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THE QUEEN’S SOPRANO By: Carol Dines August 4, 2010

Posted by lycan librarian in book reviews, Books and reading.
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     The summer reading items will soon be replaced with required reading when the new school year begins, so the Lycan Librarian decided to pull a few titles off the summer reading cart while she still had a chance.
     THE QUEEN’S SOPRANO is a 2006 YA historical fiction selection. Carol Dines pieced the novel together from books written about Queen Christina and her court, and historical texts about baroque music, nunneries, and Roman life during the seventeenth century. Queen Christina’s father was the King of Sweden who led the protestants in the Thirty Years War against Catholics. When he died, his daughter was crowned queen, and ruled until she was twenty-seven years old. At that time, she declared her crown too heavy, gave up her throne to her cousin and snuck off to Italy where she converted to Catholicism. There, like kings and queens from other Catholic countries, she ruled her own franchise in Rome. She eventually fell out of the Pope’s favor and a power struggle unfolded into a small war that ended when the queen died.
     This book’s protagonist is based on a real historical figure, Angelica Voglia (sometimes referred to in history books as Angelica Quadretti.)  Angelica was a lower middle class woman with a fantastic voice whose job it was to sing for the queen and her guests, even though the Pope had clearly declared it was illegal for women to sing anywhere outside of cloistered environments. The girl’s romance with Frenchman and artist, Jean Theodon is one which plagued her conscience as it caused a rift between the girl and her mother, who felt the man would not elevate Angelica’s status to a level suited to her talents. The history is interesting, but somewhat lacking in atmosphere, and the ending, although not a happy one,  was very satisfying because it was not what this reader had expected. Don’t you just love a surprise? If you are a romantic who prefers fairy tale endings, this may not be the book for you. But if you like historical fiction that tells a story not often told, then you will definitely want to seek this novel out.

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