Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The Violinist of Venice by Alyssa Palombo

5 Star

A sweeping historical novel of composer and priest Antonio Vivaldi, a secret wealthy mistress, and their passion for music and each other 

Like most 18th century Venetians, Adriana d'Amato adores music-except her strict merchant father has forbidden her to cultivate her gift for the violin. But she refuses to let that stop her from living her dreams and begins sneaking out of her family's palazzo under the cover of night to take violin lessons from virtuoso violinist and composer Antonio Vivaldi. However, what begins as secret lessons swiftly evolves into a passionate, consuming love affair.

Adriana's father is intent on seeing her married to a wealthy, prominent member of Venice's patrician class-and a handsome, charming suitor, whom she knows she could love, only complicates matters-but Vivaldi is a priest, making their relationship forbidden in the eyes of the Church and of society. They both know their affair will end upon Adriana's marriage, but she cannot anticipate the events that will force Vivaldi to choose between her and his music. The repercussions of his choice-and of Adriana's own choices-will haunt both of their lives in ways they never imagined.

Spanning more than 30 years of Adriana's life, Alyssa Palombo's The Violinist of Venice is a story of passion, music, ambition, and finding the strength to both fall in love and to carry on when it ends. 

Kathryn - 5 Star

I was completely engrossed by this novel from the start. Set in Venice you can't help but be smitten with the setting. The canals, the palazzos and the tiny laneways led to a visual immediately and I was drawn into the story by the setting alone. 

I soon discovered though that I was also captivated by the plot. Though my knowledge of Vivaldi is decidedly lacking it didn't deter my reading with pleasure. The story of Adriana is the main focus and her relationship with Vivaldi leads us into a complex social history of the period.  Feisty and determined, Adriana is the perfect heroine for any novel. She's stuck doing what her unkind father wants and his attitude towards her is depressing at best. Despite their friction she seems to have raised herself to be exactly what he was hoping to avoid.  In an era when daughters were raised to obey you wonder where her independent streak came from?  Her late mother perhaps?  

Having forged the attachment to Vivaldi we are led through her trials as she tries to hide her rebellion from her oppressive family and navigate other relationships. 

The novel has numerous twists and turns and though I've no idea if any of it is based on tidbits of fact I'm quite sure that the possibility of such a liaison could indeed have been possible during the period.

Thank you to Griffin Books for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

Connect with Alyssa Palombo:


  1. oooh, hope you'll share this one over at Books You Loved: October. Cheers from CArole's Chatter

  2. Music and a love story mix very well.



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