“She knew music; she had heard it as she was curled within the womb and after she lay swaddled in her cradle. By the first gentle spill of sixteenth notes and the sustained high Bb that followed shortly after, she felt those about her stir with admiration, and her voice took on an authority of its own. Forgetting everything but the music before her, she sprang into the allegro agitato. Her voice opened like a heart in love, and she became one with the notes.” – p 56

I was looking forward to reading this book as a bit of a relaxation from struggling with the life of Andrew Jackson and was pleasantly surprised to find so much more within its covers. Cowell does a fantastic job of turning four women’s early lives into a novel that keeps the reader’s interest and makes us genuinely care about what happens to them.

The story introduces us to the Weber sisters – Josefa, Aloysia, Constanze, and Sophie (who is telling us this story). Each of them influences the musical genius Mozart in their own special way. Sophie becomes his confidant and friend, Aloysia captures his heart with her beauty and voice, Josefa commands his respect with her strength and courage, and Constanze’s personality changes his life forever.

Rather than focus solely on Mozart, which Cowell certainly could have done and gotten away with, the book follows the fortunes of the Weber family. Their mother is constantly trying to marry them off, while they all have their own ideas about their futures. Sometimes they are successful, and sometimes they find they’ve had their hearts shattered. Truly these women can capture your attention and hold it to the very last page.

“Marrying Mozart” was published in 2004 by Stephanie Cowell.