Love historical fiction as much as I do? If so, then you don’t want to miss this book. The Violinist of Venice is a story of passion, music, ambition, and finding the strength to both fall in love and to carry on when it ends.
Title: The Violinist of Venice: A Story of Vivaldi
Author: Alyssa Palombo
Genres: Adult-Fiction, Historical-Fiction, Music, Cultural, Romance
Publisher: St. Martins Griffin
Publication Date: December 15th 2015
Adriana’s father is intent on seeing her married to a wealthy, prominent member of Venice’s patrician class-and a handsome, charming suitor, whom she knows she could love, only complicates matters-but Vivaldi is a priest, making their relationship forbidden in the eyes of the Church and of society. They both know their affair will end upon Adriana’s marriage, but she cannot anticipate the events that will force Vivaldi to choose between her and his music. The repercussions of his choice-and of Adriana’s own choices-will haunt both of their lives in ways they never imagined.
Spanning more than 30 years of Adriana’s life, Alyssa Palombo’s The Violinist of Venice is a story of passion, music, ambition, and finding the strength to both fall in love and to carry on when it ends.
Praise for THE VIOLINIST OF VENICE
“A lovely book, engrossing and realistic. In simple, spare prose, Palombo gives life to an improbable romance between Vivaldi, the ‘Red Priest’ and Adriana D’Amato, the lovely daughter of a wealthy merchant. Music is Adriana’s downfall – she falls deeply and passionately in love with the composer – and ultimately her salvation. The most compelling aspect of the novel is Adriana’s love of music and the author’s virtuoso descriptions of the Vivaldi’s compositions. The passages are so evocative one can almost hear the ebb and flow of the music. We are in the hands of a not only a master story teller but also a dedicated music lover.”
—Roberta Rich, international bestselling author of The Midwife of Venice
“The Violinist of Venice by Alyssa Palombo is a warm and compelling story of the secret love affair in the life of the famous Baroque composer, Antonio Vivaldi. Vivid and alive and thrumming with the exquisite strains of violin music, the novel explores the impossible choices between love and duty and the demands of art in the decadent world of early 18th century Venice.”
—Kate Forsyth, international bestselling author of Bitter Greens
“This panoramic novel of composer Antonio Vivaldi’s life sweeps readers into a world of beautiful melodies and forbidden passion. Palombo allows music, more than the characters, to be the key to her sumptuous novel. One can almost hear the sweet notes while reading of the passionate and tragic star-crossed lovers. Those who adore the music and history will find what they desire in these pages.”
“Mesmerizing… So gorgeous are the relationships and music reflected here that the reader will want to spend hours listening to truly beautiful music created by both Antonio Vivaldi and Adriana d’Amato. Stunning, lovely historical fiction that is a must-read!”
—The Historical Novel Society
The gondola sliced silently through the dark water of the canal. My hired gondolier pressed the craft close against the wall of one of the buildings that lined the waterway, allowing another boat to pass us.
“Ciao, Luca!” he called to the other gondolier, his voice echoing loudly off the stones of the narrow canal, causing me to start.
I drew the hood of my cloak closer about my face, hiding it as we passed the other gondola.
We drew up to a bridge, and I spied a set of stone steps leading up to the street—the street. “Stop,” I said, my voice low from within the hood. “Let me out here, per favore.”
The gondolier obliged, bringing the boat close to the steps and stopping so that I could gather my skirts and step out, giving me his hand to assist me. I pressed some coins into his palm, and he nodded to me. “Grazie, signorina. Buona notte.”
I started down the street, peering at the houses, looking for the one where the man I sought was said to reside. I crossed a bridge over another small canal, the water beneath looking deep enough to swallow both my secrets and me and leave no trace of either.
Just beyond the bridge I found it. I took a deep breath, banishing the last of my nervousness, pushed open the door and, without knocking, boldly stepped inside.
The room I entered was not large, and appeared even smaller by its clutter. Sheets of parchment covered the table a few paces in front of me, some written upon, some blank, and many with bars of music scrawled on them. A harpsichord sat against one wall, scarcely recognizable beneath the papers heaped on it. I counted three instrument cases throughout the room that each looked to be the right size to hold a violin, or perhaps a viola d’amore. A lit lamp sat on the table amongst the papers, and another on the desk against the wall to my right. These, plus the slowly dying fire in the grate to my left, were the only sources of light in the dim room.
At the desk, bent over a piece of parchment, quill in hand, sat a man in worn-looking clerical robes. He looked up, startled, and I was able to get my first good look at him. He had hair as red as the embers in the hearth and wide dark eyes that, when they caught sight of me, narrowed on my face in anger, then bewilderment. From what I had heard, he was only in his early thirties, yet the strain of childhood illness and—or so I guessed—the trials that life had seen fit to deliver him had given him the weary demeanor of a still older man. And yet beneath his somewhat haggard appearance there was a spark of liveliness, of fire, that made him appealing all the same.
“Who are you? What do you want?” he demanded, scowling as he rose from his chair.
I took another step forward into the room, pushing my hood back from my face. “I seek Maestro Antonio Vivaldi,” I said. “The man they call il Prete Rosso.” The Red Priest.
“Hmph.” He snorted derisively. “You have found him, although I do not know that I rightly deserve the title maestro anymore. After all, I have been sacked.”
“I know,” I said. All of Venice knew that about a year ago, Maestro Vivaldi had been removed, for reasons largely unknown, from his position as violin master and composer at the Conservatorio dell’Ospedale della Pietà, the foundling home renowned for its superb, solely female orchestra and choir. He had spent the past year since his dismissal traveling throughout Europe—or so the gossip said. Having heard of his return, I took the first opportunity I could to seek him out. “I was thinking that as you are currently out of a job, you might be willing to take on a private student.”
His gaze narrowed on me again. “I might be,” he said.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: ALYSSA PALOMBO has published short historical fiction pieces in Black Lantern, Novelletum, and The Great Lakes Review. She is a recent a graduate of Canisius College with degrees in English and creative writing, respectively, as well as a trained classical musician. The Violinist of Venice is her first novel. She lives in Tonawanda, New York.