, as well as about Chopin and his paramour George Sand, an accomplished female author who adopted the mom de plume of a man.

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