In Mozart’s Shadow by Carolyn Meyer

I hate to say this….but this book took me forever to read. And even though it took me forever to read…I still liked it. Funny, isn’t it? I don’t think I was in the mood to read an historical fiction novel. Who knows?

Anyway…I’ll keep this short and sweet. Basically this is about Nannerl, Wolfgang Mozart’s older sister. At least it is from her perspective. We get to know how well of a musician she is and how unfair it was for her as a woman, not to be able to live the life of a musician like she so badly wanted. We see all the jealousy that this brings, because Wolfgang or Wolferl, his childhood nickname, goes from being a child prodigy and becomes one of the most sought after musicians in Europe. Nannerl is left behind and falls in love with an older man, Armand, that her father disapproves of. She is forced to only be friends with Armand, because without her father’s approval they are not allowed to marry in that society. She then meets another man, sorry I forgot his name, and with him comes his 5 children. The children are unruly and life for Nannerl is hell. She wishes to become pregnant so that she can have someone that loves her unconditionally. Her wish finally comes true and she is graced with a boy. She gives birth to the boy in her families house and is talked into leaving him with her father. It is months before she is able to see him again. She sees the love and devotion both her father and son have for each other and she chooses to leave her son with her father again. This lasts for a short period of time, until her father dies. Nannerl ends up having another child after several more die not long after birth. She survives both her parents and Wolfgang.

 

In this story woven from a females perspective in the mid to late 1700s, we get to witness what it was like for Mozart’s sister Nannerl. Although throughout her life she is faced with disappointment and jealousy, she survives as a strong woman.

I enjoyed hearing a different side of this story. At points it did drag a little with all the historical facts and figures, but was interesting to read about.

Duchessina: A Novel of Catherine De’Medici by Carolyn Meyer

I’ve been really slow on posting the books that I’ve been reading on here. I don’t know if it’s just that I forget or I’m just that lazy. Probably the later. I read this about a week or two ago, so I don’t remember everything about it, but I’ll do my best.

The story follows Catherine as a young girl in Italy and through her traumatic life until she becomes Queen of England.

I really like these kinds of stories, because it lets the author and reader make up a story from what little is known in history about famous historical figures. This story in particular was a very sad one. Catherine went through so much pain and suffering and never once did she have complete happiness. For someone to live their entire lives unhappy or at least just content makes me sad. She grew up without parents and was under the popes rule her entire life. The pope decided what her life was going to be like and in the end chose her husband for her even though neither of them had met or ever loved each other.

Catherine did have a love, her cousin Ippolito, but once the pope found out that there was an attraction there, he made Ippolito a cardinal so that they could not be together. Sadly, Ippolito died before they could reunite later in life when they were older.

Catherine then was married of to Prince Henry I, who later became King Henry I. Henry was in love with an older widow and never displayed any sort of caring emotion towards Catherine. The only reason he would come to her bed some nights was because he was made to by either his father or the widow herself. Catherine did give him children and most importantly she gave him sons.

I really enjoyed this read, even though it was sad at times. It was well written and really made you feel for Catherine and all the hardships. Carolyn Meyer writes a lot of historical fiction for young adults and I am more than willing to pick up another one of them.