Vienna Nocturne: A Novel by Vivien Shotwell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I received a free ARC from a Goodreads giveaway. My review is based on the ARC, so some elements of the book may change between the ARC and the final published copy.
This book starts out in 1776, when young Anna Storace is just starting her singing career. It soon jumps ahead to her career in Vienna. She meets many of the composers of the day. One of the first she meets is Salieri. I immediately flashed back to Amadeus, and figured that when Salieri was mentioned, Mozart would be appearing soon enough. And, shortly after this, there he was. The book details Anna's romantic life, especially with Mozart, who was already married at the time. Anna herself marries the abusive John Fisher, and gives birth to a child who dies shortly after birth. It continues through the closing concert in Vienna in 1787, then jumps ahead to 1801. (These are not spoiler alerts. These are historical facts. Here is the link to the Wikipedia article on Anna: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anna_Sto... )
Obviously, anytime you blend fact and fiction, some elements are going to be changed. The relationship between Mozart and Anna was probably fiction. Also, *Spoiler Alert* the novel has Anna's baby dying within a week of birth, when in reality the baby lived for 6 months. The music descriptions are excellent, but given that the author is a singer herself, this should be expected.
The one flaw I found in the book was the ending. It seemed a bit too abrupt. *Spoiler alert* After her farewell concert in Vienna in 1787, the book quotes 3 letters, then jumps ahead to her return concert in Vienna in 1801. It stops right before the concert starts. It reminded me of the title cards at the end of a movie telling what happened to the characters. I would have liked a little more description of the years between 1787 and 1801, as well as some of the years after 1801 (she died in 1817.) Otherwise, a very good book.
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