Monday, March 09, 2009

Review: The Musician's Daughter

The Musician's Daughter
Susanne Dunlap
December 2008; Bloomsbury Children's Books; 978-1-599990-332-3 (hardcover)
Book provided by the author

Summary: Theresa lives in Vienna, a glittering city of music. As the daughter of a violinist in service to Prince Nicholas Esterhazy, Theresa is focused on learning music and trying to avoid her mother's disapproval of her viola playing. But then her father is murdered, and Theresa is thrust into a tangled mystery. What kind of man was her father and what was he involved in that lead to his death? What is the strange medallion found on his body and what happened to his violin? Theresa is out to find the answers . . . at any cost.

This action-packed historical mystery belies the chick-lit cover and pulls in the reader. This is due mostly to the character of Theresa. She is a headstrong, impulsive, clever fifteen-year-old, able to play a large role in the world she discovers yet still acting like the teenager she is. As she seeks to find the reason for her father's murder, the world of Vienna in the late eighteenth century is brought to life. The issues of the day--tense relations between Austria and Hungary, discrimination against ethnic groups like the Gypsies, and the ill health of Empress Maria Theresa--rub against everyday problems like surviving after the death of the family breadwinner and a girl's desire for more than a husband and babies. And through it all, there's music. The subplot of Franz Joseph Haydn and his declining eyesight weaves through the story, showing the power of music to lift spirits, even amidst tragedy and adversity.

For teens who like historical fiction that features a strong-willed girl and a sprawling plot, The Musician's Daughter would fit the bill. Recommend this to readers of The Luxe series and Bewitching Season.


Beth Kephart said...

Wonderful to be introduced to this novel—many thanks.

Em said...

Sounds like a good one, I'll have to check it out.

Anonymous said...

I read this for a book report and absolutely loved it!! (I'm in 8th grade, but in an advanced class. My mom liked it too)

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:
I read this for a book report and loved it but its a little confusing

Anonymous said...

I did this book for a project (I'm im 6th grade!) and it was amazing!!!

Kaitlyn Marie said...

I loved the book. You really need to write a second book. Possibly where she gets married to Zoltan.? Please! I'm in an advanced reading class in 8th grade and got my whole class involved and we have been having discussions over it for weeks of what we think should happen.