Yes, it's me again!! I couldn't stay away for long, of course! Kelley is allowing me to guest blog, so I will do my best to update everyone on new books, technology, and my experiences as a school librarian a few times a month.
For this post, I just HAD to see if you all had read this great book I found at CLP Main in Oakland just browsing the stacks for some summer reading (since classes have been over for a few weeks I actually have time to read what I want!). The Queen's Soprano by Carol Dines tells the amazing story of Angelica Voglia, a 16 year old girl living in Rome during the reign of pope Innocent XI in the late seventeenth century. Angelica has the most beautiful singing voice in all of Rome and longs to use her talents in public. However, she is only allowed to sing in her home, However, the pope has deemed singing to be bewitching for men's ears so Angelica must resign herself to singing in her home.
Her power-hungry mother seeks to use Angelica's voice to raise the family's status, and she often forces Angelica to sing for the many rich suitors who call on her to hear her beautiful voice. But Angelica, with the help of her friend Lucia, who works as a maid for the family) falls in love with a Frenchman who sits outside her window and listens to her sing through the shutters. As Angelica's love grows, so does the appetite of her mother for power, and soon Angelica must flee or be wed to an older man known for his mistreatment of women. She escapes to the palace of Queen Christina, a monarch from Sweden who converted to Catholocism and rules her quarter of the city, often at odds with the pope because she supports female singers in her palace. Here, Angelica begins a new life- but is it the life that she dreamed about?
Dines presents a well-written tale in the first person, and the reader truly commiserates with Angelica and her experience. The juxtaposition of Angelica and her younger, and much more devout, sister Bianca adds depth to her character and illustrates what she sacrifices for her singing. Young readers will identify with Angelica and her desire to learn more about the world and the people who inhabit it. Readers will also begin to understand the lives of males and females in the 17th century. Overall, it is a great read, and one tweens and teens will enjoy!