REVIEW: Mozart’s Wife by Juliet Waldron
Giddy sugarplum or calculating bitch? Pretty Konstanze aroused strong feelings among her contemporaries. Her in-law’s loathed her. Mozart’s friends, more than forty years after his death, remained eager to gossip about her “failures” as wife to the world’s first superstar.
Maturing from child, to wife, to hard-headed widow, Konstanze would pay Mozart’s debts, provide for their children, and relentlessly market and mythologize her brilliant husband.
Mozart’s letters attest to his affection for Konstanze as well as to their powerful sexual bond. Nevertheless, prominent among the many mysteries surrounding the composer’s untimely death: why did his much beloved Konstanze never mark his grave?
Dear Mrs. Waldron,
After reading your latest book last year (Independent Heart), I had to wait for the publisher to reset the type on Mozart’s Wife before it was available in paperback form.
It’s not a romance book but does tell the love story of Mozart for his darling little wife and of Stanzi Marini for him. It also takes you back to Germany, Austria and Prague in the 18th century to watch the trials their love undergoes, the bitter jealousies, the constant worries about bills and money, the heartbreak of losing four of their six children and the horrible toll on Constanza’s health. She’s been alternately reviled as a woman who wasn’t worthy of her genius husband and praised for her efforts to ensure that his musical legacy lives to this day.
This book shows a middle ground probably closer to the truth. It also immerses the reader in the day to day struggle to survive in those times and offers another possibility to explain Mozart’s mysterious death and burial. I like that neither Mozart nor Constanza is turned into a villain and both their strengths and weaknesses are presented. Details of daily life and of the two leads show your years of research and deft touch to fill in where facts are lacking.
Though it’s not a feel good book with a HEA, I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent reading it while playing Mozart’s immortal music as a background accompaniment. B