Thursday, April 3, 2014

Review: Vienna Nocturne by Vivien Shotwell

Publisher: Bond Street Books
Pages: 256
Received: Received a copy from Random House of Canada in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: February 25, 2014
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Goodreads Synopsis:

Vienna Nocturne tells the story of the turbulent life and brilliantly successful career of young British opera singer Anna Storace, a child prodigy who is taken by her parents to Italy at age thirteen to advance her career. In love with life and wildly ambitious, Anna wants everything--to be famous, to be loved--and this leads her to make some fatal choices. We watch her turn from a carefree young girl to a passionate young woman, and it is during this transformation that her affair with Mozart blossoms. The story of their love, no less powerful for being forbidden, is reminiscent of the passionate thwarted romances described in Loving Frank and Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. Written in melodious prose by a young author studying opera at Yale, Vienna Nocturne is dramatic story of a woman's battle to find love and fame in an 18th-century world that controls and limits her at every turn.

My Review:

Vivien Shotwell has brought to life an intriguing character, Anna Storace is amazing, and is someone who is very ambitious in her career. I really enjoyed learning about Anna's life and how hard she had to work to get her career started, and how difficult it was for someone like her to be recognized in a different country as a professional. Readers can see Anna grow over the course of the book, she is young and immature and it really shows, but she grows a lot and learns about love from the many men in her life.

The one thing I went into this book hoping for was a strong focus on the affair with Mozart and really getting to see Mozart as a primary character, but I think this part of the story fell short for me. I felt that it took awhile to get into the story of Anna and Mozart, and it ends so quickly. Mozart was a secondary character and this component of the story fell into the background, the story was more a focus on Anna and her life and choices as she grows over the years.

I can say that I did enjoy the writing of the story, Vivien does a beautiful job of describing the profession of an opera singer. The descriptions of the way these characters sing and how serious they take it just touched my heart and felt so eloquent, like what I imagine an opera singer to be. I love books that bring an artistic talent to life, it adds to the story so much.

I did enjoy the scenes between Anna and Mozart, I think he helped her grow a lot over the course of the book, but in all honesty, I wanted more of those two. I felt that the romance did not come out well enough in the short span of the book. As much as I enjoyed many parts of this book, the part that really caught my attention in the synopsis was the one part that didn't really meet expectations. Much of the writing in this book is beautiful and captivating for readers, and I do recommend the book for historical fiction fans, but don't go into it expecting a lot on the romance front. 


  1. I think it's SO cool that Mozart is a character.

  2. This sounds similar to Mrs Poe (except with Mozart) and it sounds like it suffers from many of the same problems. It's too bad Mozart wasn't more central.



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