Friday, 19 November 2010

Mozart's Sister

Author: Nancy Moser
Genre: Historical Fiction
Type: E-book (Kindle for iPhone)

Synopsis: Wolfgang and his sister Nannerl were raised from birth to love and excel at music. At a young age their parents toured their children around Europe to play for royalty. Wolfgang received many accolades but sadly, Nannerl was always in the background wanting to get acceptance and acclaim in her own right from her audience and especially from her father. Nannerl learns first hand the inequality of the sexes in the 18th century.

My Thoughts: I've always had a love for Baroque music and really enjoy playing it on the piano. Mozart is one of my favourites and I especially loved seeing the movie "Amadeus" waaay back in the 80's that featured Mozart's life. When I saw the title for this book in the Kindle store it intrigued me that the focus wasn't on Wolfgang but on his practically uknown older sister.

This is a good historical fiction novel and my only gripe was that it lagged quite a bit in the middle. There is only so much one can write about illness, travel, Nannerl deferring to her father's demands time and again ... before it becomes redundant and boring. Truth be told, Nannerl's life probably was quite boring (not being able to do the one thing she loved and excelled at) .... but I don't necessarily want to read a lot about the boring parts of her life. I did enjoy the last third of the book but wish the middle third of the book was just as interesting. I think the final third of the book was more interesting because we finally see a personality in Nanneral emerge. Until then, she's so meek that she's almost non-existent.

What I did find fascinating was getting a glimpse into the life of a woman during the 1700's who was extremely talented ... yet almost forgotten. For the simple fact that she was born a girl, her talent was wasted playing second fiddle to her younger brother. She was a level-headed woman who was always obedient to her father. I could empathize with her situation but there were several times when I would have wanted her to make different choices and put herself first. Since the author used letters written by the Mozart family to each other Moser had little leeway in which to write how Nannerl's life unfolds.

Even though I know how Wolfgang's life ends I still found it interesting to have a 'behind the scenes' view that his family had of his wild ways towards the end of his life. A good read, but not a great one.

My Rating: 3/5 stars

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