Thursday, April 30, 2015
Review: The Queen's Soprano
HMH Books for Young Readers, August 2007
About the Book
Seventeen-year-old Angelica Voglia loves to sing. But she lives in seventeenth-century Rome, and the pope has forbidden women to sing in public. To make matters worse, her controlling mother is determined to marry her off to a wealthy nobleman, even though Angelica is in love with a poor French artist.
Angelica's only hope to sing before an audience—and escape a forced marriage—is to flee to Queen Christina’s court, where she will become the queen’s soprano. But she soon discovers that the palace walls are not completely secure . . . and that her freedom will require an even greater sacrifice than she imagined.
Set in seventeenth century Rome during the rule of Pope Innocent XI, The Queen’s Soprano is the story of Angelica Voglia, a talented young woman who ultimately ended up taking refuge in Queen Christina’s court when it became too dangerous for her to remain with her own family. At the time, women were forbidden by the Pope to sing in public. For a woman to take the stage—no matter how talented—would be the undoing of men. Even women singing sacred songs—religious ones—led men to feel “lustful” thoughts or so the Pope’s argument went.
Angelica’s story is simple really. She’s just a young woman who wanted to sing, who loved to sing, who couldn’t imagine going through life without singing. She didn’t want to entangle men. It was her mother’s crafty plans to use her voice to ensnare a rich, noble husband. Angelica didn’t want or need that. She wanted someone to love, yes, but not to be possessed by someone she didn’t love, could never love.
The Queen’s Soprano is rich in detail. Angelica’s story is fascinating especially in the realization that this—while fiction—is based on a true historical figure. What we actually know of her we learn from Queen Christina’s records. Of course fiction has been blended in as well. But still it makes for a good, enjoyable read. For those who love historical fiction, I’d definitely recommend this one
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