“Not all who wander are lost.” Juliet Waldron was baptized in the yellow spring of a small Ohio farm town. She earned a B. A. in English, but has worked at jobs ranging from artist’s model to brokerage. Twenty-five years ago, after the kids left home, she dropped out of 9-5 and began to write, hoping to create a genuine time travel experience for herself—and her readers—by researching herself into the Past. Mozart’s Wife won the 1st Independent e-Book Award. Genesee originally won the 2003 Epic Award for Best Historical, and she’s delighted that it’s available again from Books We Love. She enjoys cats, long hikes, history books and making messy gardens with native plants. She’s happy to ride behind her husband on his big “bucket list” sport bike.
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I come to Mozart's Wife after having first read its companion novel, My Mozart, which I enjoyed very much. But this was even better. Right from the start, I was gripped by this tale what it might have been like to be courted by and married to a musical genius like Mozart. Nowhere near as idyllic a love story as some folks might imagine.
The greatest strength of this novel is the main character, who is not Mozart, but Constanze, his wife. Whether you like her or dislike her, in this novel she is not to be ignored. Stanzi's voice seems real and authentic (and quite different from the voice of Mozart's young lover in My Mozart, the story of a woman who only saw the part, not the whole).
I felt as if I were being taken into the heart of an 18th century marriage, which is not, after all, very different from a 21st century marriage--passion and foolishness, hope, delight and adoration followed by the almost inevitable disillusionment as the real world batters at the gates of romance. The Mozart of this novel is sensitive, kindhearted, sensual, and so eager to please that he can't say no, especially to a pretty or a talented woman. And yet he is so lovable and irresistible to his wife that she forgives him time and again, not only for his infidelities, but also for his complete idiocy with regard to their finances. But the anger slowly builds inside her until she, too, is willing to dabble in a discreet but forbidden romance.
Although I probably wouldn't have made the same choices as Stanzi does in this story, I can empathize with her, and even root for her when she does her best to put the broken pieces of her life back together. I can't even imagine how terrible it must have been to keep getting pregnant and keep losing one beloved child after another to death. Yet this was what most women endured before reliable birth control measures were invented. Anyone who romanticizes what it was like to live in the past will surely be brought up short when reading this account of what marriage and motherhood were really like for women in this era. And if you love Mozart and his music, there is a great deal to appreciate here, too, even though his music is not the primary focus of this book.
Highly recommended for anyone who enjoys lively, well-researched historical novels.
Mozart’s Wife by Juliet Waldron is a brilliant novel that weaves fact with fiction in the telling of what life with Mozart was like from his wife’s point of view. This novel is rich in historical detail and is one of those books to savor, not rush through. The writing is eloquent and the story intriguing. I listened to the audiobook which is narrated by Celeste Lawson and she does a great job. I think she has the perfect tone of voice for this type of story and for me she just really brought Mozart and Konstanze’s world to life for me.
Konstanze falls in love with Mozart from a young age when he begins courting her sister and when that doesn’t work out she’s secretly happy. In a family of girls Konstanze doesn’t shine as her sisters do so she’s surprised and thrilled when Mozart confesses that he loves her and can’t live without her in his always over dramatic way. They marry and that is really where this story explodes as it delves into the marriage of Konstanze and Mozart which is sometimes happy and sometimes in turmoil.
Life with Mozart is definitely not always an easy one. Mozart is constantly creating his music and spending his time out among the people – especially those with praise for him. Mozart though has a hard time saving any money and whenever he has any he spends it. For Konstanze with the household to maintain and kids to care for this is more often a nightmare than anything else. Many, many times the family is much to close to the poverty line with Mozart lending out money they don’t have.
Mozart was a man who just lived day to day; never planning. As well Mozart seemed to be quite often unfaithful to his wife. While Konstanze didn’t believe it at first soon enough she does and while she scolds him for his philandering ways she certainly never leaves him for it. More often than not though she finds herself pregnant and with having troubled births and children passing from disease childbirth has turned into something to be feared for her.
The research that went into this novel shines through on every page. I didn’t know anything about Mozart apart from his music before reading this book and I really appreciate the knowledge I’ve gained through this reading. More than that it is always interesting to see the lives of the people behind the one who is famous. It is because of Konstanze that Mozart’s music is still as popular today as it was then because she made sure it would be. Despite the troubles in her marriage she loved her husband and I found her a fascinating character to read about.
For readers of historical fiction Mozart’s Wife is an excellent choice and one I enjoyed a great deal!
Waldron has done a fine job at immersing the reader in the late 18th C. Austria. A fascinating look at the famous composer from the perspective of his wife, while also being her own tale. Waldron chose to use some of the more scandalous, unproven rumors as her part of the plot, which is certainly the difference between novels and biography.
Constanze is a strong woman who loves Mozart deeply but must learn to deal with his flirtatious nature (is he faithful?), his drinking and partying, and his constant overspending. The novel deals with the reality of a woman's life - talented and intelligent in her own right - where the double standard was exacerbated by the Mozart's choices.
Both characters are complex - I found myself admiring them, yet annoyed with them at time. The life of the Mozarts as a couple and the complex society they lived in was well presented with a good balance between the exposition necessary to render the world well and the action that moved the story. My favorite parts were the dialog between Mozart and Constanze because they were so different, yet loved each other despite all they faced.
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