Cover Image: The Orphan's Song

The Orphan's Song

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Member Reviews

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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The Orphan's Song by Lauren Kate
Genre: historical
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: 2019

Thanks to Netgalley, Penguin Books, and Lauren Kate for providing an advanced reader's copy in exchange for an honest review. I appreciate it. 

Summary: 
In 18th century Venice, orphans have few options. In the orphanage known as the Incurables, a young boy and girl meet secretly and bond over their mutual love of music and dreams of escape. Violetta, a gifted singer, is chosen for the widely-renowned coro. But she must sign a pledge that she will never sing outside the church. This chafes at her independent spirit and the more deeply she longs to sing on the outside. A chance comes and she embarks on a dangerous double life. 

She met Mino as a young teen. Also an orphan, Mino has taught himself to play violin. As you might imagine, the two are drawn to each other because of their mutual love of music. He has a "token" of the mother who abandoned him as at the orphanage and dreams of reuniting with her. He also dreams of Violetta. But after his proposal goes wrong, he goes to search for his mother. 

Will either find the freedom and love they long for? 

My thoughts: 
What worked for me: 
1.   The love between Violetta and Mino

The young people fall in love. Predictable. They are instantly drawn to one another. Standard fare in fiction. But what makes their romance believable is how Kate uses their mutual passion for music to draw them together. Both Violetta and Mino are passionate about creating music. (In real life, I've noticed that when one person is musically gifted, their romantic partner is, too.) It's not insta-love, but it is an insta-bond: both are orphans, both love music, both are relatively ignorant of the world outside the Incurables. Love blossoms during their secret meetings.

It's surprising that both are capable of loving other people. But in my opinion, that's realistic, too. Sometimes lovers part ways and move on, learning to love other people. I think Mino in particular grew as a person through the influence of Ana, and I appreciated that he had the strength of character to embrace their relationship.   

2.   The pace
This isn't historical mystery or suspense. I expected the story to unfold slowly and in one sense, it did. Things happen gradually; there's not a lot of "big" action moments. (If you're looking for gunfire and bombs and knifings, you'll have to look elsewhere.) But the narrative moves forward smoothly, like a gondola steered along the Venetian canals by an experienced gondolier (in this case, the author!): quickly enough to make the story move forward, slowly enough to savor the sights of beautiful Venice and its mysterious masked citizens. 

3.  The characters
Mino and Violetta are both richly drawn characters. They have their strengths and weaknesses. I wish Kate had explored some of the secondary characters (like Laura, Violetta's best friend, or Carlos and Ana) in more depth.There's a great canine character, though: Sprezz makes a terrific companion for Mino at his lowest points and spurs him on to continue living when he despairs.  

What didn't work for me: 
At several points, the plot hinged on coincidental meetings. Without giving away any of the plot, I'll just say that it's very convenient for two people to want to see each other to accidentally meet on a bridge. It's possibly too convenient. After all, how many bridges are there in Venice? And they simply happened to be on the same one at the same time? 

A second weakness involves the fate of Mino's mother. Violetta finds a clue as to what happened to his long-gone mother and from there, comes to a conclusion that isn't completely logical. It's feasible, yes, but it's a big step from the known facts to her conclusion. It's also a bit strange that Mino acts upon her conclusion without much thought about the consequences or further investigation. (Though given his emotionally distraught state, that's believable.) 

Final Impression:

With gorgeous writing and great characters, this book evokes Venice at its high point. Some weak spots but a solid historical novel.
Review on my blog will go live on June 17, 2019.
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Available June 25: The Orphan's Song by Lauren Kate

***** 4.5 stars, Loved it: Equally heartbreaking and exciting, The Orphan's Song will immerse you in 1700s Venice.



Recommended readers:

If you like novels with WWII history and drama
If you like a historical read that ties into current times
If you like strong female characters
Here's my Rankings:

5/5 for characters
4/5 for plot
4.5/5 overall
REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

In the glamorous city of Venice in the 1700s, music and parties ruled the culture. And Violetta and Mino are both deep into the first and far removed from the second. As orphans at the Hospital of Incurables, the two are victims of circumstance but uniquely bonded through love and music, via Violetta's voice and Mino's homemade violin. 

The Orphan's Song tells the story of Mino's search for his family - and Violetta's desire to leave the Incurables and discover Venice and true love. Sometimes heartbreaking and frustrating, you'll love exploring the exciting culture of Venice - filled with masks, parties, and a deep passion for music. The Orphan's Song steps into a world where two unique souls try to find their way back together.

Available June 25: The Orphan's Song by Lauren Kate
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• Title: The Orphan’s Song
    • Author: Lauren Kate 
    • Series: Stand-Alone
    • Pages: 336
    • Genre: Historical Fiction/ Historical Romance 
    • Rating/ Out of 5 Stars: 3


My Thoughts:  
	I really liked Letta as a character. She’s plucky, intuitive and shows some great growth throughout the book.
	Mino, was hit or miss. He has some great runs and then he takes a step or two back. This gets to be a theme with him. 
	The first few chapters were the strongest. Our introductions to the city, the quality of life, the characters drew you in and made you want to know more. It was a great look into the lives and opportunities available at the time. 
	Once we started diverting the story into other paths as the characters aged I found myself having trouble staying as involved with their plights as I had been in the beginning. The ending of the book is both a bit messy but nicely wrapped up at the same time. 
	I wish I could like this story to the degree it deserves. It really is well written. The characters are interesting, but it just felt flat to me. I have a feeling this is a title that many people will still enjoy. It just happened to be an “OK” read for me.
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Historical fiction at its best set in Venice the lives of two orphans sadness happiness atmosphere a wonderful involving read.#netgalley #putnambooks
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Venice, 1725: At the southern edge of the city, there is a nursery for foundling children, the Incurables, renowned for training its foundling girls into a conservatory of musicians. “Foundling boys grew up and moved on to apprenticeships; they needed no musical training. But to keep the girls off the streets, they were taught to sing and play for the church (…) The Incurables was made of music – the finest in the city and therefore in the world.”

Violetta, one of the foundling girls, now at the age of 16, is hoping to make the ‘coro’ as soprano. One day, on a rooftop she meets a boy Mino, who is her age. Like her, he’s been sneaking out to have a secret time for his soul – playing violin. As a foundling boy music has been forbidden for him. They become a duet, him playing violin and her singing freely what is forbidden at the Incurables.

Once Mino leaves the Incurables and is out of touch with Violetta, there are a lot of his thoughts, dreams, and assumptions evolving around Violetta. As a result the story becomes stagnant, there is not much progression.

Meanwhile, Violetta is promoted to the coro and finds her purpose. But at the same time, she keeps thinking about Mino. And it’s the same result, slowing the progression of the story.

What attracted me to this story was the famous orphanage of Venice. The first 20% of the story is very solid, interesting with richly presented time period, for example, introducing “cicisbei, a strange breed of cavalier servants particular to Venice’s patrician class.” But after that, this becomes a love story of two young broken hearts with slow progression of the plot, making this story more appropriate for those who like to read romance story, rather than historical fiction.
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The Orphan's Song is a sad story. It's historical fiction, and I'm reminded of the definitive lack of choice given to orphans in this time period. Their lives were difficult and sad. It's well written with engaging characters and good descriptions of time and place. Overall, though, I just found it depressing, so I didn't love it. Thanks to NetGalley for an arc in exchange for an honest review.
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The Orphan's Song is a historical love story that is rich in detail. It has some slow spots, but is well written and I liked the characters.
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I felt the beginning of this book was a little slow.  There was a time when I almost thought I giving up on it, but I am very happy I ignored that inkling.  Letta and Mino are orphans living at the Hospital for the Incurables in Venice.  At the Incurables males learn a trade and are sent off into the world, and females are trained in music and perform for the church until they are too old and become nuns.  Males and females are not allowed to intermingle, but Letta finds Mino one day at her secret spot she likes to escape to at night.  They fall in love, but Letta has been harboring a secret from Mino.  Dreams for the futures cause a rift in their relationship, and over time they lose each other, though never forget their true love.  A story of love and loss with a few twists and turns.
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