Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Mozart's Sister - Rita Charbonnier


The fascinating life of Wolfgang’s older sister, Nannerl—whose talent may have equaled her brother’s

Maria Anna Walburga Ignatia Mozart, affectionately called Nannerl by her family, could play the piano with an otherworldly skill from the time she was a child. At the tender age of five, she gave her first public performance, amazing the assembled gentlemen and ladies with the beautiful music she created.

Yet it was her brother, Wolfgang, who carried their father’s dreams of glory. As the siblings matured, Nannerl’s prodigious talent was brushed aside. Instead of playing alongside her brother in the world’s great cities, she was forced to stop performing and become a provincial piano teacher to support Wolfgang’s career. Nannerl might have accepted this life in her brother’s shadow but for the appearance of a potential suitor who reawakened her passion for life, for love, for music—and who threatened to upset the delicate balance that kept the Mozart family in harmony.


I thought this book was fantastic! Mozart is a household name, yet little is known about h
is prodigy sister. The story was very compelling and I felt the heartbreak and frustration with the protagonist (Mozart's sister). The story is told through different mediums - various letters, although most of the tale is told following Nannerl's point of view. It follows her growth from a young girl full of promise, to a bitter young woman, and ends as she finds herself a mature, grown woman who creates her own happiness. I was pleased to find this book was well researched - Mozart's travels, Nannerl composing, the beliefs and actions of the time period - all of these things are true. The liberties taken during this story to make it a fiction of work are very believable - and probably not too far off from what could have happened.


I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. Full of truth, yet without the stagnancy of a history text, there is much to be learned from this novel. The prose was well-written, the plot well thought out - overall a very well put together book. It has a little bit of everything - romance, drama, and most of all, music.


Firstly, the music lovers - this would speak to you. Historical fiction lovers would also love this novel, as well as those who enjoy a strong female figure.


  1. One of my favorite books without a doubt. Beautifully written. Could not put it town. I cannot wait to read her other books.

  2. It's too bad I can't read Italian - she has another book out involving Alexander Dumas (who I WORSHIP after reading Count of MonteCristo)...but it hasn't been translated yet. Or not that I know of. But it sounds intriguing!


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