Mozart's Sister: Book summary and reviews of Mozart's Sister by Rita Charbonnier

Mozart's Sister

by Rita Charbonnier

Mozart's Sister
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  • Published in USA  Oct 2007
    336 pages
    Genre: Historical Fiction

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Book Summary

Maria Anna Walburga Ignatia Mozart, affectionately called Nannerl by her family, could play the piano with an otherworldly skill from the time she was a child, when her tiny hands seemed too small to encompass a fifth. At the tender age of five, she gave her first public performance, amazing the assembled gentlemen and ladies with the beautiful music she created. But her moment of glory was cut short, for even as her father carried her around to receive their praise, her mother began laboring to bring a second child into the world. After hours of her mother's pained cries and agonized shouts, which rang in Nannerl's ears like a terrifying symphony, the child was born. They named him Wolfgang.

Nannerl loved him instantly. As they grew, Wolfgang and his sister became inseparable, creating a fantasy world together and playing music the likes of which no one had ever heard. They were two sides of a single person, opposite in temperament—he lighthearted and charismatic, she shy and retiring—but equal in talent. Yet it was Wolfgang who carried their father's dreams of glory.

And as the siblings matured, Nannerl’s prodigious talent was brushed aside by her father. Instead of playing alongside her brother in the world’s great cities, she was forced to stop performing and become a provincial piano teacher to support Wolfgang’s career. Nannerl might have accepted this life in her brother’s shadow but for the appearance of a potential suitor who reawakened her passion for life, for love, for music—and who threatened to upset the delicate balance that kept the Mozart family in harmony.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"A moving tribute to the spirit of a forgotten sibling. Music imbues every gripping page, and in revealing Nannerl, Charbonnier also gives us a different view of Mozart, both rounding out and exploding the myths of his brief, tragic life." -Susanne Dunlap, author of Emilie’s Voice and Liszt’s Kiss.

"A dysfunctional family, sex scandals, and true love? - eighteenth-century Europe was a far different world from ours, yet Rita Charbonnier's skill and verve make us feel at home, and we cheer for the brilliant, resilient Nannerl as she struggles to become much more than Mozart's sister." - Karen Harper, author of The Last Boleyn.

"If you sympathized with Salieri when you watched Amadeus, wait until you find out what happened to Nannerl, Mozart’s sister. As brilliantly talented as her younger brother, she had a famous musical career that was ruthlessly turned into a mere addendum to his. Mozart's Sister brings an intriguing woman back to life." - India Edghill, author of Wisdom’s Daughter.

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Reader Reviews

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Wendy

The Forgtten Sister
The story of Mozart's Sister is definitely the tale of the forgotten one. Rita Charbonnier's rich language brings this story to life and makes the reader experience Nannerl's pain. Being a male, her brother's success far overshadows Nannerl's equally impressive abilities. The account of how she handles this situation is an enjoyable one.

Erica

Mozart's Sister by Rita Charbonnier
Mozart's Sister is an excellent portrayal of the frustrations of an extremely talented, artistic and intelligent woman, living at a time when women's contributions were ignored and only men's gifts were touted. As the sister of the prodigy, Wolfgang Mozart, Nannerl was cast in the shadows and allowed little other than a supporting role. Charbonnier has brought a character, given a minor role in history, to life. She shows the dysfunctional Mozart family in a manner different from other authors, who put Wolfgang in the limelight and mention Nannerl only in passing, and shows the true villainy of Leopold.

Shirley

Mozart's Sister Comes Alive
What an engaging story of familiar characters. We get an insiders' view of the dysfunctional dynamics of the Mozart Family. It certainly wasn't advantageous to be born female, although ultimately poor Wolfgang doesn't benefit emotionally from his father's indulgence. At its core, this is a story of how the unconditional love of others can lead a character to bloom. The character development is well done. The main chacter becomes alive and the reader is drawn into her tale.

Christine

Mozart's Sister
Despite the lapse of centuries, a woman's struggle to stay true to her own sacred nature is timeless. Rita Charbonnier's Mozart's Sister is a love story: with music, with family, with the search for one's beloved, and, ultimately, with one's self.

I found the story very modern, current and satisfying. Book clubs, and readers of varying ages should find this book appealing, depending on their various stages of the same journey. The whipped cream AND the cherry is that the basic facts in this story are true and there very well must have been the knotty issues embraced in this lovely read.
Good historical fiction in my book. (Now I want to dig out what more is written about this woman.)

Beth

Discovering the Unfamiliar Mozart
Rita Charbonnier has created a wonderful novel depicting the life of Wolfgang Mozart's older sister, known to family and friends as Nannerl. As a child, she too was a prodigy, performing with her brother, but their father's sexist attitudes sent her down another path. This book takes us along with her - to find her place in the world and in music.

Jeanne

Mozart's Sister by Rita Charbonnier
Maria Anna Mozart whose family pet name was Nannerl was the older sister of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Her narrative has rich historical and metaphorical detail. I was charmed throughout ,but one passage which describes the children's musical notes was especially wonderful: "Their notes ran, improvised and anarchic, wild and noisy, from one door to another; they pursued, caught up, became entangled and let go; they flew out the window...." While this is Nannerl's story, her brother impacts her life, and how Nannerl comes to terms with her life and her music will satisfy the reader.
I loved the book for all the reasons mentioned and would recommend to those fascinated with historical fiction or biography.

...25 more reader reviews

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More Information

Rita Charbonnier's was born in Vicenza, in the north of the country, and lives in Rome. She has studied piano and opera singing. Mozart's Sister is her first novel.

Follow Rita at http://www.ritacharbonnier.com/eng

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