Tuesday, June 14, 2011

So Faithful A Heart--by K. Lynette Erwin - Book Review

The full title of this book is, 'So Faithful A Heart:  The Love Story of Nancy Storace and Wolfgang Mozart', but it wouldn't fit in the header space.  In some ways this was groundbreaking for me technically.  I read this book via an Amazon Kindle app for my PC initially, and finished reading it using a similar app (both free) for my phone.  Yep, 150 pages or so read on my Droid.  Ain't technology grand?

If your idea of great music is 'Lynyrd Skynyrd' and great romance is 'The Batchelorette' you may stop reading here.  In fact it's possible you may have stopped reading altogether.  If, on the other hand, the soaring notes of Mozart's Requiem leave you breathless, as they do me, and the plight of Madama Butterfly in Puccini's opera brings tears to your eyes, then this is a book you want to read.

Writers of historical fiction usually take one of two paths; they put fictitious characters into real situations, or they have historical characters do things in an alternate reality.  K. Lynette Erwin, a noted Storace and Mozart historian, and a lyric soprano herself, chose a much more difficult path.  Part history sleuth, part imagineer, a she chose to portray what may very well have happened between these two rich historical figures.  She uses all the evidence she can muster and then creates a completely plausible story that brings dry facts to vivid life.

Mostly the public is aware of the sanitized version of Mozart's life, and perhaps a few myths or half-truths suggested by 'Amadeus', but Erwin leads us to a much deeper understanding of what was more likely, and her scholarship and research is evident on every page.

Make no mistake, this is a romance.  There are liaisons aplently that will raise the heart rate of fans of the genre, but sex is only a small part of the story.  What sets this apart from the crowded field of bodice rippers is two-fold.  First, these are real people, not the fantasy of some paint-by-numbers author cranking out another formula page-turner.  Second is the attention to detail and a sophisticated and nuanced approach to help us understand the time in which these people lived and the heart-wrenching sacrifices each made for the other.  Perhaps most importantly, this book reveals that true love triumphs over time and circumstance and lives on, even if only in the heart.

I spent years as a classical music broadcaster on radio (it's what you do when you have no musical talent, but love it nonetheless) so I am familiar with Mozart's work and story, yet time after time I was surprised and delighted by some new fact that illuminated such a storied life and glorious music.

Lovers of romance should be swept away by the scope and sensitivity of the portrayals in this book.  Lovers of great music and some of the forces that inform the work of composers touched by genius will find much to admire in this work.  Readers of an historical bent will relish with satisfaction the fine detail, and those who are touched by portrayals of the titanic forces of love, duty, honor and sacrifice will perhaps feel a tear or two slide silently down their cheek.  Open your heart and find a place for this book and it will open its heart to you.

Available in just about every format, including Kindle, Nook, Smashwords and as a trade paperback from Lulu.com.  Should be easier to find than your car keys!

ISBN 978-0-557-35652-2
Copyright K. Lynette Erwin (Standard Copyright License)
Edition Second Edition
Publisher Alla Breve

No comments:

Post a Comment