The Orphan's Song

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 25 Jun 2019

Member Reviews

Veena’s review of The Orphan’s Song by Lauren Kate
Historical Fiction published by G. P. Putnam Sons 25 Jun 19

Modern-day Venice is romance with a capital ‘R’ with its gondoliers and canals and all manner of mysteries behind the facades that line the grand canal. Ms. Kate’s Venice is 365 days/24 hours of Carnevale, where everybody who counts wears a mask and frolics the hours away. Yet amidst this glitter is the church of the incurables where orphans with musical talent vie to make a place for themselves, a moment of glory in a drab life where their faces are always exposed to the public.  The author does a superb job of bringing alive the city, almost as if it were a character in the story, as Violetta and Mino find their brief moment of fame amidst the hardships and rigor that has been their life as orphans. Violetta, abandoned as a two-day-old babe, has always felt betrayed, determined to make a name for herself with her musical talent. She daydreams of a better future, even as she rebels against the constraints of her life. Her memories of love are a woman singing a lament, though she leaves her young son at the orphanage.  Little does she know how her life will one day intersect with mother and son.

Mino, unlike the other orphans, recalls the softness and love of his mother, recalls her songs, and is amazed when a rebellious night on the convent rooftop brings him face to face with Violetta. Even more amazing is the session when she puts words to a song that brings tears to his eyes and memories of his mother’s love. While they make music together, there is no future for them, since Violetta is promised to the church and Mino is apprenticed to be a gondola maker.

Violetta, as she reaches the pinnacle of her success, rebels and finds herself escaping from her convent and walking the streets of Venice, where she has the chance to meet the owner of the premier party place in the city. Always tempted by the forbidden, she finds herself singing in his pleasure palace one day a week. As she enjoys the luxuries that her singing engagement and the attentions of the man bring her, she wonders if her feelings might be love, until she’s heartbroken when she hears that Mino is marrying.

This novel is like an opera with songs, costumes, music, pageantry, love, tragedy, and romance. A great blend of historical fact and fiction, this is a wonderful read for fans of historical fiction.

Grade: B+
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Ok, the writing is fine, and I have no major issue with the characters or plot. But I just can’t believe that as I’m 14% into this book, they are both head over heels in love with each other.. like they have met a couple times. Which weren’t even shown to us in the book, making it even more unbelievable that they’d form such a bond. I was curious to read Kate’s adult debut but it’s leaning a bit too cheesy/YA for me.
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As someone who studied classical voice for years, I'm always thrilled to find novels that center around singing. The Orphan's Song, the first adult novel by author Lauren Kate - who is known for her YA fantasy romances - is a lush and evocative love story in which the role of music is second only to the romance.

Violetta and Mino have lived almost all their lives at the Hospital of the Incurables, an orphanage in Venice founded by the Catholic Church. Violetta was left there as a baby and knows nothing about the mother who abandoned her, while Mino was five when his mother dropped him off there, and he secretly dreams of one day being reunited with her.

Life for the girls who live at the orphanage is extremely regimented. Those with musical talent are trained to be part of the various choirs run by the church, and a select few are chosen for the world famous Coro, which is made up of only the best singers. Coro girls are required to sign an oath that forbids them from singing outside the church walls. Being chosen for the Coro isn't easy, but it's something Violetta has dreamed of for as long as she can remember. She's not happy about all the rules she'll have to follow, but she's sure she can find a way around them when the time is right.

Mino's upbringing is very different from Violetta's. Boys do not study music. Instead, they're housed, fed, and clothed until they're old enough to obtain an apprenticeship outside the orphanage. This affords them quite a bit of freedom, but for Mino, who loves to play the violin, the idea of being apprenticed to a tradesman is far from exciting.

Mino and Violetta meet one night on the roof of the orphanage, and from that night on, they are bonded in a way that will change both their lives in irrevocable ways. Mino dreams of marrying Violetta and setting up a music shop of his own, but Violetta isn't ready to settle down as a wife and mother, and so, she turns down Mino's marriage proposal and seems to dedicate herself completely to the coro while Mino strikes out on his own and becomes a well-known maker of beautiful violins.

The story then follows Mino and Violetta’s lives during the ten years during which they are not in contact. Violetta begins to perform in secret at a fancy gentleman's club, while Mino scours the city in hopes of finding his mother. Their lives are filled with intrigue and danger, and neither is able to fully push thoughts of the other from their minds.

There's a lot to love about The Orphan's Song. The vivid descriptions of eighteenth century Venice made me feel as though I'd traveled back in time. I always appreciate an author's ability to bring the setting to life in such a special way. Venice itself almost felt like a character in its own right, and I reveled in that aspect of the story.

The same thing can be said about the lovely way the author describes the music of the time. I grew up with classical music, so reading about the music Violetta and Mino perform gave me a feeling of utter joy. I really wanted to listen to some of the music described in the book, an experience I can honestly say I haven't had before reading this book. Sure, music is mentioned in lots of today's fiction, but rarely does it evoke such strong feelings in me as a reader.

I want to tell you I loved everything about this novel, but sadly, that didn't turn out to be true. I struggled to completely buy into the connection formed between the leads. Their initial meeting is described, and then we're told that they continue to sneak out onto the roof at night so they can be together, but we don't actually get to see that happen. I wanted to see their friendship deepen into romantic love instead of simply being told it had happened. Mino's marriage proposal seemed to come out of nowhere, and I didn't blame Violetta at all for refusing to marry him. Of course, the two are eventually reunited, and I loved watching them come together as adults, but I would have preferred to witness the early days of their relationship instead of having the focus so firmly set on them in adulthood.

I think part of my disappointment with the way the romance was handled was due to the fact that the book is being marketed as an historical romance, whereas it’s more like a piece of historical fiction with romantic elements. The romance plays a part, of course, but it didn't feel central enough to the entire plot to qualify as a romance for my taste. Even so, I'm glad I read The Orphan’s Song, and I look forward to seeing what comes next from this author.

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"she wanted love - real love, or no love at all. This longing infected her like a disease. She knew no cure."

Venice 1725 Historical Adult Romance. Two five year old orphans, Violetta and Milo, are growing up at an orphanage, wishing they had families. But not just any orphanage. The Hospital of the Incurables was a revered music school. The girls sang at the most famous house of worship in Venice. Violetta could sing well and she was taught, raised to sing at Mass, behind a grate. She became a famous "coro", and was made to sign an oath never to sing beyond its church doors. In the city at this time, the people were required to wear masks.

The orphanage was very strict, but these two snuck out to the roof to watch other people and escape the feeling of being imprisoned. She had seen Milo's mother when she brought him to the orphanage and left him there - he was asleep. Milo growing up there found a broken violin and repaired it, then taught himself to play. Something that he was not supposed to do, but it became his passion. The background unknown to Milo, the two children shared the song that his mother had sung when she dropped him off. It was a bond between them. The journey of their lives is complicated and not easy, with many struggles for freedom and security. The story unfolds and intertwines, not always in the expected way. It's also interesting to learn about Venice and the way of life there at that time. Keeps you engaged to the end. Passion, heartbreak, betrayal and the need that we all have to be loved. Mild sexual content.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher and NetGalley book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
#TheOrphansSong #LaurenKate #NetGalley #BooksYouCanFeelGoodAbout
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You will feel as though you are being serenaded while reading this historical adult debut novel . 
Orphans will pull at your heart strings as they do in this story. The The Hospital of the Incurables, the revered music school and orphanage houses boys and girls separately.
When a chance meeting on the roof of the home has her meeting a boy from inside the exciting adventure begins. Mesmerizing, I could hardly put this book down as I was transported to Venice among the glamour and exciting vibe of the city. Secrets kept and a heartbreaking journey will lead this couple to a very unexpected revelation. A forbidden love, will love enough be enough to sustain it? 
Maturity leads to a somethings that would have been best left alone when a sense of betrayal hits.
This book is a breathtaking journey fans have come to expect from other Lauren Kate books.
Published June 25th 2019 by G.P. Putnam's Sons.
I was given a complimentary copy of this book. Thank you.
All opinions expressed are my own
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WHAT DID I THINK OF THE ORPHAN’S SONG BY LAUREN KATE?
Is it just me or is the cover for The Orphan’s Song by Lauren Kate utterly captivating? Maybe it is just me. I absolutely love a good historical fiction cover and this one is so lovely. Not only that, but the story really appealed to me as well. You see, The Orphan’s Song is about two orphans, Mino and Violetta who live at the Hospital of the Incurables which is also an orphanage.

Violetta witnesses Mino being placed into the orphanage drop off wheel when she is five and he is also around five as well. She hears the song Mino’s mother sings him and is never able to get it out of her head. Anyways, Mino and Violetta meet face to face by chance when they are a bit older and bond over music. Then their lives take drastically different turns. I won’t say anymore though because why spoil it.

The Orphan’s Song is the first book that I’ve read by Lauren Kate and I actually did like it. I found the setting and plot to be compelling. The characters were interesting. Of course, I am also such a sucker for romance, so that was enjoyable too, although it definitely was not the focus of this book.

HOW’S THE NARRATION?
The Orphan’s Song is narrated by Cassandra Campbell. It is 11 hours and 19 minutes long. It’s actually a quick feeling listen. I think Campbell has this gorgeous, elegant way of narrating. So, I enjoyed my time listening to this book. Plus at the end of the audiobook, an opera singer actually sings both Violetta’s song and Mino’s song. It’s a nice extra touch. On the whole, this is worth listening to if you’re just craving some light historical fiction that won’t take you all summer to get through.
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I thought this was an absolutely wonderful story. The story is set in the 1700’s in Venice, Italy. The story follows Violetta and Mino, two orphans, separated by gender. A chance encounter on the roof of the orphanage changes their lives forever. Inextricably bonded through their love of music, Mino and Violetta are separated, but always in each other’s hearts. I thought this was written in a very clever way, tying together these two individuals through different settings in Venice, and different individuals. Like any good love story it is timeless, and while I already have read it, I would buy the book just to read it again in the future. A definite recommended read. Novel supplied by Netgalley.
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Eighteenth-century Venice comes beautifully alive in this book about a little-known corner of its world.  A certain church orphanage trains its girls in music from infancy to adulthood.  The Church of the Incurables is famous for its conservatory of musicians.  The girls’ singing and playing bring lots of money to the church, which allows its leaders to provide the best instructors and composers for the girls.  

Even though the girls are kept completely separate from the boys and are not allowed outside the orphanage, Violetta knows she will one day be free—it’s part of her destiny.  She manages to meet Mino, a fellow orphan, and they forge a bond that will be life-changing for both of them.  The life Violetta manages to escape to is not what she expected, and it is Mino who must rescue her.

For me, the most interesting part was the education of the singers—how they practiced and worked with the composers and how competitive they were as they learned to use their voices.  Also interesting was the dangerous world of the rich and famous at that time.  All was not as romantic as it seemed.  A rich historical fiction.
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This was a good book to read. It did not wow me as some oarts were just too descriptive, but overall it was a pleasant book if you like something light and easy to read.
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I was provided with an ARC of this title by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Letta and Mino's story captivated me from the very beginning. They are both foundling children sheltered at a convent. She is destined for a life of music and he is apprenticed to a gondolier.  They meet by chance on the rooftops, and fall in love. Their story is filled with twists and turns, and when Letta reveals how they are irrevocably connected, a wedge is driven between them that only time can conquer. 
A wonderful story set in the waning days of Venetian glory.
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Lauren Kate is one of my favorite authors, when I got this copy I was really excited to read it but unfortunately, I didn't enjoy it that much.
The writing style as always was amazing.
But for me, the characters weren't that interesting .
And I really felt bored while reading some parts.
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Violetta- She is so ahead of her time and forward thinking. I love how rebellious she is and how she does not let her life in the orphanage take away her thirst for life, for “more”. 

I love Mino’s loyal and devoted spirit. He never gives up on the belief that he will find his mother, loves Violetta for years while believing that he will never be good enough for her, and sticks by his wife until her death. 

This story has something for everyone; passion, love, heartbreak, murder, and betrayal.  The pacing and timing of the story are excellent and the descriptions of the emotions of the characters are so lifelike. The song woven throughout the story is so well used that you forget that it isn’t a real song, it has such an impact on the story. 

I love that this story begins in an orphanage with almost an “Annie” type feel but without the rich foster daddy to come along. 

I have been reading a lot of historical fictions lately and this one is just so beautiful and well written; It truly transports you to a different place and time. 

Lauren Kate was able to weave such a beautiful and lifelike story, she brought the world of Venice to life and created these characters who grow and change so much throughout the story. 

This book was beautifully written with grand beautiful descriptions of this world and environment.  

I would absolutely recommend this book. Of the ARC’s that I have read in the last couple of month’s, this is probably my favorite. I cannot wait to pick up a hard copy of this.
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There is so much that Violetta wants to know about the world.  She wants to know what it’s like outside of the walls of the Incurables.  She wants to know what it would be like to be as carefree as the glamourous women she watches drink the day away in the city’s grand cafés and more than anything, she wants to know what it’s really like to be loved.  

She thought that she had glimpsed true love one day while hiding out on the roof of the orphanage.  For Violetta, love was a boy with blonde hair who could play the violin with breathtaking passion.  Love was something that she would never be able to call her own.

“Before she lost her nerve, she stepped close and put her arms around Mino. She leaned her head against his and held him, feeling his arms come around her. Her cheek to his, she gazed beyond his shoulder to the horizon. 
For years, each of them had nurtured this music privately within them. Now Violetta could almost see how the song had entered into the world. They’d let it out, a physical force, a subtle shift of light and sky. 
It was everywhere. How far would it go?”

Mino was one of the rare orphans who could remember his mother. He could still hear her voice singing a song that he thought only he knew the words to.  Somehow, Letta knows them too.  From that moment, he's determined to prove to her that despite their youth and all of obstacles in their way, that they belong together - now and forever.  
 
But all orphans know how cruel the world can really be.  One mistake can change your path forever. And true love is worth sacrificing everything for.  

“Life was like music; if you changed a single note, you changed the entire song. Mino had made mistakes. He had hurt those he cared for and given up too soon. He had been a fool, a coward, a failure—and if he hadn’t been each of those things in precisely the ways he had, he wouldn’t be standing on this bridge right now with Letta and the other half of his token in his hand.”

The Orphan’s Song is a haunting tale of devotion and sacrifice.  In her first historical novel, Lauren Kate’s one-of-a-kind dreamlike prose brings her characters to vivid life. Even the city of Venice becomes a character itself - shimmering with promise and deception. 

Every nuance – from the music to the heartbreak – blends together exquisitely to make this an experience that fans both old and new will devour.  And now I count myself amongst them…
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The Orphan's Song is a beautiful story of a strange and interesting time and place in history.

Venice, 1736. Violetta is an orphan who lives at the Hospital of the Incurables. Not only does it house syphilitic people, but it is an orphanage that trains singers for the coro, a famous group that sings at the church. Mino is an orphan who lives on the boys' side. Girls and boys never see each other. Boys are kept until a suitable apprenticeship can be found.

Weird things:

1.  During this period of time in Venice, people almost always wore masks in public. Which, of course, is sometimes very convenient. Or dangerous. Or inconvenient.

2. If Violetta is chosen for the coro, she will sign an oath to never sing anywhere else in Venice--ever. Coro singers, after their time in the group, will either be married or sent to a nunnery.

3. People leave orphaned children on a wheel, so no harm comes to them. They put the child on the wheel, and turn it so they are inside until someone in the hospital finds them.

Violetta and Mino both take solace on the roof of the hospital, and eventually meet and begin a relationship. Mino plays a violin that he has repaired himself. Violetta sings. What Mino doesn't know is that Violetta witnessed, from this rooftop, Mino's mother dropping him off on the wheel. The song she sings to Mino is the song his mother sang when she left him. Mino has half a token with a picture on it. His mother has the other half. Mino vows to find his mother once he leaves the hospital.

Mino does get an apprenticeship building gondolas that float on the canals of Venice. He builds a life and a solid future for him and Violetta. On one of the few outings that the females are allowed, he steals Violetta and asks her to marry him. To his shock, she says "no."

This begins Mino's demise into poverty. He becomes a beggar, living day to day. Violetta becomes the premier singer in the coro. But she isn't happy either and begins to sneak out at night. She finds a gambling house and meets the owner who convinces her to sing once a week. She becomes famous. (Remember, all of this is under her mask.)

Mino's fortunes eventually begin to improve. And both of our main characters seem like they will be happy in their separate lives, even though they never forget each other. Happiness is fleeting.

I was mesmerized by the setting and characters in The Orphan's Song. Such a different and bizarre world. It seems they will never find each other. How can they -- even if they were looking for each other -- they are always under masks! It makes for an exciting tale. My only complaint is that the story really dragged for a while in the middle. Lots of setup before things really start happening. A minor complaint. Since I enjoyed the world Kate had created, I was patient.

If you are at all interested in history, especially historical romances, The Orphan's Song is a wonderful example.
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Set in 18th century Venice, the story follows two orphans, Violetta and Mino. Both are residents of the Incurables, a hospital and orphanage where girls are trained in music with the hopes of joining the Coro, while the boys are sent out for apprenticeships. Violetta and Mino meet one day in the attic of the orphanage where each has gone to dream of a different future. Violetta wants to escape into the Venice she sees below her and be able to sing freely, while Mino just wants to be able to play his violin and look for the mother that haunts his memories. After Mino is sent out to fulfill his apprenticeship, Violetta is promoted as the starring soprano in the famous Coro. Still longing for the world outside her walls, Violetta finds a way to escape for a few precious hours in the evenings and soon finds herself singing at the el Sireno, a club owned by the mysterious Fredrico. As Violetta and Mino’s lives seem to be running on different paths, their stories are fated to converge.

Written with lyrical prose, this well-researched historical fiction novel places the reader in a Venice of masqueraders, free to pursue their deepest desires with anonymity. The sights, sounds and aromas of 18th century Venice come alive within the pages. A mesmerizing, often bittersweet tale, The Orphan’s song is more romance than historical fiction, but fans of both genres will find much to enjoy and keep them turning the pages until the dramatic conclusion.
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Life was like music; if you changed a single note, you changed the entire song. You make mistakes. You hurt those that you care for and give up to soon. You can be a fool, a coward, a failure and without those things, you may never find your purpose. 

A lyrical love story of Mino and Letta. Both were abandoned by their mothers for different reasons and left at an orphanage that housed abandoned children. Letta was a only two days old when she was abandoned and the only thing she knew was music and that she would never become a mother. She witnessed a mother living a small child in a abandoned wheel. Where babies are placed and mothers can leave in obscurity. However, Letta witnessed the mother's heartache as she left her son a 1/2 pendant. Hoping maybe one day to claim the son she left. 

As fate would have it Letta and the boy known as Mino meet on the roof top where they make a connection with their music. Mino still has the pendant that his mother left for him and dreams of finding her. Letta dreams of singing and her love for music draws her to Mino as he plays his violin for her. Their love for each other becomes tragic as Mino dreams are not the same as Letta. Letta makes a decision that will haunt her and keep her from the love of her life. This decision putts Mino and Letta on different paths where they eventually meet up again.

Their love story is in the setting of Vienna and with the Carnival and the church interwoven in their tragic search for acceptance, purpose and a home, they each cling to the pureness of music. The one thing that has rang true in their lives and the one thing that that will make them together. 

A Special Thank you to Penguin Group and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.
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I don’t have much to say it was an interesting storyline but a typical romance. I enjoyed it but felt the ending was cliche and predictable. 
Romance lovers will love it, the setting in Venice is pretty A+ material in my opinion though!

A historical fiction taking place in Venice in the 1700s. A sweeping love story of music and family. The orphans of the Incurables- the best choir in Venice with strict rules and eligibility. Mino and Violetta share a secret friendship as children and as they grow up there oaths take different turns, as boys orphans leave on scholarships and the girls compete for the coro. But there is a secret that haunts them and a song that draws them back together. 

Big thanks to @putnambooks via @netgalley for the ARC- this book comes out June 25th
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This author was previously a YA author and it shows. There are pages and pages of Violetta and Mino's one day of freedom and stolen kiss. I think this must be more appealing to a younger audience but bored me to tears. Luckily, there were lots of interesting parts to make up for it. It's set in Venice in the 1700's  and the sense of place and time is excellent.

  Violetta and Mino were orphans in The Incurables Orphanage. The girls were raised to be musicians, mostly singers, who sang at church services. The boys were just raised and then set up in apprenticeships or just released. The girls led very restrictive lives and rarely let outside. Violetta longs to see the outside world and don a mask that everyone in Venice wears at that time.

  She and Milo make a dash for freedom that leads to a horrible break-up. They look at their relationship quite differently. Violetta is caught and punished quite severely. Milo loses his apprenticeship and  begins living on the street. They rebuild their lives and this is quite interesting.
I really like the tales of Venice and life at that time.  A little less talk about the kiss would have helped this book tremendously.

  Thanks to Net Galley for a copy of this book in exchange for a fair review.
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I received this from Netgalley.com for a review. 

Violetta a soprano and Mino a violinist, want nothing more than to make music. But circumstances and proper behavior prevent them from being together. 

The story lagged a bit in the middle.
3.25 stars
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Thank you to Penguin Group PUTNAM and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read this eArc.

I requested this book because it takes place in Venice during the 1700’s. I fell in love with Venice when my husband and I visited the city briefly on a European tour. My time there was short but so memorable. It is a place oozing with mystery and character.

Violetta and Mino are orphans of the Hospital of the Incurables, which was a place for treatment of those suffering from syphillis. The hospital also had an orphanage attached to it. The children that grow up there are given some opportunities as they age. The girls can sing in the church coro (choir) and the boys are given apprenticeships.

Violetta wants to be a singer in the coro with all her heart. Mino plays the violin and they befriend each other, sharing moments in their secret place, the rooftop of the orphanage. There is love between them, but Violetta doesn’t see any hope for them. As a child, Violetta witnessed Mino’s mother dropping him at the orphanage and since that moment she vowed never to become a mother.

Violetta’s rejection devastates Mino. It was heartbreaking watching him lose his way, trying to find the mother that left him, and moving on from the girl that broke him. The two of them take on separate journeys and they only meet again in the later half of the book. All throughout the story it’s evident their lives are intertwined by what seems to be fate or love. I just felt awful for Mino though.

The only thing that didn’t quite work out for me was the secret of Mino’s father. When that was revealed, I thought, really? It had to be him of all people? Poor Mino, hasn’t he been through enough?

I read this book in one night. I kept rooting for Mino and Violetta, because their love was so beautiful in the beginning. I was hoping they would eventually find their way to one another. It’s a rough journey for them but I enjoyed this love story and being whisked away to the “city of masks” was a plus.
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