Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Review: The Four Seasons by Laurel Corona

Title: The Four Seaons
Author: Laurel Corona
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Voice
Published: 2008
Pages: 389

Rating: 8 out of 10

Browsing through reviews right after devouring this book, I was shocked to find how lukewarm they were.
The Four Seasons was an excellent book that I savored every eloquent sentence of.

It is the story of two sisters in 1700's Venice, Italy, who are taken in by a convent of nuns. One sister with a gift for music ends up being trained by Vivaldi, while the other is married to a wealthy aristocrat.

By the end of the story, I loved both sisters dearly. The characters here are strong and grounded, and we see them grow up, go through both hardships and triumphs, and grow old.

And finally - a book that truly captures historical Venice! Corona truly transports us back in time to my favorite city on earth.

This book really is just gorgeous. Every chapter is seeped in sweeping, elegant, beautiful wording that I would probably read just for how beautiful it was - regardless of the quality of other elements like plot and characters.
Laurel Corona, who even has a pretty name to match her style, is also the very first author who has captured music in words.
With her descriptions, I felt that I could close my eyes and feel, rather than hear, the music. It was a feeling that I have never before come across, but it added a lot to the story. I was surprised to read, in the back, that the author knew little musically and was not a musician.

The relationships in this book are well woven: the sisterly loyalty and fierce devotion between Chiaretta and Maddalena, the drawn out and reluctant love story between Maddalena and Vivaldi, and the sacrificial and confused love story between Chiaretta and her husband.
The other main characters of this book are not people, however. They are music and Venice. They go beyond the story and become the soul and basis of the entire book.

A gorgeous, well written story. Highly recommended.