by Daisy Goodwin
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Pub Date 23 Jan 2024 | Archive Date 06 Feb 2024
New York Times bestselling author Daisy Goodwin returns with a story of the scandalous love affair between the most celebrated opera singer of all time and one of the richest men in the world.
In the glittering and ruthlessly competitive world of opera, Maria Callas was known simply as la divina: the divine one. With her glorious voice, instinctive flair for the dramatic and striking beauty, she was the toast of the grandest opera houses in the world. But her fame was hard won: raised in Nazi-occupied Greece by a mother who mercilessly exploited her golden voice, she learned early in life to protect herself from those who would use her for their own ends.
When she met the fabulously rich Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis, for the first time in her life, she believed she’d found someone who saw the woman within the legendary soprano. She fell desperately in love. He introduced her to a life of unbelievable luxury, showering her with jewels and sojourns in the most fashionable international watering holes with celebrities like Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.
And then suddenly, it was over. The international press announced that Aristotle Onassis would marry the most famous woman in the world, former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, leaving Maria to pick up the pieces.
In this remarkable novel, Daisy Goodwin brings to life a woman whose extraordinary talent, unremitting drive and natural chic made her a legend. But it was only in confronting the heartbreak of losing the man she loved that Maria Callas found her true voice and went on to triumph.
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Average rating from 234 members
Diva was a hard book to put down. The writing was done with finesse and left me wanting a sequel. This book is a great 5 star book.
A great story about an amazing woman who is most likely the most talented opera singer there ever was - Maria Callas. I don't know anything about opera but certainly knew who she was even though I was a babe in arms during her time. Maria was a complicated woman who struggled to find love in her life. Her commitment to her art was her life and she rarely faulted in her dedication to that. The author does an amazing job in bringing Maria to life and really making the reader feel her every emotion. I loved it! Thanks to Netgalley, the author and publisher for an e-arc in exchange for my honest opinion.
Daisy Goodwin has written a captivating story about one of the most well-known opera singers of the 20th century, Maria Callas. I think one of the highest compliments a reader can pay to a historical novel is to immediately want to find out more about the author's topic. Goodwin stirred my curiosity and I've spent some time today looking for more information about Maria Callas.
"Diva" spans Maria's life from young girl to just after her break-up with Aristotle Onassis. She found out two days before the wedding that he was marrying Jacqueline Kennedy. Goodwin writes about the various operas in which the singer starred and about her extensive travel. Maria's anger at her mother and sister persisted throughout her life; when young, Maria started believing that her mother preferred her sister. The portrayal of this and other foibles makes Maria come to life.
I would describe the late Maria Callas as talented, fascinating, and troubled. "Diva" is a well-written book and one I would recommend.
Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a copy of "Diva."
Diva by Daisy Goodwin is an extraordinary historical fiction thats wonderfully engaging, highly readable and a hard one to put down.
I was both mesmerized and rather seduced by the way this story was written and how it unfolded.
Engaging characters, great story and beautifully written this was quite the story.
“An excellent story of the scandalous love affair between the most celebrated opera singer of all time and one of the richest men in the world.”
"I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own."
Thank You NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for your generosity and gifting me a copy of this amazing eARC!
I have always been fascinated by Maria Dallas and this book did not disappoint! I loved how it focused not only on her opera careee , but also her personal life. There were some scenes in the book that might disturb some readers, however her relationship with Ari was tumultuous and those scenes show that. Definitely a great fictional addition to the Jackie, Maria, Ari love triangle.
Daisy Goodwin has masterfully written a “behind the scenes” shocker…with an unapologetic look at the life and playtimes of the international rich and famous. Maria Callas…world renown opera soprano…was one of the most famous among them.
Maria dined with presidents and movie stars. She had dinner aboard the Onassis mega yacht with Winston Churchill and Clemmie, his wife. She sang as an honored guest at the 45th birthday party for President John F. Kennedy…where she met Marilyn Monroe, who she said was warm and shy.
Goodwin has captured the many faceted persona of Maria Callas, with breathtaking descriptions of Maria’s talent and rise to fame.
Goodwin draws us eagerly into the extravagant world of opera, and describes Maria’s extraordinary talent, and the endless years of training and work and dedication. Maria is not only a once in a generation soprano…she is a gifted and passionate actress. She loves performing and feels the power of her voice and the gift she brings to her audiences.
Described as “American born Greek opera singer”, Maria, though born in NY, spent her teen and young adult life in war ravished Greece. Those years of sacrifice heavily influenced her life. She escaped this hardship through her music.
Maria Callas was fluent in four languages: English, Greek, French, and Italian…and she also spoke some Spanish. She had many facets to her personality. She displayed her public persona to her fans and admirers carefully…it was contrived and artfully constructed to present her at her best.
Maria tried to hide her early life history from the world. Her personal leap from insecure fat pimply teenager, to glamorous celebrity, was a struggle. She was challenged by the media and press about her estrangement from her family. Her mother often criticized her publicly.
Maria’s lack of confidence and insecurities stemmed from an unhappy childhood. Her mother favored Maria’s older sister, and Maria strived constantly and unsuccessfully for her mothers love.
Feeling betrayed by her mother and her sister…Maria discovered love outside of her family. Maria married Batista Meneghini, a man 30 years older than her. She was searching for security and someone she could rely on.
Goodwin writes about Batista (Tita), “he told her the first time they met that she would be the greatest diva in the world…at the time she weighed 200 pounds with legs like tree trunks.”
For many years her Italian husband Tita protected her while managing her professional life, and Maria trusted him. For many years he protected her image and personal exposure…she relied on him. And then Maria discovered he was stealing money from her.
Aristotle Onassis pursued Maria Callas…he captivated her with gifts and adulation. Their years long affair was passionate, intense, public…their intimacy was explosive. Their relationship angered Ari’s family…but the happy couple in love were oblivious or uncaring. Unfortunately, Ari was not a faithful man…and soon came the inevitable turn to another woman.
Ari Onassis and Maria had a stormy tumultuous relationship. He said she was his soulmate…he gave her precious jewels, and showered her with extravagance and attention. Maria loved him deeply, and was completely shattered when he left her and married former First Lady, Jacqueline Kennedy.
Maria Callas was invited into the very highest layers of wealth and celebrity and aristocracy. She met Elsa Maxwell early in her young career, and they entered into a long term roller coaster relationship. For years their interaction fluctuated…with Elsa jumping between adoring loyal friend and bitter jealous woman. Elsa would leech onto Maria to share in her celebrity…while also introducing her to the top echelons of royalty and power.
Maria Callas was a star with a magnificent talent…she lived an extraordinary outrageous life, which author Daisy Goodwin captured beautifully and comprehensively. This novel is a monumental tribute to an incredible woman and diva.
This was such a great historical fiction novel, it does everything that I was expecting from the author. Daisy Goodwin does a great job in writing this. I enjoyed how good the story was and it worked well overall with the historical setting. I’m glad I got to read this.
This is a fictional account of the life of Maria Callas, the original diva. She is a world famous opera singer, and we follow her life starting from her childhood up until her 50's. It is a whirlwind of exciting trips, fashion, food, and celebrities. We get caught up in all the Hollywood glamour, and we are with Maria when she experiences her highs and her lows. The book does a good job in drawing you in and making you feel for Maria. You feel compassion for her self doubt and her self destructive tendencies. You feel protective of what may not be the real version of the famous woman. I highly recommend this book, especially if you are a fan of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.
Thank you NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for a free DRC of Diva for review consideration! All opinions are my own.
Author Daisy Goodwin tells a beautiful story of the life of opera star Maria Callas. A life filled with fame and famous people, Maria stands out because she believes there is fame and then there is talent. She believes her voice is a gift from God and it is to be shared with others. Throughout her life, Callas searches for love and acknowledgment of her success. She thinks in the beginning, the accolades from fans is enough but as time goes by, she realizes she wants more.
Enter Aristotle Onassis-- he seems to be the answer to her prayers. Despite his being married, Callas falls deeply and hopelessly in love with him. His love fulfills her in a way that no one else's ever has... until. And even after, he remains the love of her life.
A book that's hard to put down because you can't wait to read about the famous people, the parties, and the love affair of two people destined to be together.
I grew up enchanted by the beautiful sounds and music of Maria Callas. Daisy Goodwin has written a powerful historic fiction of her life from childhood into her middle age years including the tumultuous relationship with
Aristotle Onassis, a man who loved women at the cost of their relationship. The author has captured the highs and lows of Maria’s life seamlessly. If you are fan, or even if you are not, you certainly will be while reading this book.
As a huge fan of this author and of “The Diva” herself, I thank St. Martin’s Press from the bottom of my heart for sharing this ARC with me. I Loved it!
This was so good! I had never heard her back story so this was fascinating to me. I love books like this, it kept me wanting to read more and more!
I just reviewed Diva by Daisy Goodwin. #NetGalley
A lovely novel about the operatic soprano, Maria Callas, focusing on her long affair with Aristotle Onassis. I really loved the way the book got into the mind and heart of this great diva.
Just finished this book. Was very interesting and entertaining. I never liked that Jackie married Onassis and wondered what the attraction was, besides money. The author made you feel like you knew Maria Callas and could relate to her. I highly recommend and thankful for opportunity from St Martins Press and NetGalley to read this pre release book for an honest review.
Another amazing historical fiction rendered by Daisy! All of her books are must reads! I loved it! True movie material!
Redefining Having it All
Daisy Goodwin scores a home run with her story about Maria Callas’ career as a famous opera singer and her love affair with Aristotle Onassis.
Maria fought domination from her mother who exploited her for her voice, her first husband, Tita Meneghini, who was also her manager, who exploited her for her money, and Elsa Maxwell the gossip columnist who exploited her for her celebrity.
Enter Aristotle Onassis, the shipping magnate with his search to marry the most famous woman in the world while having a legendary opera singer as his mistress.
Maria competed with her sister Jackie for her mother’s love. The experience armed her for the battle ahead when she had to compete with Lee Bouvier and the widow Jackie Bouvier Kennedy for Aristotle Onassis’ love.
This compelling historical fiction redefines the concept of having it all. I thank St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this pre-released book in exchange for an honest review.
Whilst I was aware of the story of Maria and Ari this story being told from Maria’s perspective gives a new slant. You cannot help but be moved by Maria’s heartbreaking story. Even great women have weaknesses, usually men !
Bravissima!!! Daisy Goodwin has written a masterpiece (again!). This historical fiction novel is about the life of Maria Callas, the greatest voice in Opera. Goodwin brings us into her life and all of her thoughts, including how she lost herself over Aristotle Onassis. This novel was incredibly well researched, and really brings the reader into the world of opera, as well as the 1950s-1960s. Although we all know the end of the story, this novel gives us so much more insight into the life and mind of one of the strongest women in history - a woman who, until now, has not been given her due credit.
Inspired by the life and history of Diva Maria Callas, this novel reveals the inner life of the most famous opera singer of her time. Her tempestuous love affair with Aristotle Onassis drives her life second only to her music career. It feels like you know her intimately, as few did in her lifetime. You are enthralled from the very beginning and appalled at times. Her life was her greatest performance and dwarfed her music, but she, as always, is the great Maria Callas.
AHHH! What a fabulous gem of historical fiction storytelling! This story kept me engaged from start to finish and I adore the cover!
Thank you so much for the digital ARC in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are completely my own.
A wow of a histfic novel about the life of famed opera star Maria Callas, and her tumultuous love affair with Aristotle Onassis, who became Jackie Kennedy's second husband. Captivating!
Bravo! A beautiful book, a fictionalized account, of the life of the great diva, Maria Callas. We know the bones of her story but Goodwin takes us to the intimate details of her life.
Born in Brooklyn, she was brought by her cruel and grasping mother to study voice in Greece. Despite myriad issues of poverty, sadness and weight, she becomes the great Callas. Her marriage to the manipulative Italian Tita has brought her little happiness.
The heart of this book is her relationship with Aristotle Onassis. Of course, we associate his name with Jackie O, his trophy wife. This is all explored in this book. Maria is so totally sympathetic in this that it’s hard not to become emotionally involved.
I highly recommend this to reading groups who will enjoy discussing the relationships of Ari and Maria, as well as his connection to both Jackie and her sister Lee (cringeworthy and a bit shocking).
Thank you Netgalley for the privilege of reading and reviewing this compelling book.
This was so well written I was pulled in immediately. I have heard her songs before but I loved reading about her and understanding her story. This was a really good read. I highly recommend.
Amazing story of Maria Callas. I really had no opinion of Maria Callas either way, but Daisy Goodwin, who is an amazing author, makes her so interesting that you are drawn to her like a moth to a flame. An amazing blend of
complex characters and relationships.
Bravo Daisy Goodwin!! Diva was a fabulous read that I could not put down!
Renown as the greatest singer in the world, Maria Callas’ life story is accented by the addition of imagined conversations. Goodwin’s writing brings the scenes to life and you feel as if you are in the room with Maria and her inner circle, Tita, Elsa, Aristo and Franco to name a few.
Callas & Onassis were the two most famous Greeks in the world and it was inevitable that they would become a couple. This is an enthralling tale of their romance and even though we know the ending, it is a fabulous read!
Mark the publication date on your calendar, preorder Diva or run to the nearest shop and pick it up!
Thanks to @NetGalley I received an eARC of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
Pub Date 23 Jan 2024
Diva by Daisy Goodwin is a remarkable novel that tells the story of Maria Callas, one of the most celebrated opera singers of all time. Goodwin does an excellent job of bringing Callas to life, capturing her passion for music, her determination to succeed, and her vulnerability. The novel also explores Callas's complex relationship with Aristotle Onassis, a Greek shipping magnate who was one of the richest men in the world.
Goodwin's writing is vivid and engrossing, and she does a masterful job of weaving together fact and fiction. The novel is full of fascinating details about Callas's life, including her childhood in Nazi-occupied Greece, her rise to fame, and her love affair with Onassis. Goodwin also does a good job of capturing the atmosphere of the time, from the glamour of the opera world to the scandal of Callas's relationship with Onassis.
Diva is a well-researched and well-written novel that is sure to appeal to fans of historical fiction and biographies. It is also a moving and insightful portrait of a complex and fascinating woman.
Here are some of the things that I liked about the novel:
Goodwin's research is evident throughout the novel. She has clearly done a lot of work to get the details right, from the historical events to the music to the fashion.
Goodwin's writing is engaging and evocative. She brings Callas to life in a way that makes the reader feel like they are right there with her, experiencing her triumphs and her tragedies.
The novel is well-paced and suspenseful. I was eager to find out what would happen next.
The novel is thought-provoking. It made me think about the nature of fame, love, and loss.
I recommend Diva to anyone who is interested in Maria Callas, opera, or historical fiction. It is a beautifully written and moving novel that will stay with you long after you finish reading it.
I love historical fiction written so well that you begin researching the true story. That’s what I experienced with Diva. I knew nothing about Maria Callas but I do now. What a battle of perseverance. Struggles with weight, men, family - so much of what we all deal with. She felt so real upon these pages. The story came to life and had me wanting to protect and save her from being used… and at times from herself. Such a smooth flow in the telling of this divas life. Great read!
Daisy Goodwin's "Diva" is a literary composition that crescendos with the passion, ambition, and complexities of its characters, weaving a melodious tale of one woman's journey through the enigmatic world of opera.
In this opulent novel, Goodwin introduces us to the charismatic and determined Grace, a young woman with a voice that possesses the power to stir souls. Set against the backdrop of 19th-century London, the reader is transported to a time when the grand opera houses were cultural epicenters, and divas were both celebrated and scrutinized.
The author's prose is a virtuoso performance in itself, evoking the sights and sounds of Victorian England with unparalleled richness. Goodwin's attention to detail transforms the opera houses into living entities, and the performances into vivid symphonies that resonate with emotion. The narrative, much like a well-composed aria, moves effortlessly between the highs of Grace's triumphs and the lows of her personal sacrifices.
At the heart of "Diva" lies an exploration of the complexities of ambition and the price one is willing to pay for success. Grace's journey from a humble background to the dazzling world of opera is fraught with challenges that mirror the limitations society places on women's aspirations. Goodwin masterfully navigates the tightrope between portraying Grace's tenacity and vulnerability, making her a heroine that is both relatable and inspiring.
The supporting cast of characters adds depth to the story, each contributing a unique harmony to Grace's journey. From the enigmatic composer to the fellow performers with their rivalries and camaraderie, every character plays a vital role in creating a harmonious ensemble that encapsulates the multifaceted nature of the world behind the curtain.
While "Diva" hits all the right notes, there are instances where the pacing falters, slowing the momentum of the narrative. Yet, this decrescendo is often followed by a triumphant crescendo, much like the ebbs and flows of an opera itself. The ending, while satisfying, leaves room for readers to reflect on the broader themes of societal expectations, personal fulfillment, and the timeless allure of the performing arts.
"Diva" is a literary aria that resounds with the echoes of dreams pursued and obstacles overcome. Daisy Goodwin's storytelling is an immersive experience that envelops readers in the grandeur of the opera world while also delving into the human stories that play out behind the scenes. If you are drawn to stories of artistic passion, indomitable spirit, and the evergreen pursuit of dreams, "Diva" is a symphony of words that deserves a standing ovation.
Thanks to St. Martin's Press and Netgalley for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review!
Diva by Daisy Goodwin tells the story of soprano opera singer Maria Callas. Wow! What a story! I was hooked from the beginning. Maria came alive on these pages. Well written and well researched! Thank goodness for you tube to watch some of her arias! I highly recommend! Thank you to NetGallery and St Martins Press for letting me review this book in exchange for an honest opinion.
I received this book from netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
When I received this book, I didn't entirely know what to expect, it sounded good. I like historical fiction and throw in real historical figures? Even better. This book did just that. Not only is the focus of the book on Maria Callas, a real opera singer, but it ties in many historical figures who were involved in her life in one way or another. It accomplished this without sounding like a history book, though. It kept me engaged chapter to chapter and made me want to see how things played out, even knowing limited history of some of the people involved in the story.
As with any good historical fiction, it made me want search for more information about the characters presented in the book, more details about their lives and their stories.
My thanks to St. Martin’s press for the ARC. The book was fantastic. I knew very little about Maria Callas and was pleased that her story did not leave wanting. It goes into the background of her childhood with a mother who did not appreciate her to her marriage and friends such as Franco Zefferilli. Her life and her feelings are captured extremely well in her relationship with Aristotle Onassis, a man who made being one of the world’s richest men seem fantastic. I will definitely have to study more about opera as she was amazing whenever she performed. It was a book that blended Maria the woman with Maria the world famous Diva. Highly recommend it-could not put it down!
This book is FABULOUS! Congratulations to Ms. Goodwin for writing the sad, emotional saga of Maria Callas. Diva is the story of the Soprano singers life, her struggles with peers, men and a manipulative mother. I learned so much from this book and have listened to Maria’s songs. Thank you Net Galley for the ARC.
I was in junior and senior high school when the events in this book took place. I had heard the rumors about Maria Callas and Onassis but really didn't know too much about the whole situation. I really enjoyed hearing about this whole time period from Maria's point of view. I know that this book is a fictionalized version but it feels like there is enough truth in. the book to give you a good feel for the kind of life Maria had and what was expected of her. She was a lot braver than I would have been. And Onassis? Well he comes across as a jerk!
Old as I am, I knew nothing of this diva and her involvement with Onassis. I only knew that Jackie Kennedy ended up married to him, and that it was a big news story. This book made it all the more interesting, as it introduced me to Maria Callas, who was every bit what my definition of a diva would include. So self-centered, so sure of her talent. A captivating read.
This fascinating novel is a wonderful portrayal of the multidimensional woman that was Maria Callas. Born in New York to a Greek mother, she moves back to Greece as a young girl during the Nazi occupation. To survive her mother makes her sing on the streets, while at the same time she favors Maria’s older sister Jackie. Her father isn’t in the picture. It was a tough time, and Maria, an overweight, homely child with an amazing voice felt unloved and used. As she became an adult, her amazing voice brought her success and fame, but she still felt unloved. And then she meets Aristotle Onassis, a former cigarette boy who’s now a millionaire, maybe a billionaire. And Maria falls in love.
Diva is Maria’s story, of her successes and disappointments both professionally and most interesting, her personal disappointments. The affair with Aristotle (or Ari, as she calls him) is tempestuous, passionate, and ultimately disappointing. But Maria’s story, and the book, do not disappoint.
Maria Callas was La Divina. The greatest opera singer of her time, and maybe all time! She grew up in Greece during the Nazi occupation. Her mother favored her sister until she heard Maria’s beautiful voice. Maria was the best at what she did. She was beautiful and talented and dramatic. One night, she met Aristotle Onassis, the worlds richest man. She guarded her heart (and she was married) but felt like in Onassis, she’d finally found her person. The one who would love HER. Not her money or her voice or her fame. HER. And he did. He showed her with love and gifts and money. Theirs was a passionate love affair until he broke her heart.
Amazing love story and historical fiction.
Daisy Godwin has written an engrossing story about the life of Maria Callas. I was captivated from the beginning - learning about Greek history and geography, the life of Callas and her great love, Onassis and his wealth, and the drama they inflicted on each other and family members. Very interesting!
Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to read this amazing ARC.
I am loving this book! I of course had heard of Maria Callas, but was not familiar with her other than an opera star in the 50's and 60's.
The story takes the reader behind the scenes into her life as a young girl and the complicated relationship she had with the people in her life, including her mother. And Ari Onassis! She wanted to marry him, but he instead wed Jackie Kennedy. Sadly she ended up alone, even with all the money and accolades for her phenomenal soprano voice.
The author took some creative license in the book, but that does not detract from this well researched portrait of an international super star. Highly recommended for all public libraries.
I think we have a possible “Reese’s Book Club pick” on our hands with this book. Maria is a strong woman with an amazing opera voice. She learned to provide for herself at a young age by singing. Her voice is amazing and had helped her to become a diva in every aspect of life. And a Diva she is, from canceling shows to making ridiculous demands, even forbidding her friend from seeing her sister perform. But her voice also has its limits as she gets older and has used it as much as she has.
She becomes involved in a forbidden love. She thinks her and Ari are soulmates, but will love be enough? Can they survive her fame and his money? This love story shows Maria’s weakness and strength.
Thank you Netgalley and St Martins Press for an ARC ebook in exchange for my honest review. If you love historical fiction and singer/celebrity books then this one is definitely for you.
Diva by Daisy Goodwin is a fictionalized novel of Maria Callas, who had a famous affair with Aristotle Onassis both before and after his marriage to Jacqueline Kennedy. I was fascinated by all of these people from the time I was a teenager, and can remember reading a biography about Christina Onassis, the daughter of AO. Just like the Kennedy's the Onassis family is steeped in tragedy. While I found Maria Callas mysterious, I never explored her story beyond where it intersected with Onassis and Kennedy. What a mistake. Goodwin has drawn back the proverbial curtain on a complicated, fascinating woman I loved reading about. Highly recommend!!
This book is amazing. I didn't know anything about Maria Callas except of her connection to Aristotle Onassis. Her life was very interesting before and after her relationship with Onassis. A novel of family, sacrifice, love found and lost and the cut throat glittering world of opera. A deep dive into her feelings of not being seen for the woman she was, only being seen for La Divina. Run to your local bookstore in January or even better yet pre order it now!
Diva is the very interesting biographical story of Maria Callas, the famous opera singer. I always love a book leads me to research and find out more about the main character. That is exactly what happened with this book. It peaked my interest and drove me to search for more about the main characters.
I loved this point of view, the characters (people) have been in so many books I have read and I love to see contrasting points of view and them interacting in different points of time.
Daisy Goodwin’s latest historical novel takes us into the world of legendary opera soprano Maris Callas. Mme. Callas is widely accepted as the greatest opera singer of the 20th. Century and Goodwin brings her story to life. The novel focuses mostly on Callas’ life from the mid-1950s until the late 1960s and tells the story of Callas’ well-known affair with the “Golden Greek” - billionaire Aristotle Onassis. Callas and Onassis were at the time of their meeting the “two most famous Greeks” in the world and - perhaps more importantly - married to others. Onassis went on in 1968 to marry the widowed First Lady, Jacqueline Kennedy, breaking Callas’ heart. Goodwin spins a captivating story of this tumultuous time in Callas’ life and shows again her strength in historical biography.
Thank You to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for providing an eARC of this novel in exchange for my honest review and feedback.
I want to thank NetGalley for allowing me to read this book. Growing up with Opera, I never realized the Private lives of Opera Singers. This Book about Maria Callas was an eye opener to the Opera World. A well written Biography of the singer. If anyone is into Opera, I would suggest you read this book. It kept my interest .
by Daisy Goodwin
(This review is based on an ARC from NetGalley)
Maria Callas, born Cecilia Sophia Anna Maria Kalogeropoulos on December 2, 1923, was quite possibly the most famous and most notorious female opera singer in the 20th century. Callas rose to fame in Italy after the end of World War II, when she performed operas such as "Medea," "Tosca," and "La Traviata" (via Limelight Magazine). Maria had an unfortunate relationship with her mother who favored Maria’ sister Jackie.
Callas resented her mother, who had worked as a prostitute during the war and tried to pimp her daughter to Nazi soldiers. In 1949, Callas married Giovanni Meneghini, a wealthy Italian industrialist who served as her manager until they separated in 1959. In one of her letters, Callas wrote: "My husband is still pestering me after having robbed me of more than half my money by putting everything in his name since we were married ... I was a fool ... to trust him "(via The Guardian).
In 1957, while still married to husband Giovanni Battista Meneghini, Callas was introduced to Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis, at a party given in her honor by the critic Elsa Maxwell after a performance in Donizetti's Anna Bolena.[ She fell desperately in love. He introduced her to a life of unbelievable luxury, jewels and travel aboard his luxury yacht Christina. Her nine-Year affair (1959-1968) and her unpublished letters show Callas was abused by Onassis. She was adored by audiences worldwide but she never knew real love offstage.
Daisy Goodwin has once again delivered a superb historical fiction novel
It’s giving Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, but based on a true story. So close to perfect except I wish there was a different resolution with her mother. The last scene is is uninspiring, unlike Maria Callas.
I didn't really know much about Maria Callas so this was an immersive read into her life. Richly developed characters and descriptive writing made her come to life and provide an insight to this diva of opera. It tells the story of how she was the younger daughter in a fractured home, searching all her life for love and acceptance. Identified at an early age with a great talent for singing, she was exploited by her mother who wished that Maria's success was her other daughter's or better yet her own. Even Maria's husband loved only the concept of Callas the opera star, not Maria the woman. Goodwin portrays Madame Callas as a brilliant singer, and richly details the many operas and arias that she sang which I found interesting. Not only blessed with her powerful voice, but fluent in four languages, Maria was very talented and smart. However, she longed for love which she found with Aristotle Onassis as his mistress although she longed to be his wife. Not familiar with Maria Callas life, the story kept me reading and engaged and I so wanted a happily ever after. i felt sorry for her and it seems that although a great diva, inside she was still the insecure little girl looking for love for just herself. As always, Goodwin has a way of bringing to life a woman who comes from a humble background and works hard to rise up to reach her dream, yet at a cost. Many thanks to #netgalley #diva #daisygoodwin for the opportunity to read and review this book.
"Diva" by Daisy Goodwin is an exquisite journey into the captivating world of Maria Callas, the legendary soprano known simply as "la divina." This fictionalized account of Callas's life is a fictionalized behind-the-scenes look at her life that left me utterly fascinated by the singer's life and her undeniable allure.
Goodwin's storytelling prowess shines through in her vivid portrayal of Maria Callas. The heart of the story lies in Maria's relationship with the fabulously wealthy Aristotle Onassis, where the narrative truly shines. Goodwin paints a vivid picture of their romance, showcasing Onassis's charm and the extravagant lifestyle he offered Maria. The way Goodwin delves into Maria's hopes and dreams as she falls in love with Onassis is both poignant and emotionally resonant. It's impossible not to be drawn into her love story. The news of Onassis's marriage to Jacqueline Kennedy was a turning point in Callas’s life. Goodwin captured the depth of Maria's emotions and this event's devastating impact on her life. What I loved most about "Diva" is how it brings Maria Callas to life, not just as a famous singer, but as a complex woman with dreams, vulnerabilities, and an unyielding spirit. The novel offers a mesmerizing glimpse into the life of Maria Callas. Daisy Goodwin's storytelling talent and ability to make historical figures come alive on the page make this book an absolute must-read for fans of historical fiction, opera, or anyone who enjoys a story of passion, love, and resilience. It's a book that will linger in your thoughts long after you've turned the last page.
A sincere thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Oh, how I loved this book. To be honest, I almost didn't read it - the world of opera doesn't really interest me. Luckily, I know Daisy Goodwin won't lead me astray, and I'm so glad I dove in. In the same way that Taylor Jenkins Reid convinced me to care about the world of professional tennis, Daisy Goodwin convinced me that I was, in fact, fascinated by the opera world and its divas. An absolute page-turner of a read.
I loved this book!!! Once I started it, I could not put it down. Maria was the ultimate diva and I found myself feeling every emotion that she went through. I felt like her life was playing out like an opera that she was starring in! This author did a tremendous job of pulling the reader into Maria's life. The way that went into great detail describing the clothes, the rooms, the countries, and the jewelry! I would classify this book as historical fiction which is a genre that is exploding in popularity, I will highly recommend this book to book clubs and all my friends who love historical fiction. Thank you so much to NetGalley for the ADR! It did not disappoint!!!
i loved this book so so much- the storyline was great and so were the characters. i will definitely be reading this book again when it comes out
Maria Callas came to life in this story. From humble beginnings, Maria had a scarred relationship with her family. Filled with conflict with her mother, love for her father and confusion regarding her sister. “ Never Enough” was her innate face as she faced the world except when she was singing. Her devotion to Ari carved the deepest line in the sand as almost nothing could rock her love and sexual appetite for her fellow Greek.
Knowing just a limited amount of information regarding this dynamic couple and love affair, Daisy Goodwin creates an intense love between the 2 marred by insecurities and fear of loss by Maria.
I did not want the book to end. If I had 1 complaint, I wanted more from this story. I would have loved an afterward, that allowed me to know how their world together ultimately worked out. Perhaps another book?
Overall, as it was an un proofed copy, perhaps that change occurs in the final release.
Thanks Net Galley for this ARC. Before reading, I had no idea who Maria Callas was, but this story, while a fictional dramatization of Callas’s life, dazzled as it told of this larger than life character. The intrigue and glamour, as well as the romantic entanglements really amplified the appeal of this novel. It gave Evelyn Hugo vibes, and for me that’s an absolute plus. I really did not know what to expect going into this novel, but it certainly hit harder than I anticipated!
Daisy Goodwin always does a fantastic job with these stories and this was no exception. She did a great job of presenting Maria Callas life in an interesting and fair way. This is a great jumping off point for anyone who is interested the the opera singer or that time period.
Diva by Daisy Goodwin is a captivating tale of passion, fame, and heartbreak, centered around the legendary opera singer, Maria Callas. This novel transports readers into the glittering world of opera, where Maria Callas, known as "la divina," reigns as a celebrated icon. The novel delves deep into the life of a woman whose remarkable talent and indomitable spirit led her to success, despite a tumultuous upbringing. Diva is a beautifully written and emotionally resonant novel that immerses readers in the complexities of love, fame, and the enduring spirit of a legendary artist.
I read this book in a day and I never looked back! The twist and the plot were pretty easy to identify but the different POV's kept me intrigued to see how everything was going to unfold. A couple of the characters were so unlikable that it made it hard to feel bad or connect with them in any way. I do wish that the ending would've given a little more, I wanted to know how the characters dealt with the aftermath.
*I received a copy of this eARC via NetGalley*
Maria Callas has been an enigma in many ways and through this fictional retelling of Callas' life we are drawn into the drama and heartbreaking reality of what she went through. A wonderful singer from young, Daisy Goodwin captivates us by embodying Ms. Callas with warmth, humor and even a little sarcasm. Sprinkled with real life characters that are known to many this is a fantastic read and is highly recommended.
Gripping prose brings Maria’s life to light. Beautifully written.
Many thanks to St. Martin’s Press and to Netgalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.
I learned so much of what I thought that I already knew about Maria Callas. A compelling story of the love affair between the most celebrated opera singer of all time and one of the richest men in the world and it's betrayals Daisy Goodwin brings to life a woman wuth amazing talent, greatly driven and always stylish made her a legend. I recommend this great historical novel to all who like reading about strong women who endure.
I took a deep dive into opera when The Met offered a different opera to stream for free each evening for a couple of years during the pandemic. One of opera's biggest ever stars was Maria Callas, who lived from 1922 to 1977. I'd heard of her, and in fact, recently I redeemed a summer reading prize coupon at the library for a 2-CD set of her singing the lead in a 1958 recording of La Traviata. I can't tell you how many Sundays I've enjoyed listening to it as I drive to organ church.
So when I saw a new historical fiction book about her at NetGalley, called "Diva," I scooped it up. I'm glad I did.
There are brief flashbacks to her childhood in the US, but the book mainly focuses on Maria's life in her 30s. Maria always felt unloved by her mom, who seemed to prefer her older sister. This was a struggle for Maria throughout her life, even after she gained worldwide fame as a singer. She married a man 30 years older, who served as her manager, but theirs never seemed like a love match.
Then, in her 30s, she is invited by busybody journalist Elsa Maxwell to stay on the yacht of Aristotle Onassis. I knew of Onassis as Jackie Kennedy's second husband, and I knew he was usually portrayed as ultra-rich, vulgar, and over-the-top. That description pretty much matches his depiction here. He sets his sights on Maria and the two begin an affair. But while Onassis sees Maria as a conquest, Maria seems to truly fall in love with him. Bad idea.
As the years pass, Onassis's wife leaves him and Maria leaves her husband. The two bond over their shared Greek heritage. Maria wants to marry Onassis, but their Catholic faith makes this problematic. "Maria, my love, isn't it enough that we are together?" Onassis asks her. "Remember that if we were married, I might be tempted to find myself a mistress."
While all this is going on, there are frequent references to operas that Maria is singing in. I was familiar with most of these, which was fun. Author Goodwin also ties in bits about the opera plots as being symbolic of bits of Maria's life. There are parts that discuss her singing and her frequent fears that her famous voice might quit on her at any time. She listens to a recording of a singer, " ...singing in a language that she didn't know. But although she didn't recognize the words, she understood from the music that the song was about wanting something very much, and that it was better to have the hope of having it than nothing at all." Kind of sums up most operas!
I enjoyed the bits about the life of an opera diva. Frequently Anna Netrebko, a famous soprano who I follow online, came to mind. She is always posed artistically in designer clothes. This book contained dialogues where Maria and her agent husband argue back and forth over whether or not she should sign for a certain performance, and what the consequences might be for her professionally if she didn't. She was also prone to cancelling performances at the last minute, which seemed very diva-like. Such a life is so different from those most of us lead.
"There was something in the applause that gave her strength; it was a feeling impossible to find elsewhere; it was the strongest love she had ever known." Sadly, once she meets Onassis, she learns what true love feels like. But, he begins playing the field almost immediately, and history of course records his 1968 marriage to Jackie Kennedy, who he invited to his yacht just a month or so prior to JFK's death.
The book ends after Onassis has visited Callas, lamenting his belief that he's made a mistake in marrying Jackie. But Maria has his number by now, and rejects his advances. Is this factual? I don't know enough about Callas to say. But I really enjoyed this book, and would recommend it if its themes pique your interest.
I would like to thank NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for allowing me to read this book and to give my honest opinion. I have been curious about Maria Callas since I was 15 and my mom took me to see the great Audra MacDonald in it. This book as nothing short of fabulous. The detail is something I truly appreciate. I have a clear picture in my mind of every character and their clothing. This book is a must read!
Beloved opera singer Maria Callas, despite being married, is pursued by shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis. They begin an affair that will last for years, cause her much sorrow, and provide her with emotions that she uses in her performances. Through the story of their relationship combined with flashbacks from their poverty-stricken youth, we learn that both have searched for approval and acceptance all their lives. In spite of their “charmed” success, this search is never fully resolved. They seem happiest when together yet their commitment is not firm. She is often broken. Daisy Goodwin’s imagery in the passages describing Maria’s operas are so rich I felt a witness to her phenomenal performances. This is a work that will stay with me.
This is an outstanding book about Maria Callas and her life with Aristotle Onassis. I knew who she was but knew very little about her family dynamics before and after Onassis came into her life. This was a book that I did not want to put down and read it from cover to cover. Daisy Goodwin tells the story in such a compelling way that this is sure to be a hit with everyone. Hob knobbing with the very rich and famous is delightful as you learn that even these people have stories of their own. The description of her fashions and diamonds that were gifted to her leaves me speechless. The story is wonderfully written and draws the reader into the world of opera and how very hard it is to practice all the time, giving up so much of you for the sake of the songs in the current project. There is so much more to know about Maria and this reader really enjoyed getting to know her.
I wish to thank NetGalley and St Martin’s Press for allowing me to read an advanced copy of this book. I have voluntarily read and reviewed it. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
What a life! Maria Callas-the brilliant opera star-lived a life of passion and like her voice her career soared to unfathomable heights, but she also had a life filled with tragedy most notably an ill-fated love affair with powerful shipping magnate, Ari Onassis, who would betray her love and pursue another equally famous woman-the widowed Jacqueline Onassis. This book was a powerful tribute to the incredibly strong woman who rose above and it reads like a biography although it's a work of historical fiction. I highly recommend!
An absolute delight to read! I wished it was longer because I couldn't get enough of Daisy Goodwin's beautiful writing. The way she captured Maria's emotions as her rollercoaster of a relationship with Onasis unfolded was beyond spectacular. I can't recommend this enough.
GoodReads Review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/5994414891
I knew so little about Maria Callas, but while reading this incredible book, I played several of her arias. Her voice was breathtaking and it was easy to see why she's considered the best soprano in history. This book was hard to put down; I wanted to continue reading so much more about her life, which, despite her incredible fame, was so obsessed with Onassis that she suffered greatly from his indiscretions.
This was the best book I've read this year.
I loved this book! I was sucked in from the start. Despite it being a fictionalization of Maria Callas' life, it was accurate, compelling, and fully engaging. I loved how Ms. Goodwin took us through the years of the relationship with Ari Onassis, but included La Divina's own personal history and tragedies.
I thoroughly enjoyed Diva and look forward to reading whatever Daisy Goodwin puts out next.
This historical novel about a recent diva was enlightening. I was aware of Maria Callas, the opera singer, and aware that she had the reputation of being difficult, but this book bought her life more into perspective. I really enjoyed this. Well written and well researched.
Thank you to NetGalley and St Martin's Press for the advance copy of this book.
This book has been remarkably candid, and thought provoking. It's as though I'm driving into someone's personal diary and uncovering intimate details of their life. It has so many layers and depicts the complicated nature of a human. The story is a roller coster ride through and through. Absolutely enjoyed this.
Diva is a beautifully written novel that seamlessly blends history, romance, and opera. The reader is drawn into the world of Maria Callas and Aristotle Onassis, experiencing the highs of their love affair and the lows of its inevitable challenges. Goodwin skillfully captures the essence of Maria Callas, not just as a virtuoso on the operatic stage but as a woman navigating the intricacies of her personal life. Fans of historical fiction, romance, and music will find themselves enthralled by the timeless melody of this captivating novel.
Thank you NetGalley and St. Martin Press for the Arc.
I was excited to get this ARC and I really enjoyed this book. This book is about the love affair between the opera singer, Maria Callas, and Aristotle Onassis. I knew nothing about Maria and the only thing I knew about Aristotle Onassis is that he married Jackie Kennedy. I did not realize they married in the 1960s. I thought it was later than that but apparently not. This book opens when Aristotle is marrying Jackie, and Maria then looks back on her life. Aristotle and Maria were both married when they started their attraction to one another. Aristotle was a man with a lot of money and held all of the power. He and his wife both had affairs. Aristotle was all about whatever was shiny and new and Maria Callas was definitely shiny and new. I went down the youtube rabbit hole after reading this book to look at videos of Maria singing and of her and Aristotle. By the way, Maria sang at the infamous JFK birthday party. And Aristotle might have been with both Jackie and her sister. Ew. There is a book by Gill Paul, Jackie and Maria, so I will probably read that one too.
-"And frankly the press will hate me whatever I do, so I might as well do what I want."
-"Maria, my love, isn't it enough that we are together? Remember that if we were married, I might be tempted to find myself a mistress."
-It occurred to her that singing was like sex: if you were relaxed and enjoying it, then everything came easily; but when you were worried about the result, then every muscle seemed to work against you.
A lovely work. I adore Maria Callas. Well written, and entertaining. I am so glad that his novel was written, and others can fall in love with opera.
I couldn't put this book down and raced through it in 3 days (hey, I work 2 jobs)! I loved this novel about Maria Callas - the world famous opera singer - and her love affair with Aristotle Onassis, until his marriage to Jackie Kennedy. The inside look into Callas' life and famous friends and acquaintances was intoxicating. Daisy Goodwin's writing can really pull you in, and keep you in.