15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
A Fascinating Read,
This review is from: Vissi d'arte - Love and Music (Kindle Edition)
Another great book by Joanna Stephen-Ward. Set predominantly in Australia, the story takes the reader into the world of opera training in Melbourne. The story itself is "operatic" in the high drama that takes place among the students and their choices in life and love. As in her book Eumeralla, much of the story pivots around a secret. The author makes interesting choices and introduces plot twists that take the reader by surprise. Just when you think you've got it all figured out, the story moves in an unexpected direction, but one that makes sense, as if you should have seen it coming all along.
The story weaves the ordinary with the extraordinary, old age with youth, success with failure. Gawky youths become magnificent divas, transformed by the magic of art, music, costumes - and rigorous discipline; then off-stage they once again become young people who must deal with their insecurities, doubts, and day to day concerns.
Reading about the main character alone makes this book worthwhile. Harriet Shaw, the fictional founder of the National Theatre, captures our attention by her forceful personality, her commitment to art, and the power her secret has over her (I love reading about older heroines and they're not that easy to come by). Ward's books have a movie-like quality to them: rich in drama, incredibly visual, and inhabited by engaging characters who are strong and unpredictable, yet always identifiable.