The tortures of the Inquisition wouldn't induce me to confess to reading historical romances, so Mozart's Wife is perforce a historical love story. It's the first-person narrative of Konstanze Marie, nee Weber and in later life Nissen, who has been almost exclusively vilified or ignored through seven generations of her husband's biographers. They see a great genius dead at thirty-five, an unmarked grave and a widow minting cash from his manuscripts. Konstanze's story redresses the balance with an engaging and thoroughly engrossing picture of life as a woman in the late eighteenth century - the complexities of love and marriage, the practicalities of running a household, the horror of "dishonour" and the agony and danger of childbirth - and, in Konstanze's case, the additional complication of her brilliant, charming, vulgar, gentle, generous, philandering, feckless, irresistible and totally incorrigible husband. Though nearly immune to his musical gifts (her favourite of his operas, not unjustifiably in the circumstances, is the one that made the most money), Konstanze clearly contributes more to the survival of his work than the great man himself ever thought of doing. But although Konstanze touchingly recounts her life after Wolfgang's death, it's the Mozarts' life together that takes up most of the book, and it's the details of that life that compel the attention - the characterisation of Mozart's cold, stern and uppity family; the moving from place to place, buoyed up by an adoring Prague only to be dragged down by an indifferent Vienna; the endless, unwinnable battle to try and clear up the disaster area that is Mozart's finances; the exhausting and perilous ordeals of pregnancy, childbirth and what is nowadays blandly called "infant mortality". If, towards the end of the book, Konstanze starts to behave very much like the hard-nosed money-grubber her detractors have accused her of being, it's more a cause for sadness than surprise. Her story doesn't end there, however, and in an exquisitely moving scene at Mozart's grave she finally makes her peace with his memory. Written with a light touch behind which lies a huge wealth of research, Mozart's Wife is definitely historical, decidedly unromantic, and quite captivating.