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The Queen's Soprano Hardcover – May 1, 2006


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books; First Edition first Printing edition (May 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0152054774
  • ISBN-13: 978-0152054779
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.9 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,025,433 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up This novel, inspired by the life of a real court singer in late-17th-century Rome, re-creates a time under Pope Innocent XI when women were not allowed to sing in public. Angelica was born into a modest tradesman's home with a magnificent gift a beautiful voice that she can only exercise in the privacy of her home or a convent. Admirers from artisans to cardinals line up outside her house to listen to her practice. Her mother intends to use the girl's gift to secure her a wealthy husband and raise the family's status. Romance blossoms as a young French artist falls in love with the teen and the two begin an innocent exchange of drawings and notes through a servant girl. Angelica's voice grows with passion as she sings to Theodon through closed shutters. To avoid her mother's entrapping marriage plans, Angelica runs away to join the court of Queen Christina, a Swedish queen who converted to Catholicism and rules a quarter of Rome, where she defies the pope by allowing women to perform. As long as the Queen lives, her ladies are safe, but when her death is imminent, each one must plot her way to safety from the pope's guards. A slice of courtly life tinged with sexual misconduct by clerics, betrayal by Angelica's mother, and heartbreaking sorrow, this tale will appeal to female readers, who will admire the young woman's steadfast devotion against tremendous odds. Kathy Lehman, Thomas Dale High School Library, Chester, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 9-12. Like Louise Hawes' The Vanishing Point (2004), inspired by Renaissance painter Lavinia Fontana, Dines' first historical novel features another female artist straining against cultural expectations of a bygone Italy. Angelica Voglia, a real figure whose historical milieu and scant biography are addressed in a foreword and endnote, has a "miracle voice"--or is it the "devil's breath"? Her gift for singing exposes her to numerous threats: a manipulative, social-climbing mother; noblemen who see her public displays as an invitation to take liberties (and worse); and an austere papacy that persecutes women who sing in public. Eventually Angelica seeks refuge in the bohemian court of an expatriate Swedish regent, a path that Dines portrays not as an idealized salvation but one fraught with pitfalls. Angelica's personal story (especially her romance with a lowborn sculptor) is frequently eclipsed by details about her charismatic protectress and baroque-era Roman politics. But persistent readers, inspired by Angelica's determination to "look into [her] heart and speak the truths [she finds] there," should find sufficient motivation to sift through the overzealous historical context. Jennifer Mattson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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See all 10 customer reviews
The characters are all richly developed.
TeensReadToo
Although a good (and fast) read, this novel could have been flushed out a lot more and been made into an engrossing novel.
Lisa Lo Paro
Carol Dines is an amazing author and paints this story beaitfully.
Kathlene K. Vitale

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Charlotte K. Howard on January 8, 2007
Format: Hardcover
After slogging through those Phillipa Gregory novels (found them quite anachronistic in terms of the female characters' advanced feminism), "The Queen's Soprano" struck me as much more realistic in imagining the motives & plights of the characters. Dines does a great job of using historical information on economic/social class & religion to firmly ground the story. The singer's naive ideas of romantic love, the reactions of other women to attempted rape, the mother's treachery, the complex schemes of various church institutions--these situations felt authentic, and not merely story devices for imparting 20th Century ideology. I'm not sure why this book would only be targeted to teens. It is an engrossing read for adults as well, and generated enough interest on my part to do further reading about Rome during the time of Queen Christina's presence. I look forward to a sequel.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on August 26, 2007
Format: Paperback
It was the cover of the book that first got my attention. The girl on the cover of THE QUEEN'S SOPRANO was wearing a beautiful gown fit for royalty. Little did I know at the time that this book was a fictionalized account of Angelica Voglia, who became Queen Christina's soprano during the time of Pope Innocent XI.

All Angelica wants to do is sing, but the pope has forbidden women to sing in public. Angelica has a voice that was able to bring people to their knees weeping. People come from all over Rome to stand beneath her window to hear her sing. She had many suiters, all arranged by her mother, but the one she was interested in was a poor but talented French artist, Jean Theodon. Jean courts her in secrecy, exchanging messages and drawings with her via the servant girl that works for her family.

Her mother, though, has other ideas. She plans on giving Angelica up to the highest bidder on the hopes that the family's status will be elevated. Angelica's determined to sing and realizes that the only way to do that before an audience and escape a forced marriage arranged by her controlling mother is to flee to Queen Christina's court, where she will become the queen's soprano.

Dines tells Angelica's story beautifully. The characters are all richly developed. I was really able to feel Angelica's determination to accomplish her goals despite the odds stacked against her. Of course there is more to the story, but you will have to read the book to find out what else happens.

I will tell you, though, that the rest of the story is filled with romance, betrayal, death, intrigue, and action. The book will keep your attention until the very end. If you are a historical fiction fan then this is a book that you should place on your list of must-reads. Definitely recommended!!

Reviewed by: coollibrarianchick
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lisa Lo Paro on June 11, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book is about a real-life woman named Angelica Voglia living in Rome in the seventeeth century. She has what is called a "miracle voice" several times in the book, but just how her voice is a miracle is never described in full. She has to live with her critical younger sister, a mother who is using her to further her own place in society, two brothers, and a father who is not really her blood-father. The Italian in this book is well used and the only thing that made me feel like the setting was actually in Italy. Angelica's time at Queen Christina's court is fraught with emotions, including her loyalty to the queen, frustration with the insipid talks of her peers about the goings-on at Court, and the love she feels for "the Frenchman" Jean Theodon, whose love she ends up rejecting. This novel is based on a real woman named Angelica Voglia who lived as Queen Christina's soprano during seventeeth century Italy. Although a good (and fast) read, this novel could have been flushed out a lot more and been made into an engrossing novel. Overall, a good book for anyone wishing to hear the story of a woman who refused to have her life dictated for her. 4 stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sarah Bruce Kelly on August 4, 2009
Format: Paperback
The beautiful interweaving of a young girl's family angst, romantic dreams, and musical ambitions is deftly handled in this gripping novel. The author imagines the life of Angelica Voglia in such a vivid and touching way, I felt completely drawn into her world.

The believable characters, engaging dialogue, and rich historical details make this delightful story a real treat for the senses. Angelica's determination to rise above her circumstances and follow her heart should be an inspiration for all young readers.

Sarah Bruce Kelly
Author of THE RED PRIEST'S ANNINA
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By Alexandra Picard on July 11, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is a very exciting and riveting book and I highly recommend it. I have not connected with a book like I did with this one in a very long time. Ms. Dines depicts the life of a young soprano in fresh bold strokes with wonderfully graphic detail for day to day Roman life. As a soprano myslef, I was swept away by her prose and the story and would recommend it to all, young and old! 5 stars!
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