Ecstasy: Book summary and reviews of Ecstasy by Mary Sharratt

Ecstasy by Mary Sharratt X
Ecstasy by Mary Sharratt
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  • Published in USA  Apr 2018
    400 pages
    Genre: Historical Fiction

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Book Summary

In the glittering hotbed of turn-of-the-twentieth-century Vienna, one woman's life would define and defy an era.

Gustav Klimt gave Alma her first kiss. Gustav Mahler fell in love with her at first sight and proposed only a few weeks later. Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius abandoned all reason to pursue her. Poet and novelist Franz Werfel described her as "one of the very few magical women that exist." But who was this woman who brought these most eminent of men to their knees? In Ecstasy, Mary Sharratt finally gives one of the most controversial and complex women of her time the center stage. 

Coming of age in the midst of a creative and cultural whirlwind, young, beautiful Alma Schindler yearns to make her mark as a composer. A brand-new era of possibility for women is dawning and she is determined to make the most of it. But Alma loses her heart to the great composer Gustav Mahler, nearly twenty years her senior. He demands that she give up her music as a condition for their marriage. Torn by her love and in awe of his genius, how will she remain true to herself and her artistic passion?

Part cautionary tale, part triumph of the feminist spirit, Ecstasy reveals the true Alma Mahler: composer, author, daughter, sister, mother, wife, lover, and muse.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"This winning historical novel offers an enjoyable portrait of an ambitious woman whose struggles are as relevant today as they were a century ago." - Publishers Weekly

"A novel with surefire appeal for fans of romantic women's fiction." - Booklist

"[Sharratt] has in-depth knowledge of classical music and turn-of-the-20th-century Vienna…Recommended for readers who like the peaks and valleys of nonstop drama." - Library Journal

"In Sharratt's bracing portrayal...Alma's limits seem largely self-imposed. Readers will enjoy forming their own opinions on who was really the victim here." - Kirkus

"Evocative and passionate, Ecstasy illuminates through its tempestuous and talented heroine a conundrum that resonates across the centuries: how a woman can fulfill her destiny by being both a lover and an artist." - Jenna Blum, New York Times best-selling author of Those Who Save Us and The Stormchasers

"A tender, intimate exploration of a complicated woman...I loved this inspiring story of an early feminist standing up for her art." - Meg Waite Clayton, New York Times best-selling author of The Race for Paris

"Alma Mahler's unexpected, often heartbreaking journey from muse to independence comes to vivid, dramatic life. Sharratt skillfully evokes turn-of-the-century Vienna and the musical genius of the era, returning Alma to her rightful place in history as both the inspiration to the men in her life and a gifted artist in her own right." - C.W. Gortner, best-selling author of Mademoiselle Chanel

"Mary Sharratt has more than done justice to one of the most interesting, shocking, and passionate women of the 20th century. Overflowing with life and lust, Ecstasy explores this flawed but fascinating woman." - M.J. Rose, New York Times best-selling author of The Library of Light and Shadow

"A deeply affecting portrait of the woman rumored to be the most notorious femme fatale of turn-of-the-century Vienna. Mary Sharratt's Ecstasy is as heartbreaking and seductive as Alma Mahler herself." - Kris Waldherr, author of Doomed Queens and Bad Princess

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Author Information

Mary Sharratt Author Biography

Mary Sharratt's explorations into the hidden histories of Renaissance women compelled her to write her most recent work, The Dark Lady's Mask (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2016), based on the dramatic life of the ground-breaking poet, Aemilia Bassano Lanier.

Born in Minnesota, Mary now lives with her Belgian husband in the Pendle region of Lancashire, England, the setting for her acclaimed novel, Daughters of the Witching Hill, which recasts the Pendle Witches of 1612 in their historical context as cunning folk and healers.

Previously she lived for twelve years in Germany. This, along with her interest in sacred music and herbal medicine, inspired her to write her award-winning Illuminations: A Novel of Hildegard Von Bingen, which explores the dramatic life of the ...

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  • Daughters of the Witching Hill jacket
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