Sunday, March 17, 2019

The Mozart Girl

Nickel, Barbara. The Mozart Girl
March 18th 2019 by Second Story Press
E ARC from Edelweiss Plus

Nannerl has just turned 12, and is somewhat sad about her childhood being over. She is also angry that even on her birthday, her talented but tempestuous brother Wolfgang gets all of the attention. While her father allows her to perform along with him, if time runs out, Nannerl is always the one who does not get to play. When the family embarks on a tour of Europe, Nannerl hopes that she will be able to take her symphony to Bach, whom they are going to meet, and help her get it published so that she, too, can be famous. Instead, she spends a lot of time having to help with household chores, work on technical passages of other people's work, and suffer the injustice of being a second class citizen merely because of her gender. She misses her best friend, but does make some new acquaintances, including Sopherl, the sister and wife of other musicians who no longer speaks or performs in public. After Bach laughs at her attempts at composing a symphony without even looking at her manuscript, Nannerl is inspired by Sopherl to finally to take matters into her own hands and bring her work into the public eye against all odds.
Strengths: This was well written, moved quickly, and gave a lot of details about the performances that the Mozart children gave in a variety of European cities. There was a lot of positive girl power, even though Nannerl doesn't have any luck in getting much for herself. This reminded me a bit of some Carolyn Meyer of Ann Rinaldi fictionalized biographies, or the Scholastic Royal Diaries.
Weaknesses: While younger readers won't pick it up, I found Nannerl's tone a half a bubble off. This is the challenge of writing historical fiction; understanding how people felt about social mores of the time. Yes, Nannerl would have been frustrated at her lack of opportunities, but she would also have been less surprised at the unfair way in which she was treated.
What I really think: This is only available in paperback, so I think I will pass on purchase for my library, although I enjoyed reading it myself.
Ms. Yingling

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