Monday, August 29, 2011

Review: The Musician's Daughter - Susanne Dunlap

Synopsis: When her father is discovered dead in Christmas Eve, his valuable violin missing and a mysterious golden pendant found around his neck, fifteen-year-old Theresa is convinced murder is afoot. The key to her father's death seems to lie in his world of music, so Theresa sets to work as a copyist for acclaimed composer Franz Joseph Haydn.

Determined to uncover the mystery of his untimely end, Theresa gains access to the imperial halls of Prince Nicholas Esterhazy's court and delves into her father's secret life. The trail of blackmail and extortion she discovers leads her from the splendor of the royal court to the shadowy tents of a Gypsy camp. But it is the stirring love for a man she only thought she knew that might prove the most astonishing discovery of all.

Review: This was, by far, my favorite Susanne Dunlap book. It is an intriguing mystery with wonderful characters (especially Zoltan and his sister), fun references to historical people (Salieri, Mozart, Haydn, ect.), and even a likable romance which does not get in the way of the story! The Author's love for music rings clear in the writing, even making someone who isn't a musician or doesn't care for classical music feel Theresa's longing to be able to play the violin.

The content is very light, especially considering the Author's two other novels. There are slight references to rapes, a hint at one of the less important characters having a fancy for young boys, and one scene where Theresa is assaulted, but the latter goes nowhere, and the other things are not referred to in detail, and only mentioned in passing. The romantic element of the story is actually very pleasant, and once I was assured that it would not in any way impede the story's progress, I was fully supportive of the relationship.

The mystery, as I mentioned earlier, is highly intriguing and surprising. It is not necessarily filled with twists and turns, but it wasn't what I was expecting, and with the backdrop of Gypsies, court balls, the life of court musicians, and ancient instruments, this is a mystery that will keep anyone engaged.

Overall Rating: 

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