"All I wanted was to be loved for myself."
Another chapter in the life of the infamous Phantom of the Opera, as penned by Gaston Leroux, continues when he leaves Paris and moves to Malta in search of a new beginning. Clothed in secrecy, he purchases The Royal Opera House in Valletta, which has been destroyed by a devastating fire. In an attempt to bury the pain of his past, the burned-out shell becomes his new obsession. He is determined to resurrect the structure from ashes and return it to glory.
To raise funds for his task, he holds a masquerade and encounters a strange woman who prophesies his destiny of undoing and death. Her words haunt the Opera Ghost, but he continues on his path of restoration. After years of hard work, the gala reopening occurs. The Phantom is convinced he has reached the pinnacle of success in his life. He rests in peace over his accomplishments.
For sheer amusement, he takes on a new student, which leads him down a path of romance, mystery, and danger. His fortune unfolds before him, and he discovers he cannot hide from those who seek retribution for his former sins. He is forced to reap the consequences and comes face-to-face with his darkest demons and fears. In the end, his insatiable hunger for beauty is challenged to the core. Will he survive the obstacles he encounters or will this finally be his undoing and death?
Imprint: Holland Legacy Publishing
Hopkins' depiction of our small island is masked in Gothic imagery. Valletta is painted as seeping with darkness, threatening to cover all semblance of truth so reality is hidden from view.
The Phantom of Valletta brings many wondrous things to the pages Hopkins vividly pens. Romance, passion, mystery, murder and mayhem, drama, music, action, and grand scope of how the power of love can heal all, and that appearances don’t matter when choosing someone to share your life with. I thoroughly enjoyed this new twist on the age-old Phantom of the Opera tale, and highly praise the author for her inventiveness, great character development, and a story well told.
The Phantom of Valletta was a joy to write! When I sat down to pick a location to set the story, I did some simple Internet searches on opera houses destroyed in the 19th century. The Royal Opera House of Valletta popped up, and after reading the story of its creation and subsequent demise due to a devastating fire, I thought it the perfect place to take the Phantom.
Though the story is set in 1874, I loosely based that dateline on the movie version that indicated 1870, rather than other versions that place the storyline somewhat later. Let's call it creative liberty. I have no regrets in doing so because the outcome of my choice proved to be a wise one. It is a perfect location and backdrop for this suspenseful mystery novel, which brings Leroux's characters on a new adventure.
However, little did I know when I wrote the book, that the location held a very passionate place in the hearts of many. I am very appreciative of the Maltese, who have embraced the story and me as an author. Even though The Royal Opera House no longer exists, it still holds a very special place and love in the hearts of the residents of Valletta. Originally opened in 1866, the interior was destroyed by a devastating fire in 1873. After four years of reconstruction, it was reopened in 1877, only to be destroyed once again in World War 2 by bombers. It was never rebuilt.
The Sunday Times, Malta, approached me and wrote a special book review and interview in August of 2010 regarding the release of The Phantom of Valletta. To read the contents, feel free to visit my author website or The Phantom of Valletta website, which contains links to the review and a special review by the University of Malta as well.
I hope you enjoy the unique setting on the dark Gothic streets of Valletta.