Can't Stop Reading

Lucky for me I get a hefty discount at work, because I just can't seem to stop myself!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Happy Canada day everyone! I realize I should be reviewing something Canadian, but I just finished The Queen's Soprano today, so I'll be talking about that.

What with having a degree in history, I have a vague idea of what was going on in Europe 17th century, but it is hard to keep track of what's going on everywhere. Carol Dines' novel takes us into Rome at that time, a place where women only left home to attend mass. Unfortunately, Angelica has an amazing soprano voice. Unwilling to let it go to waste, her mother is determined to marry her off to the nobility. In order to escape her mother, and a convent, Angelica flees to the court of Queen Christina, a Scandinavian queen who converted to Catholicism and ruled a quarter of Rome. Queen Christina refuses to bow to the will of the current pope, who basically doesn't like fun, especially if women are involved. Eventually, after Christina's death, Angelica is forced to flee to Spain, where she will begin a new life.

My only real complaint about the books is Angelica. Although intellectually I understand why Dines' made her a big wuss (what with never leaving her house and all) it was really annoying. She was whiny and stupid and not at all sympathetic to anyone else's problems. Her sister would love to join a convent, but has no money for the required dowry, and all Angelica can think about is how much she hates the idea of convent living. That's just one example of her selfishness.

Dines' descriptions of the music and life of 17th century Rome are wonderful, though. Angelica's humble beginnings are just as real to the reader as the amazing palaces where she ends up. It’s certainly worth a read for that alone. On top of that, I think she does a great job of showing the extreme restrictions of women’s' lives.

The Queen's Soprano by Carol Dines
ISBN 0152054774
318 pages


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