Friday, December 18, 2015

Review: The Violinist of Venice: A Story of Vivaldi by Alyssa Palombo

Title: The Violinist of Venice: A Story of Vivaldi
Author: Alyssa Palombo
Format: ARC
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publish Date: December 15, 2015
Source: Publisher

What's the Story?:

From "A sweeping historical novel of composer and priest Antonio Vivaldi, a secret wealthy mistress, and their passion for music and each other

Like most 18th century Venetians, Adriana d'Amato adores music-except her strict merchant father has forbidden her to cultivate her gift for the violin. But she refuses to let that stop her from living her dreams and begins sneaking out of her family's palazzo under the cover of night to take violin lessons from virtuoso violinist and composer Antonio Vivaldi. However, what begins as secret lessons swiftly evolves into a passionate, consuming love affair.

Adriana's father is intent on seeing her married to a wealthy, prominent member of Venice's patrician class-and a handsome, charming suitor, whom she knows she could love, only complicates matters-but Vivaldi is a priest, making their relationship forbidden in the eyes of the Church and of society. They both know their affair will end upon Adriana's marriage, but she cannot anticipate the events that will force Vivaldi to choose between her and his music. The repercussions of his choice-and of Adriana's own choices-will haunt both of their lives in ways they never imagined.

Spanning more than 30 years of Adriana's life, Alyssa Palombo's The Violinist of Venice is a story of passion, music, ambition, and finding the strength to both fall in love and to carry on when it ends."

My Two Cents: 

"The Violinist of Venice" is the story of a fictional mistress of Antonio Vivaldi, the famous composer. Just because I love historical fiction and didn't really know much about Vivaldi himself I decided to read this book. This book was so much more and really blew me away with the detail and the wonderful love story at its core. The fact that it's set in Venice, a place that I'm fascinated with, doesn't hurt either. This book is a great treat for historical fiction readers!

In this book, we meet Adriana, a woman from a wealthy family who has been essentially sequestered in her home by her father. Adriana has a love and a talent for music so she meets Antonio Vivaldi and asks him to become her teacher covertly. He does so and as he teaches her they also fall in love. There's just one issue all a few issues the volley is a priest and Adriana is promised to another man who her father is keen on her marrying to to his family name and immense wealth. Come to find out, Adriana is a fictional character and I was very disappointed when I read that in the authors note at the end because the love story between her and Vivaldi  feels so real that I wanted it to be true.

Interestingly enough, the author was inspired to create Adriana because she wanted to explain the origins of the Vivaldi's protégé, Anna Maria.  She was thought to be Vivaldi's mistress but others had a theory that she was actually his daughter. I loved how that little seed of a theory informed such a great story.

The romance between Vivaldi and Adriana has so many twists and turns and you can see how much they want to be with each other that you really want things to work out for the both of them. This book gave me a lot of insight into who Vivaldi, maker of gorgeous music, was as a man. The detail in this book is really wonderful. The author does a great job of weaving a wholly believable story filled with historical facts and intrigue that really make the characters come to life. The details are gorgeous. I especially like all of the detail that the author added about Venice in the book. Overall, this was a fantastic book. I didn't want it to end and found myself reading  slower and slower as the number of pages wound down so that the book lasted longer for me. That is definitely the mark of a good book!



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