- Age Range: 12 and up
- Grade Level: 7 and up
- Lexile Measure: 940L (What's this?)
- Hardcover: 368 pages
- Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books; 1 edition (June 1, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0152055940
- ISBN-13: 978-0152055943
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 12 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,283,553 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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In Mozart's Shadow: His Sister's Story Hardcover – June 1, 2008
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From School Library Journal
Grade 8 Up—For many people, knowledge of Nannerl Mozart is confined to the footnotes of her younger brother Wolfgang Amadeus's biography, a fellow wunderkind touring the courts of Europe with her more renowned sibling before fading into the background as an adult. Meyer brings Nannerl to the fore, presenting her as a gifted, sensitive musician whose ambitions for a professional career are thwarted by the restrictions placed on her gender and the demands of her father, who is more interested in promoting his genius son. Her childhood closeness with Wolferl becomes increasingly strained as his career takes him farther from his family and ultimately to a too-early grave. The narrative occasionally descends into a dry recitation of facts, but Meyer creates interesting portraits of Nannerl, the impudent Wolfgang, and their tyrannical father. Give this one to music students and historical fiction devotees.—Christi Voth Esterle, Parker Library, CO
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
What was it like to grow up the older sister of a genius composer? Meyer imagines the life of Nannerl Mozart from the time she is 13 and Wolfgang is 8. They perform together before rapt audiences across Europe until his extraordinary talent and genius as a composer overshadow her musical gifts. The feminist message is not overdone, but the novel is far too long and detailed, with numerous similar scenarios of the siblings growing up under the eyes of their devoted, autocratic father and of Wolfgang’s traveling while Nannerl, furious, remains at home (Why must I be left behind again?). In addition, Meyer gives no information about her sources, so it’s hard to know how much is based on fact. Problems aside, Nannerl’s first-person narrative still makes for universal drama, especially because her anger and jealousy never subsume her enduring love for her brother, their mischievous bond, or their shared love of music as refuge and joy. Grades 7-12. --Hazel Rochman
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As an 18th century woman, Nannerl could have made her way in music as a singer, but she was not a singer and thus her love of music, which she had shared with her little brother and which equaled his, largely lay frustrated within her. All the family energy went to further her brother's career, for as a man and a composer, he could one day support them well. But he grew up and away from his father's possessive hold and Nannerl went on to make her own life.
One so loves Nannerl in this sypathetic book as she tries gently to find who she is apart from her brilliant brother and domineering father. The Mozart family, friends and times are warmly, wonderfully drawn. She grows up, tries to find love and to compromise and still, even as her correspondance with her beloved brother who is now famous in Vienna draws to an end, she is determined to keep the music she shared with him as a child alive in her.
In the end this novel is not just for someone who wants to read about the Mozart family, but for any girl or young woman who ever struggled between adoration and envy of a brilliant brother and goes on loving him long after he has left her for a brighter life.
I am the author of the novel MARRYING MOZART (Viking Penguin).
Nannerl Mozart is the older and very talented sister of the more famous Wolfgang. She never gives up hope that one day she will be sent to Italy to study, therefore becoming Europe's best female clavier player. However, her control-freak and ambitious father is concentrated fully on young Wolferl, who he believes can bring fame and fortune to the family. Much of their childhood is spent traveling to the grand courts, but when Nannerl wants to go to Italy with her brother she is denied. She has been left home and abandoned mentally by her father. Throughout the book several love intrests pop up, but her true love is an aging captain named Armand, who is by her side all the time even when her father forbids them from marrying.
The writing in this book is flawless. Although a little dragging at parts, I found the detail and imagining very accurate. The only comment I have is that characters with no particular significance to the story, like Davey, shouldn't really have been put in as they have nothing to add. As this is a work that has real people in it, I understand why Nannerl didn't have a happy ending, but at the same time I wish she became a big star and married Armand. But that's history, so it cannot be changed for romantics such as me.
This new Carolyn Meyer book pleases. Nannerl is a strong and hopeful girl, and she might become your new favorite character. If you enjoyed the author's other books, you will certainly like this one.