The Four Seasons: A Novel of Vivaldi's Venice

The Four Seasons: A Novel of Vivaldi's Venice

3.5 7
by Laurel Corona
     
 

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In glittering 18th-century Venice, music and love are prized above all else--and for two sisters coming of age, the city's passions blend in intoxicating ways.

Chiaretta and Maddalena are as different as night and day. The two sisters were abandoned as babies on the steps of the Ospedale della Pietß, Venice's world-famous foundling

Overview

In glittering 18th-century Venice, music and love are prized above all else--and for two sisters coming of age, the city's passions blend in intoxicating ways.

Chiaretta and Maddalena are as different as night and day. The two sisters were abandoned as babies on the steps of the Ospedale della Pietß, Venice's world-famous foundling hospital and musical academy. High-spirited and rebellious, Chiaretta marries into a great aristocratic Venetian family and eventually becomes one of the most powerful women in Venice. Maddalena becomes a violin virtuoso and Antonio Vivaldi's muse. The Four Seasons is a rich, literary imagination of the world of 18th-century Venice and the lives and loves of two extraordinary women.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

The music students who inspired Vivaldi and the city where they performed the great composer's works come to life in Corona's adult fiction debut. In 1695, three-year-old Maddalena and her infant sister, Chiaretta, are abandoned on the doorstep of Venice's Pietà foundling hospital. Groomed for the Pietà's renowned music academy, Chiaretta, with her pretty blonde looks and beautiful voice, earns a place as celebrated soloist and marriage to an aristocrat. Dark, quiet Maddalena remains in the shadows until she takes up the violin, and a controversial musician and cleric, Antonio Vivaldi, becomes her teacher. Vivaldi represses his romantic feeling for Maddalena and instead writes concert pieces into which they can both put their hearts. According to Corona, women like the orphaned sisters inspired the fervor and brilliance of Vivaldi's music. Fans of Tracy Chevalier's Girl with a Pearl Earring will welcome another novel about how a masterpiece is created. Corona shines when showing musicians at work, especially through secondary characters both real (opera star Anna Giro) and imagined (violin teacher Silvia the Rat). (Nov.)

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From the Publisher
"Corona's The Four Seasons is historical fiction as it is meant to be written—a gripping exploration of the twisting byways of both 18th century Venice and the human heart. Pop Vivaldi's masterpiece into the CD player, brew a pot of tea, and prepare to relinquish the rest of your afternoon. Corona brings Venice and Vivaldi to life, delivering a stirring story of love, ambition, and music that will keep you reading long after the last note of the concerto has ended."—Lauren Willig, author of The Secret History of the Pink Carnation"

Laurel Corona's The Four Seasons is a poignant tale of two sisters layered exquisitely over the exotic world of brilliant priest/composer Vivaldi and his 18th century Venice. The result: a vibrant crescendo of hearts and history."—Karen Harper, author of The Last Boleyn and The First Princess of Wales"

I've never been to Venice, played a violin, or for that matter carried a tune, but after reading The Four Seasons I feel that I've experienced all three, and through them come to a better understanding of the many forms love takes. Brava, Laurel Corona."—Sally Gunning, author of The Widow's War and Bound"

Corona does a magnificent job of showing us the violent contradictions of life in 18th-century Venice, through the eyes of two musically gifted orphan sisters. Their relationships with music and particularly with the complex, enigmatic figure of Antonio Vivaldi are sensitively explored. This novel resists the easy clich and really succeeds in drawing a world that is both panoramic and intimate."—Susanne Dunlap, author of Liszt's Kiss"

Music and the dangerous, exquisite world of eighteenth-century Venice form the setting of this poetic, sensual story of two orphaned sisters. The older is a shy, brilliant violinist, the younger a singer who will not be stopped in what she wants in life. One will cling to the chaste, unrequited love of a lifetime while the other will lose herself in the world of masks, lovers, gondolas, canals, and theaters. In all of this, they never lose their devotion to each other. The Four Seasons is a beautifully-written addition to the handful of fascinating novels about women and the arts in this most intriguing of cities."—Stephanie Cowell, author of Marrying Mozart

Lauren Willig
"Corona's The Four Seasons is historical fiction as it is meant to be written--a gripping exploration of the twisting byways of both 18th century Venice and the human heart. Pop Vivaldi's masterpiece into the CD player, brew a pot of tea, and prepare to relinquish the rest of your afternoon. Corona brings Venice and Vivaldi to life, delivering a stirring story of love, ambition, and music that will keep you reading long after the last note of the concerto has ended."
Karen Harper
"Laurel Corona's The Four Seasons is a poignant tale of two sisters layered exquisitely over the exotic world of brilliant priest/composer Vivaldi and his 18th century Venice. The result: a vibrant crescendo of hearts and history."
Sally Gunning
"I've never been to Venice, played a violin, or for that matter carried a tune, but after reading The Four Seasons I feel that I've experienced all three, and through them come to a better understanding of the many forms love takes. Brava, Laurel Corona."
Susanne Dunlap
"Corona does a magnificent job of showing us the violent contradictions of life in 18th-century Venice, through the eyes of two musically gifted orphan sisters. Their relationships with music and particularly with the complex, enigmatic figure of Antonio Vivaldi are sensitively explored. This novel resists the easy clich and really succeeds in drawing a world that is both panoramic and intimate."
Stephanie Cowell
"Music and the dangerous, exquisite world of eighteenth-century Venice form the setting of this poetic, sensual story of two orphaned sisters. The older is a shy, brilliant violinist, the younger a singer who will not be stopped in what she wants in life. One will cling to the chaste, unrequited love of a lifetime while the other will lose herself in the world of masks, lovers, gondolas, canals, and theaters. In all of this, they never lose their devotion to each other. The Four Seasons is a beautifully-written addition to the handful of fascinating novels about women and the arts in this most intriguing of cities."

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781401395377
Publisher:
Hachette Books
Publication date:
11/04/2008
Sold by:
Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
400
Sales rank:
586,552
File size:
695 KB
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Laurel Corona is the author of twenty plus grade-school books and a professor of English at San Diego City College. She was a Charter Fellow at the San Diego Area Writing Project. She has a BA from University of California and an MA from University of Chicago and received her PhD from University of California. She currently lives in San Diego, CA.

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Four Seasons: A Novel of Vivaldi's Venice 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There are so many facets to this story - the bond between the sisters, the descriptions of their cloistered lives, the pictures painted by the words used to describe the music, and the flavor of Venice at the time of Vivaldi. I became engrosed with the story. It carried me along with the rhythm of the music that was always in the background yet an integral part of the story.
jpcoggins More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book!  I have always been curious about "The Red Priest" and LOVE Vivaldi's Four Seasons composition; one of my favorites!  But the backdrop to the story was the big surprise, the Pieta where the two main characters grow up in a cloistered environment and one is trained on the violin and the other as a singer.  Set against the extravagances of Venice and Carnivale, where a master like Vivaldi is forced to travel to earn his keep as a genius composer, and women have little control over their futures, especially if they come from wealthy families.  It was so interesting!  I was also surprised at the religious thread in the story.  The writing is a little slow, but stick with it because the entire story is worth it!
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Denise_Alhambra More than 1 year ago
I highly recommend this book to anyone that is interested in the passion that drives people. Whether it is their passion to express themselves in the form of music, or the love they have to share with another which may or may not be consummated as well as the love they share with their sister. Being a sister and understanding the complexities of sisterhood, has only enhanced my reading experience of this book. I found the characters to be compelling and I thought the author brought the music of Venice to life for me.