Sunday, July 7, 2013

Vivaldi's Muse by Sarah Bruce Kelly


Several years ago, I participated in a local Independent Author Book Festival and was delighted to meet Sarah Bruce Kelly, with whom I shared a table. During the lulls of typical down time, we chatted and discovered that we have much in common. We traded books and became mutual fans and supporters of our works.

My review of Kelly’s Vivaldi’s Muse offers a peek into the subject matter that you can anticipate devouring:

Annina Giro is a spunky, young girl who knows exactly what she wants--to be a famous opera singer. She is enduring life with an emotionally detached mother and a father who doesn't know what to do after his wife abruptly leaves, and circumstances beyond his control are sending his business spiraling into a disastrous state. Fragile Annina is destined to study music in Venice upon the offer to be sponsored by the ill-intentioned, wealthy Duke of Massa Carrara.

Thus begins her struggle to survive and even excel in the highly competitive world of Italian opera. By the hand of Providence, she is finally able to begin her musical training under Antonio Vivaldi, renowned maestro and Priest. Their twenty-some year platonic (only they know for certain) relationship was the topic of rumors and gossip throughout the opera community and beyond. Could Annina ever find love when she compared every man she met to her beloved mentor, Antonio Vivaldi?

Sarah Bruce Kelly tells this fascinating story following extensive research on the characters and the subject matter. She transports us back to 18th century Italy in such a descriptive manner, the reader can easily feel like a casual observer positioned directly into the sidelines of the setting. Highly recommended!

Book Description

VIVALDI'S MUSE is an award-winning historical novel based on over a decade of ground-breaking research by music historian/author Sarah Bruce Kelly. The story reveals the truth about the intriguing and mysterious relationship of priest/composer Antonio Vivaldi and his famous "Muse" Anna Girò.

Summary by Sarah Bruce Kelly

Set in early 18th-century Venice, Vivaldi’s Muse explores the life of Anna “Annina” Girò, Antonio Vivaldi’s longtime protégée. Annina first falls under the spell of the fiery and intriguing prete rosso (red-haired priest) at a young age, when Vivaldi is resident composer at the court of Mantua, her hometown. Stifled by the problems of her dysfunctional family, she has long dreamed of pursuing operatic stardom, and her attraction to the enchanting Venetian maestro soon becomes inseparable from that dream.

She eventually joins him in Venice, but her road to theatrical success is rife with obstacles such as malicious rival singers, disparaging impresarios, and unscrupulous noble patrons. Rumors about the nature of Annina's relationship with her beloved mentor, Vivaldi, abound and lead to dire problems yet, ironically, draw them closer together. But her growing guilt about her secret longing for him, complicated by her inherent fears of rejection and abandonment, threaten to poison their relationship from within. In the end she discovers that their love for each other has grown into something that transcends their personal relationship¾ and she finds true love when she least expects it.
About the Author

Sarah Bruce Kelly is a professional musician and scholar of music history. She holds Masters degrees in Liberal Arts and Music and is the author of two previous historical novels: The Red Priest’s Annina and Jazz Girl. She lives on the South Carolina Coast with her husband, Frank, and teaches Latin, Italian and Fine Arts at a private school and local university.
Sarah Bruce Kelly
Visit with Sarah at and take some time to absorb this story of Italian musical history!

Just a special note: If you are intrigued by all things Italy, you may want to travel with four non-Italian speaking female tourists on an unguided tour of Italy by reading From Italy with Love & Limoncello. Visit for links to all formats including print, Kindle and Nook. You will walk every step of the journey beside us!

I'll be seeing you soon with another awesome book recommendation and review!!

Mary Anne

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