Hidden Voices: The Orphan Musicians of Venice
Pat Lowery Collins
Hidden Voices: the Orphan Musicians of Venice, by Pat Lowery Collins is a story about three orphan girls whose search for love pulls them in different directions. Hidden Voices follows the lives of Anetta, Luisa, and Rosalba living at the Ospedale della Pietà, an orphanage renowned for its extraordinary musical program. Set in early 1700s Venice in a time where choices for women were limited these girls’ musical talent offers them a chance at a better life. The girls want more than what is offered though. Anetta rejects marriage, Luisa longs for the love of a mother who abandoned her and Rosalba dreams of a forbidden romance outside the walls of the Ospedale.
Told through alternating viewpoints, Hidden Voices follows each girl as they try to obtain their dreams. The author does a wonderful job of giving the girls distinct voices and personalities that are true and believable. The reader can relate to them as their struggles are universal and carry through time.
Hidden Voices is a fictional novel based, in part, on the eighteenth century Italian composer Antonio Vivaldi. Through Anetta, Luisa and Rosalba, who excel in voice and instrument, the novel seamlessly weaves in the history of Vivaldi’s early musical career. The setting is wonderfully portrayed. Venice comes to life on the pages from the orphanage to the streets and even the country side, Hidden Voices paints a vivid picture of life in the early 1700s. While full of descriptive passages that bring 18th century Venice alive, the novel does have a slow beginning. Give it time. It’s a historical novel well worth the read.
And a little side note: I love the book cover. I’ll pick up a book just because the cover catches my attention and this one encompasses everything the novel is about. Lovely.