Friday, February 6, 2009

Hidden Voices by Pat Lowery Collins

This novel is haunting. It's set in Venice, during the days of Vivaldi, and focuses on three young teenage girls who have grown up in an orphanage.

Three girls' separate stories are told in their own voices, which is an unusual touch and works well.

This orphanage is known for its musical program, and each child is taught to play an instrument and sing. In this way, when they get to marriageable age, a duke may choose to take them as a wife to teach his children her talents and have a manageable, refined lady as a wife.

Two of the girls are orphans and have been left at the church for the sisters to find. One of them still has a mother, but she's a courtesan and can't be bothered with trying to raise a child. She does want a good upbringing for her, though, so she's also in the orphanage learning music.

Being so sheltered is not necessarily a good thing. Visions of romance arise in their heads, and it conflicts with music lessons and life in the orphanage.

One attempts to meet a man and get some romantic attention. Instead she gets raped and cannot return to the orphanage.

One goes to the farm to improve her health after battling a long illness, and meets a farmhand that she lies with. But she's found out and sent back to the orphanage...

And one is in love with her classmate, but can never let her know just how or how much.

How all this is resolved, and where their roads of life take them, is what makes this book interesting.

If you'd like my advance reader's copy, please post a comment on the blog and then send me an email to telling me why. I'll choose a winner from the responders.


Rebecca Herman said...

Hi, I saw this book on Amazon and it looked really interesting so I googled it and came across your review. I'd love to read if it you haven't given it away yet (I saw the post is a couple weeks old but had no comments so I thought I'd try). I love historical fiction and the setting of this book looks unique and interesting.

Anonymous said...

I came over here from Charlotte's Library, where she reviewed the book. If you still have the ARC, I'd be interested, too, but I know it's been a while since you offered it.

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