Rated Reads

Marrying Mozart

by Stephanie Cowell

Rated: Moderate

Four sisters, one prodigy composer; several love stories, and one marriage.

Novelist and soprano Stephanie Cowell crafts a period piece around the real-life marriage of Wolfgang Mozart to a young woman from the Weber family.

The sisters came from a musical but not well-to-do background, and eventually had varying successes of their own in the musical world. They met Mozart during a time he was struggling to make a living as a composer as a young man just past his child-prodigy days. Their lives intersected several times in several cities in the Austrian empire.

Mozart first falls in love with the beautiful Aloysia Weber, a petite charmer with an equally angelic voice. But he marries another sister, writes great music for the eldest, and is confidant to the youngest. Cowell’s novel reads much like anything set in the late 18th century: young women pin their hopes on marrying well; young men try to find their way and try to choose among their own best prospects for marriage. Overall, Marrying Mozart is an enjoyable read, an engaging window into the lives of a musical genius and those who sought to use him for their best gain.

Rated: Moderate. Language is moderate, concentrated mostly in a few spots where the young men are spending time in pubs and carousing and talking roughly and bawdily. There are no occasions of strong language. Sexual content is moderate, with a lot of references to the young women’s full bosoms, etc., etc., and the hopes of the men. For a novel set in this period, there is a surprising amount of extramarital sexual activity, with more than just basic detail, involving the main characters. If you’re expecting Austen, you’ll be taken aback.

— Reviewed by Cathy Carmode Lim

Cathy Carmode Lim has been reviewing books for newspapers for about 20 years, two of which she was a book page editor. She founded Rated Reads in January 2008.

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  • Marrying Mozart
  • by Stephanie Cowell
  • Rated: Moderate
  • Genre: Fiction
  • Reviewer: