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Pub Date 16 Nov 2021 | Archive Date 03 Jan 2022

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Gabriella stands on a gallows one day before her 19th birthday in 1718. She tells her story to a young blacksmith, a surly milkmaid, and a mute dwarf who is much more than the muckraker he seems. The pampered daughter of a count, Gabriella’s entire existence has been her music, until one afternoon’s sensual exploration leads to the shame of two noble families and her exile to a convent school for orphan girls, the Ospedale della Pieta in Venice, Italy. Antonio Vivaldi, the school’s Maestro of the Concerto, teaches the students and composes.

She tells of her friend, Veronica, a sublimely talented violinist whose cold eyes hide tragic secrets and of whose murder she now stands convicted. With tears in her eyes, she speaks of her love, Raphael, the handsome overseer whom she had planned to marry. The story of her desperate attempt to learn the truth of a terrible curse that took her own child’s life, and save Veronica from a dark affair, holds the crowd’s rapt attention.

Now she must escape with the help of her friends, from the Ospedale, and perhaps those in the crowd assembled to watch her hang.

Gabriella stands on a gallows one day before her 19th birthday in 1718. She tells her story to a young blacksmith, a surly milkmaid, and a mute dwarf who is much more than the muckraker he seems. The...

Advance Praise

"Romance and lush historical details ...Bookbee"

"Romance and lush historical details ...Bookbee"

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ISBN 9781955784337
PRICE $12.99 (USD)

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Featured Reviews

Omg this book was such a ray of sunshine in my current book slump days, I finished it in a single sitting. I went into it with a blind eye with much or any expectations or so. But, I love how I have been disappointed by it by not being disappointed. I really enjoyed reading and finishing it.

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This was a free ebook given to me by NetGalley and this is my freely given review. I really enjoyed this novel. This is a story of passions of many types, told as a tale by the heroine, Gabriella. She is literally standing on the gallows, about to be hung as a murderess, awaiting her death, and wanting to tell her story to the crowd, so the literary device in use is her voice, telling her story. When that is well done, it is captivating, and I felt it was quite well done here. So we go back and forth a bit from the present where she is telling her story to the crowd gathered to watch her death sentence for entertainment, and which starts out rather hostile, as they do believe she is a murderess and not deserving of their compassion. She tells her story, starting from when she was a child, the adored and indulged only child and heir of Italian nobles, with an enormous musical talent and passion for music that was fostered and indulged. Her story goes a bit downhill from there, where she loses her pedestal status, becoming merely an indulged daughter when her mother births male heirs. As she grows, she becomes aware of carnal passion, and explores this, with unfortunate results, leading to her disgrace, loss of her family, and being sent to convent. However, they send her to a special convent where she is able to teach and indulge in her love of music. To me, this is a story of passions that coincide and conflict, that both uplift and give solace to Gabriella, but also cause her great pain, physical and emotional, and distress. It is a romance, but also a tragedy, and gothic mystery. Initially I did not feel a lot of compassion and empathy for Gabriella, thinking she is a bored, selfish, spoiled noble... but like her audience, as she tells about her life, her decisions, her passions, conflicts, and hardships, you see her growth and develop empathy for her, and the desire to hear more of her story. You are pulled along, wondering what her fate will be; going from dismissing her, to being engaged, to having empathy. This was beautifully written in her voice. I had one massive quibble, and it is more of a technicality than it is about the story itself. There was definitely something wrong with the copy I received, as there were multiple words on every single page that had missing letters - there was constantly missing "t"s, "th"s, "f"s, "fi"s, and other sets like this. So "The" read as "e" and suffering read as "suering", or "su ering", "finally" read as "nally" and so on. This was a literal headache and at times I was ready to give up on the story as it was like codebreaking for dummies at times and incredibly annoying and distracting to guess the words in the middle of the tale. Other than that, a wonderfully colourful, captivating historical. Four out of Five stars.

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