Kirkus Reviews QR Code


by Carol Dines

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: May 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-15-205477-4
Publisher: Harcourt

In the late 17th century, Queen Christina of Sweden abdicated her throne, became a Catholic and moved to Rome, where she ruled a quarter in the city and jockeyed for power with Pope Innocent XI. Part of their struggle was over music: The pope proclaimed that women must not sing in public, whereas Christina was a great patron of music and opened an opera house. Dines tells this story in the voice of Angelica Voglia, who at 17 sings like an angel indeed. Angelica’s mother sees in her talent only a way to better the family’s livelihood. Angelica, fearing she will be locked away in a convent, is accepted into Queen Christina’s household where she becomes the queen’s favorite singer and conducts a star-crossed romance with the French artist Jean Theoden. There are rich details of food, dress, manners and habits overlaid with much political intrigue, and nearly all the characters, including the composer Arcangelo Corelli, are historical figures. A terrifying—and historical—near-rape scene comes at the climax and allows readers to experience how much Angelica must endure to have the simple freedom to practice her art. Riveting in both action and description. (Historical fiction. YA)