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HIDDEN VOICES by Pat Lowery Collins


The Orphan Musicians of Venice

by Pat Lowery Collins

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: May 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-7636-3917-4
Publisher: Candlewick

Three girls train under Vivaldi at an esteemed orphanage for the musically gifted, each seeking love outside its strict classes and conventions. Impetuous Rosalba constructs romantic fantasies about a local apprentice; star soprano Luisa pines for her distant mother; studious Anetta hounds Luisa for any scrap of affection. Alternating chapters of first-person narration place readers inside the lively ospedale, full of chortling instruments and giggling girls. Collins creates an engrossing work of historical fiction that allows apt teen readers to absorb bustling 18th-century Venice, musical terminology and even bits of Italian. The girls’ dissonant voices—quite different from one another, making this substantial novel manageable—intense friendships and ardent (sometimes shattering) pursuits of love endow the story with enduring intrigue. Fatherly Vivaldi, a ruddy, spirited and sympathetic composer approaching greatness, binds the girls and the story together. (author’s note) (Historical fiction. 14 & up)