After reading Marrying Mozart, I’m kind of into learning about famous composers through historical fiction, so I thought, why not Vivaldi? I almost stopped reading after the third chapter. The story just wasn’t grabbing me. There were two sisters, wards of the Pietà, who were taken from their village and brought to Venice, but I just wasn’t caring. I’m so glad I kept going. Maddalena and Chiaretta show great promise as a violinist and vocalist respectively and end up working at various times with Vivaldi, with whom Maddalena develops a deep and complicated relationship. Chiaretta becomes famous for her voice and is eventually married to a member of the Congregazioné, which oversees the Pietà.
Corona probes the sad fate of women at the time and, although she begins painting a harsh picture of life in a religious institution, finally suggests that their fates are kinder than those of the women in the secular world.
Her historical notes at the end of the novel offer more food for thought about the role of women in this period.