Clara (Wieck) Schumann was surrounded by music her entire life; her father devoted himself to grooming her as a concert pianist, and she became a virtuoso performer, playing her first concert at age nine. But Clara had more than her share of difficulties in life: She was separated from her mother at age five when her parents divorced; and although her father was a good music teacher, he was also controlling and overbearing, forbidding Clara's marriage to Robert Schumann. In straightforward prose, Allman chronicles Clara's refusal to give up her concert career after marriage, despite the conventions of the times. Robert suffered a complete mental breakdown and died years before Clara; the author makes plain to readers that throughout this tragedy, as in all aspects of Clara's life, music was her solace. A fine introduction to a strong, disciplined artist. Haas's black-and-white illustrations feature unusual compositions and fit the text well.