Brand-new for 2024! Bestselling Daisy Goodwin returns with a heartbreaking, powerful novel about the legendary Maria Callas

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Pub Date 14 Mar 2024 | Archive Date 21 Mar 2024

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New York Times bestselling author Daisy Goodwin returns with a story of the scandalous love affair between the most celebrated opera singer of all time and one of the richest men in the world.

'An extraordinary, vivid, and skilful re-imagining of a modern Greek legend' - Victoria Hislop

In the glittering and ruthlessly competitive world of opera, Maria Callas is known simply as la divina: the divine one. With her glorious voice, instinctive flair for the dramatic and striking beauty, she's the toast of the grandest opera houses in the world. Yet her fame has been hard won: raised in Nazi-occupied Greece by a mother who mercilessly exploited her, Maria learned early in life how to protect herself.

When she meets the fabulously rich shipping magnate, Aristotle Onassis, her isolation melts away. For the first time in her life, she believes she's found a man who sees the woman rather than the legendary soprano. Desperately in love, Onassis introduces her to a life of unbelievable luxury, mixing with celebrities like Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.

And then, suddenly, it's over. The international press announce that Onassis will marry the most famous woman in the world, former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, leaving Maria to pick up the pieces.

In this remarkable novel, Daisy Goodwin brings to life a woman whose extraordinary talent, unremitting drive and natural chic made her a legend. But it was only in confronting the heartbreak of losing the man she loved that Maria Callas found her true voice.

'I gulped it down... the brilliantly persuasive portrayal of a woman negotiating the demands of her art with an intense emotional life is so compelling' - Elizabeth Buchan

New York Times bestselling author Daisy Goodwin returns with a story of the scandalous love affair between the most celebrated opera singer of all time and one of the richest men in the world.


Advance Praise

'I was blown away by Diva. Beautiful, visceral, tragic, gutting.' - Miranda Cowley Heller, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Paper Palace

'The spectacular Daisy Goodwin has written Diva, an epic novel about Maria Callas in love that hits every note and soars off the page. You will root for Callas as she navigates her dynamic career and a love affair that will break her heart. Told with tenderness and power, this is bravura storytelling in the hands of a master.' - Adriana Trigiani

'Elegant, adult, ultimately very moving, Diva presents an amazingly convincing Maria, while always conveying the power of the majestic Callas myth.' - Laura Thompson

'I've been completely overwhelmed by Diva: by the pleasure of reading such a marvellous ardent, romantic, yet utterly worldly book... Quick, where are my Callas records...' - Lady Antonia Fraser

'With its glamour, celebrity and heartbreak, this is the unstoppable story of ambition and desire that enchantress Daisy Goodwin was born to write.' - Lucy Worsley

'Daisy Goodwin's richly imagined world makes Diva an irresistible page-turner. Blending high drama with an artist's eye for detail, Goodwin breathes life into one of the greatest and most tragic stars of the 20th century. Whether you're an opera aficionado or simply love an epic tale of love and ambition, Diva is a pure delight.' - Dr. Amanda Foreman

'Daisy Goodwin is a genius storyteller, fashioning the most delicious, insider gossip into a tale full of heartbreak, love, ambition and brutal disappointment.' - Nina de Gramont

'Maria Callas was the greatest opera singer of all time, a woman whose miraculous performances were an alchemical compound of power and vulnerability, perfectionism and emotional risk-taking. Her private life was no less conflicted or dramatic. Based on her true story, this page-turner is a must read for fans of Daisy Goodwin's fiction.' - Lucasta Miller

I absolutely ADORED the book. It's got everything: high drama; great love, found and lost; gossip of the rich and famous and, of course, the sublime art of Maria Callas. From the beginning on the snowy streets of Athens to the tantalizing glimpse of an emerald ring at the end, this a book which delights and fascinates in equal measure. Brava! - Cressida Connolly 

'I was blown away by Diva. Beautiful, visceral, tragic, gutting.' - Miranda Cowley Heller, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Paper Palace

'The spectacular Daisy Goodwin has written Diva, an...

Marketing Plan

Global multichannel marketing campaign tying in with Warner Music's centenary activities of Maria Callas and the ENO production of 7 Deaths of Maria Callas. 

Global multichannel marketing campaign tying in with Warner Music's centenary activities of Maria Callas and the ENO production of 7 Deaths of Maria Callas. 

Available Editions

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ISBN 9781035906703
PRICE £20.00 (GBP)

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Featured Reviews

Thank you NetGalley for the ARC.
I was familiar with Daisy Goodwin from her “the American Heiress” and I am really glad that I could read “Diva” too.
I have not been a fan of Maria Callas and I had no idea about her personal or professional life. The way it was expressed, her vulnerability, her fears, her longings made her almost real in my mind. She wanted the same things as a child, love and support of a family and always sought this unsatisfied need throughout her life.
It is not a biography, it is a fiction with basic facts as pillars and I think the way the author gave voice to Maria Callas, is gentle, kind and supportive. The writing was so elegant and rich, the details were so nicely inserted, the time changes giving a dynamic atmosphere to the story, I can sat that the sorrow she had was palpable and it caught me.
Thank you for such a great book

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Absolutely astonishing. Maria Callas was a name I knew of but knew nothing more about. This insightful and powerful novel showed so many sides to her captivating life.

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This was such an interesting and gorgeous read. I feel this will be great for book clubs and anyone who has an interest in Jackie O as well. I know this is a more factionalized story but still very fun to imagine and think of these amazing these that occurred at a very poignant time in history. Beautiful cover as well!

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Maria Callas, known as "la divina" in the glamorous and fiercely competitive realm of opera, is a renowned figure. With her magnificent voice, natural talent for dramatic expression, and striking beauty, she has become a celebrated icon in the world's most prestigious opera houses. However, her path to success was strewn with challenges, as she grew up in war-torn Greece under the relentless exploitation of her mother. This early adversity taught Maria the vital skill of self-preservation.

The resounding applause she received on stage filled her with a comforting warmth, washing away her fears. In those moments, she transcended her vulnerable self and transformed into Callas, the esteemed la Divina, capable of captivating even the most critical audience.

There was an indescribable power in the applause, an unparalleled feeling of love that she could not find elsewhere. It became the strongest form of affection she had ever experienced in her life.

However, Maria's isolation dissipated when she encountered Aristotle Onassis, a fabulously wealthy shipping magnate. For the first time, she believed she had found a man who saw her for who she truly was, beyond the realms of her legendary soprano persona. Consumed by love, Onassis introduced her to a world of unimaginable luxury, where she rubbed shoulders with luminaries like Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.

Early on, Maria had learned that the world cared little for her well-being as Maria herself, but rather for Callas, the revered diva. Only one man had truly perceived her as a woman, recognizing her beyond her divine vocal abilities.

And then, abruptly, it all came crashing down. The international media announced that Onassis would marry the most famous woman in the world—former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy—leaving Maria shattered and forcing her to gather the fragments of her life.

In this exceptional piece of literature, author Daisy Goodwin masterfully brings to life a woman whose extraordinary talent, unyielding determination, and innate elegance rendered her a legend. It is through the profound heartache of losing the man she cherished that Maria Callas finally discovered her authentic voice.

Maria Callas, a name familiar to many, yet shrouded in mystery. The poignant portrayal of her vulnerabilities, fears, and lifelong quest for love and familial support made her as relatable as someone we might cross paths with.

While not a biographical account, this work of fiction stands on a foundation of fundamental truths, offering a gentle, compassionate perspective on Maria Callas. The eloquent prose, rich with exquisite details and seamlessly shifting timelines, imbues the story with a dynamic atmosphere, making Maria's sorrow palpable and deeply moving.

Absolutely awe-inspiring. This insightful and compelling novel unveils the multifaceted aspects of Maria Callas's captivating life, resonating with readers from all walks of life.

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Diva tells the story of Maria Callas, still thought of as one of the greatest opera singers of all time, and her relationship with Aristotle Onassis, the Greek tycoon.

I really enjoyed this book, the author brought the characters fully to life and there was enough backstory to help explain how Callas, the diva, differed from Maria, the woman, and how her past had shaped her. Her relationships with her family, her unsettled life as a child and young woman, her fear of losing her voice explain how vulnerable she is and why she would fall so hard for someone who is fairly obviously unreliable from the start.

I only knew the bare bones of the story beforehand and I’ve no idea how accurate much of this is but it is a novel based around the life rather than a biography and as such, it’s a very entertaining read.

3.5 stars rounded up to 4.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an advance copy in return for an honest review.

#Diva #NetGalley

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Diva by Daisy Goodwin

The story of Maria Callas, the greatest opera singer in the world, and her relationship with Aristotle Onassis.

Wow... Daisy Goodwin is a genius! I'm a huge opera fan and Maria Callas is my absolute favourite - what a book, I couldn't put it down! 80 books read so far this year and this is in my top 3.... I have it on preorder and will look forward to reading it all over again. FABULOUS!!! Very VERY highly recommended.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC of this book.

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Maria Callas was a world famous opera singer, a diva and was known as la the divine one. Maria had one of the best Soprano voices of all time and don't mention her trills, when she took to the stage her performances were perfect and flawless and many of her fans cried tears of joy.

Maria was born in 1923, in Manhattan, New York to Greek parents, her mother Litza was domineering and decided to return to Greece when Maria was thirteen and leave her husband George. Maria never felt good enough and her sister Jackie was her mother’s favourite, Maria sang during the Second World War so they could eat and it didn't change her mothers attitude towards her. Maria married Giovanni Meneghini, he was in charge of her schedule, and he expected her to sing too often and she worried her vocal chords would be damaged from overuse.

Maria encounters rich shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis, she falls madly in love with him and the couple are together for over nine years. During this time Maria meets some of the world most influential people, including Sir Winston and Lady Churchill, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Prince Rainer III of Monaco and Princess Grace. Ari showered Maria with expensive gifts, cruises on his lavish boat the "Christina", despite both being divorced Maria and Ari never married and it was the security and faithfulness she craved and not diamonds.

I received a copy of Diva by Daisy Goodwin from Aria & Aries and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. In my opinion Ms. Goodwin wrote about the real Maria Callas, the teenager who felt her mother didn’t love her, Maria was chubby, she lost weight and constantly worried about putting back on, she always felt unsure, where to preform and how many shows, what songs to sing, should she sign a record contract and give into pressure to make a movie?

When Maria finds out Aristotle Onassis had married the former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, she’s heartbroken and of course he didn’t tell her. For Maria this was a defining moment, with the help of her faithful maid and companion Bruna,Maria decided she wanted to start singing again, and opera is her true love and she’s better than ever. Ms. Goodwin's narrative was fascinating, well written and I rode the highs and lows of Maria Callas’s career, her personal life and five stars from me.

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Having read other reader’s’ reviews I wasn’t entirely sold on this book. However I was pleasantly surprised. The way it is written is more like a fictional novel than biography: exciting, compulsive and fast paced. I’m not an opera buff, but Maria Callas sings her heart out in this book and is truly a Diva of her era. Her life story, a nobody to fame, is fascinating and her romance with Aristotle Onassis unreal. A magnificent read.

My thanks to NetGalley and the publishers Aria & Aries for this advance copy.

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In the acknowledgements at the end of the book, Daisy Goodwin writes that Maria never doubted her talent. Her talent, maybe not - but she does spend a lot of the book worrying about how long her voice will hold out for, and how many 'golden coins,' to use her singing teacher's analogy, she has remaining in her throat - who is she, without her glittering career?

This light-as-air, soapy bonkbuster will keep fans of Jilly Cooper and stories of Hollywood royalty happy, with some genuinely touching moments as Maria copes with life's disappointments (including loss, parental disappointments, guilt, romantic let-downs and no longer being able to eat carbs) while solidifying her role as the original girlboss of opera.

I enjoyed this even more than I was expecting to, and despite some clumsy explication in the first bit which had me pushing on reluctantly, it eventually got hold of me and I couldn't wait to learn more about its jet-set cast and the talented woman at the centre of it all.

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The story of Maria Callas from impoverished childhood to diva beloved by audiences around the world. Her insecurity and reliance on men who use her for their own ends is made evident in her choice of lover Aristotle Onassis. While with him, she meets many famous people, including beautiful, Ill-fated Princess Grace and Marilyn Monroe. All her life, she has a constant battle to keep her voice at its peak, believing she owes this to her audience. A gripping read which makes you realise how artistes can suffer for their art.

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I’ve read books about Maria Callas before, and listened to her music, so was fascinated to read a fictional book about her life that has a lot of factual elements to it. The story about the love triangle with Maria, Aristotle Onassis and Jackie Kennedy is well known but this book brought a lot of additional detail to the party. Well written and clearly very well researched this was a compelling read.

Briefly, Maria was born in New York but when her parents separated her mother took her and her sister back to Greece. Her mother was very ambitious for her girls and when she realised Maria had a talent she over committed her risking her voice for short term gain. Maria became estranged from her mother and she married a man who became her manager but when she met Aristotle Onassis, a Greek shipping magnate she fell in love for the first time. He pursued her until she capitulated and started their affair.

Maria Callas was a slim, attractive woman with an amazing voice and the world at her feet. She was ‘la divina’ when she was on stage, confident and adored. Maria however felt like a different creature, lacking in confidence, believing herself unloved and maybe even unloveable, that is until she met Onassis. A man she believed loved her, Maria, not the famous opera singer. I felt so much sadness for Maria. All she really wanted was a loving family to replace the family she grew up in where she never felt loved. Much of the time I felt like I was reading a memoir is was so authentic. I very much enjoyed this book, a wonderful fictionalised account of the life of probably one the worlds most famous operatic soprano’s, ever!

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What a magnificent, intense and detailed novel! DIVA was obviously well researched to create such a believable picture of the world famous opera singer, Maria Callas. I found this story riveting from start to finish and struggled to put it down. I even read it while eating! The content within these pages certainly stirred up my thoughts. Daisy Goodwin really gets inside the mind and heart of this very gifted woman. We dive into the belly of the whale and experience Maria’s many conflicts, stresses, heartbreaks and passion. DIVA shows us who Maria Callas might have been: both the woman and the opera singer.

Maria’s devotion and love for Aristotle Onassis made my heart break as he was not only a man of position and power but these things ruled his every move. Money and status were very important to him and, although he said he loved Maria, his decisions in the end proved what came first in his life. She says of Onassis: that ‘he had all the outward signs of civilization…but…Underneath there was something that did not belong in the world of silk socks.’

But how did this man affect her focus? When asked the secret of her success earlier in the novel: she said, ‘hard work…high standards…’ and ‘I don’t let anything obstruct my pursuit of excellence.’ When Onassis hears her say this, he states she sounds like a general. She replies: ‘Great art is domination. It’s making people believe for that precise moment in time there is only one way, one voice. Mine.’ A strong and powerful viewpoint. But did that change when Onassis entered her life?

Single devotion was important to Maria. Onassis was not a one-woman man. So, he was bound to break her heart. Initially her husband seemed to be a great source of support. But was he truly? Or did he have hidden motives, too, to manipulate her and steal her hard-earned wealth? We cannot help but feel, he took advantage of her, too. Why was she at the mercy of such men? You have to wonder if her extreme dependence on them for love and emotional support was a result of her bad relationship with her mother. Maria was often driven by the need for acceptance. This may have been fuelled by her mother’s behaviour toward her as a child—which included making her feel self-conscious. Maria was the black sheep of the two daughters. Until her mother discovered her rare vocal talent, then she became a pawn in her mother’s hands and was exploited. Maria never knew a mother’s caring love. So, she was always seeking it elsewhere.

Sadly, this scenario is seen far too often in child prodigies: parents seeking money and position through their gifted children. Often these children will say when older, they missed their childhood as they were pushed into becoming wage earners at such young ages. Taking on the burden of supporting a family causes emotionally trauma. Striving for perfection also takes its toll. This hiring out of children could be thought of as a form of child labour/slavery. A centuries old problem that rears its ugly head over and over in many different ways, ages and scenes. Children in modern developed countries may not be slaving away in factories today (except in poorer parts of the world and where armed conflicts exists) but their task masters are none less brutal. The damage can cause insecurity, the need to always seek approval and acceptance and we see this in Maria. She comes to loathe her mother and never gets to have a healthy relationship with her or anyone, really.

This novel contains a very perceptive character study of a woman that caught the world’s attention and held it to the very end. The author has given us a magnificent portrayal of what Maria’s life may have been like and although her talent took her to dizzying heights of stardom, it also led her to the depths of despair. And there is one occasion when she is teetering on the edge. The up side of all this is she channelled her grief, passion, disappointment and ecstasy into her performances which allowed her to reach beyond her own (sometimes self-imposed) limitations. But she was a DIVA in every sense of the word—including exhibiting temperamental characteristics. She cancelled performances for various reasons creating lots of havoc. But when she performed, the world was at her feet and many forgot her seemingly uncaring concern for her fans. That sort of rebellion, too, may be linked to her mother. She had bent her will so often as a younger person under her mother’s care, that once she got away from her direct control, she fought against or would not let anyone put her in such a precarious position again. Yet, ironically the very thing she tried not to do, she did. Regardless, she was able to embody the tragic characters in music she played. Although approached to consider acting, she never followed that path. She only wanted to sing.

There is so much to say about this novel and Maria Callas. There are some great supporting characters and various historical important figures like Winston Churchill and Princess Grace of Monaco, just to name a couple. Maria travelled in some high flying circles—that increased with Onassis. But at the end of the day, this is a story about Maria and the ruthless and sometimes dazzling world she lived in. Sometimes dressed in Dior-inspired clothes, adorned with extravagant jewels to wear, known by a friend as ‘devious diva’ but always to the world as la divina: the divine one. DIVA is an intriguing journey from the point when Maria discovers her talent, how it made her feel and how she looked at everything through the lens of her gift—which became her comfort and security. A brilliant novel I highly recommend. 5 Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Thanks to Aria & Aries and Netgalley for the advanced reading copy.

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While I know the broad strokes of Maria Callas' life, I learned so much from reading this book.

This was a fascinating insight into Maria the singer but also Maria the woman. A life full of glamour and passion but also of drama, scandal and heartbreak.

Some fabulous scenes as she meets various celebrities and royalty - both Hollywood and actual - and I found the meeting with Marilyn Monroe to be particularly touching.

The ambiguity about the rights and wrongs of her relationship with her mother was interesting. I initially felt very much in Marias corner but after reading further and getting more of an insight into her character I definitely felt she shouldered some of the blame too.

I found the story and the writing compelling and I finished this in just a couple of sittings.

It did have me googling Marias life and the lives of characters such as Onassis and Lee Radzwill after I had finished to find out more. A really enjoyable read.

Thanks to Aria & netgalley for the chance to read an early copy

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This is a wonderful book. La Divina fully came to life in this beautiful, and for me, heartbreaking story. A book I would highly recommend and will reread again. Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for letting me read this.

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There is so much about Maria Callas’ life that I just didn’t know. For example, her longstanding affair with Aristotle Onassis and how he ended it with her to marry Jackie Kennedy.

I understand that the book has been written in a fiction-style, but it reads so well as a biographical fiction too.

I really enjoyed it and would recommend it.

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This is an epic tale for an epic Diva.

I don’t know much about Maria Callas but this novel really brings it to life and shows her as the real woman she probably was a version of.

I took my time with this one as I didn’t want it to end!

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A book based on opera singer Maria Callas who I must admit hadn’t heard of. Following her professional life the book goes through her ups and downs. It could have been shorter but thanks to Daisy and her publisher. Thanks also to NetGalley.

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Diva is a compelling read about the life of opera soprano Maria Callas - I have to be honest, I had never heard of her! The book is a mix of fact and fiction and “portrays” the scandalous love affair between Maria and shipping tycoon, Aristotle Onassis. As well as, her rise to fame and the challenges she faced along the way.
A captivating read for lovers of historical fiction

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I found this novel about Maria Callas a welcome antidote to the general grimness of the 2020s as it transported me to an imaginary 1950s and 60s world of yachts, vast hotel suites, Venetian costume balls and a glittering cast of glamorous individuals such as Marilyn Monroe, Liz Taylor, Cole Porter and Princess Grace of Monaco. The novel focuses primarily on Ari Onassis’s seduction of the great Soprano and how, starved of love, she succumbs to this man’s charms again and again despite her better judgement. A compelling picture is painted of a seemingly high-maintenance, formidable woman who is ultimately lonely, vulnerable and in much need of reassurance. A moving and gripping read.

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A stunning exploration of the legendary Opera singer, Maria Callas, known simply as La Davina (the divine one)

Im not a follower of Opera but that didn’t deter my interest in the subject matter or the depiction of Maria’s quite tragic life. I found myself truly immersed in the unfolding story, with its many twists and turns and would have loved the ending to have given a little more closure, hence knocking off one star.

I think this book would appeal to lovers of historical fiction and Opera alike.

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Huge thanks to NetGalley for my advanced copy - 4/5

Diva is a soapy biopic of a novel telling the story of legendary 20th century diva Maria Callas and her relationship with shipping tycoon and fellow “Golden Greek” Aristotle Onassis.

The book gives a feel for the hard work and sacrifice needed to achieve greatness in art, and the relationship of Maria and her music, sending me down a Spotify rabbit hole of her recordings.

Maria’s first experience of romantic love comes in her 30s at the peak of her fame and hits her like a train. The book really captures that heady feeling but the whole time I was willing her to kick her unworthy man to the kerb! While she loses herself in the relationship tho she never loses her belief in her extraordinary talent and ultimately, through betrayal and heartache, this is what endures.

Would recommend.

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In the glamorous and fiercely competitive realm of opera, Maria Callas is hailed simply as "la divina," the divine one. Possessing a magnificent voice, an innate flair for the dramatic, and striking beauty, she graces the grandest opera houses worldwide. However, her fame comes at a cost, earned through resilience and shaped by a challenging upbringing in Nazi-occupied Greece, where her mother exploited her mercilessly, instilling in Maria a keen sense of self-preservation.

Enter Aristotle Onassis, the fabulously wealthy shipping magnate, whose arrival shatters Maria's isolation. For the first time, she believes she has found a man who sees the woman behind the legendary soprano. Swept up in love, Maria is introduced to a world of unimaginable luxury, rubbing shoulders with luminaries like Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.

Yet, abruptly, it all comes crashing down. The international media announced Onassis's intention to marry Jacqueline Kennedy, the former First Lady and the most famous woman in the world, leaving Maria to navigate the aftermath.

In this captivating novel, Daisy Goodwin breathes life into the extraordinary talent, unwavering determination, and innate elegance that made Maria Callas a legend. The narrative explores Callas's journey, highlighting her confrontations with heartbreak and loss, ultimately revealing how, in the midst of it all, she found her true voice.

The E-Book could be improved and more user-friendly, such as links to the chapters, no significant gaps between words and a cover for the book would be better. It is very document-like instead of a book. A star has been deducted because of this.

This is a first for me by the author and one I enjoyed and I would read more of their work. The book cover is eye-catching and appealing and would spark my interest if in a bookshop. Thank you to the author, publisher and Netgalley for this ARC.

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Daisy Goodwin's "Diva" is a captivating story of two Greek icons. The novel portrays the alluring affair between Maria Callas, one of the greatest opera singers of her time, and Aristotle Onassis, one of the wealthiest men in the world.
The first chapter of the book begins with Maria Callas's reaction to the news that her lover, Aristotle Onassis, has just married Jackie Kennedy, the former First Lady of America. Despite appearing stoic, her emotions are evident as she struggles to come to terms with the news.
The book concludes with Aristotle realizing that Maria was probably the love of his life, despite having married Jackie.
Throughout the book, we catch glimpses of what made Maria Callas, famously known as "La Diva", the most celebrated opera star of her time. Her journey from childhood to the peak of her stardom was driven by her desire to be loved, which ultimately became the driving force behind her success.
I admire Daisy Goodwin for her ability to engage the reader and keep them hooked until the conclusion.
Maria Callas's family, acquaintances, and various famous people mentioned in the book make it a compelling and valuable read.

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What a superb read this book Diva is! A factional account of the famed opera singer Maria Callas, this novel takes the reader from her childhood in Greece, to USA, to her worldwide travel as the supreme artist that she was, to her eventual relationship with Aristotle Onassis, another well- renowned Greek, a shipping magnate. The narrative flows beautifully, the descriptions of Maria’s at times tortured life, are riveting. I knew very little of Callas before I read this book, but since finishing it, I’ve read much more about her. She continues to fascinate me.
I was initially interested as I am an amateur singer in a chorus, but I was completely blown away by this story. I’m also blown away by her incredible voice, as I’ve listened to some small excerpts of her singing an opera.
The description of her childhood vocal tutor, that her beautiful voice was like a basket of golden coins, but that there were a finite number, and they would eventually run out, so she must guard her treasure and take care not to squander them, was so wonderful.
My heart ached many times for the vulnerable Maria, when she was worked too hard by her ‘handlers’, exploited by her mother, betrayed by her hangers- on ‘friends’, seduced by Onassis. She was so terribly naive, and not at all worldly wise, sadly.
An amazing story, beautifully told. I was captivated from the first page to the last.
My grateful thanks to the publisher, and Netgalley for giving me the opportunity to read this book in advance of publication. My huge admiration to Daisy Goodwin the author, who brought Maria alive on the pages.

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Diva by Daisy Goodwin is a novel about the most celebrated opera singer, Maria Callas and her love affair with one of the most richest men in the world, Onassis.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading all about Maria, a fascinating account capturing her vulnerability through her very ambitious and accomplished life…born with a voice which became her destiny.
It’s a compelling portrayal of her love, sacrifice and survival beautifully written with a rich sense of time and place…I couldn’t put it down.
Big thanks to Daisy Goodwin, Aria and Aries and NetGalley for this eARC which I chose to read in return for my honest review.

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This was a treat, fun, interesting and a genre I don’t normally read but it made a real change.

I really enjoyed it and would recommend it.

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Fascinating, captivating, and rich!

Diva is an insightful, immersive tale that sweeps you away to Europe during the mid-1900s and into the life of “La Divina” Maria Callas from her dysfunctional upbringing, her ongoing worries and insecurities, her dispassionate marriage to Giovanni Battista Meneghini, her rise and fame as one of the most renowned opera singers of the 20th century, to her sordid love affair with the richest man in the world at the time, Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis.

The prose is eloquent and expressive. The characters are hardworking, dedicated, and passionate. And the plot is an intriguing tale of life, love, friendship, family, glitz, glamour, jealousy, scandals, uncertainty, infidelity, drive, determination, and the ins and outs of operatic performances.

Overall, Diva is a vivid, compelling, absorbing novel by Goodwin that does an exceptional job of highlighting her impressive knowledge and considerable research into this renowned iconic figure whose life, talent, and hard work had an undeniable impact on the world of opera as we know it today.

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A very interesting book detailing the life of Maria Callas. Of course, it is not fact but it is based on known information. I really liked her and felt very sorry for her when AO left her for Jackie Kennedy. I will be listening to some of her performances. Very enigmatic lady.

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I enjoyed reading this book giving an insight to the life of the oper singer Maria Callas. I only remembered her as the mistress of Ari Onassis so was interested to learn more. The reader can't held but sympathise about how he treated Marie. Would definitely a book to be recommended

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"Diva" by Daisy Goodwin immerses readers in the glittering and fiercely competitive world of opera, where Maria Callas reigns supreme as la divina—the divine one. Goodwin's novel captures the essence of this legendary soprano, renowned for her glorious voice, dramatic flair, and striking beauty.

The narrative unfolds against the backdrop of Maria Callas's tumultuous life, beginning with her challenging upbringing in Nazi-occupied Greece. Goodwin skillfully portrays the young Maria, shaped by a mother who exploited her talents mercilessly. The novel provides a glimpse into the early struggles and the resilient spirit that propelled Maria toward operatic stardom.

The story takes a dramatic turn when Maria encounters Aristotle Onassis, a fabulously wealthy shipping magnate. In Onassis, Maria finds more than just a lover; she believes she has discovered a man who sees beyond the legendary diva to the woman within. The narrative sweeps readers into a world of unimaginable luxury, mingling with celebrities like Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.

However, the opulent life takes an abrupt turn when Onassis announces his intention to marry Jacqueline Kennedy, the former First Lady and the most famous woman in the world. Maria is left to grapple with the heartbreak of losing the man she loves.

Goodwin's storytelling paints a vivid portrait of Maria Callas, capturing not only her extraordinary talent and relentless drive but also the vulnerabilities that lie beneath the surface. The novel explores the price of fame, the complexities of love, and the quest for identity in the face of overwhelming public scrutiny.

As readers follow Maria's journey, they witness the highs and lows of a life lived on the grand stage. Goodwin masterfully weaves together historical events, captivating characters, and the emotional depth of Maria Callas's personal struggles. "Diva" is not just a biographical novel; it's a poignant exploration of the woman behind the legend, revealing how heartbreak ultimately led Maria to discover her true voice.

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I was aware of Maria Callas but didn’t know much about her and found this book fascinating. I know it’s fiction but is based on her life and shows how the outward face is very different to what goes on behind closed doors, Does make you wonder if some of the things that went on could have done so in the modern world with the technology allows everyone to be a paparazzi!

A great book and now want to read more about her.

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Opera singer Maria Callas known as “la divina” with her fabulous voice was born with note only a gift of singing, but also the drama and beauty needed to succeed on the worldwide operatic stages. Sadly, liked a bird in a gilded cage, Maria’s life is lonely, and although surrounded by people and her husband she feels isolated.
When she meets the fabulously rich shipping magnate, Aristotle Onassis, her isolation melts away. For the first time in her life, she believes she's found a man who sees the woman rather than the legendary soprano. Desperately in love, Onassis introduces her to a life of unbelievable luxury, mixing with celebrities like Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.
And then, suddenly, it's over. The international press announce that Onassis will marry the most famous woman in the world, former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, leaving Maria to pick up the pieces.

This is a fictional account based on true events, think of The Crown on Netflix.

About thirty years ago I went on holiday to Lefkas, and the tour guide was telling us all about the Onassis family and how they owned a small island just across the sea from Nidri called Skorpios. She said that Onassis had an affair with Opera singer Maria Callas and that they had spent time together on the island. For the next two weeks of my holiday, I would gaze across the azure blue sea romantically day dreaming of the glamorous parties which must have happened on that piece of land in the middle of the Ionian sea, and the stories that could be told!

Imagine my delight when 30 years later this book is published! If ever a book was written for a person, then I feel this was written just for me!!!!!! You will be transported to the oppressive heat of Greece, to the world’s most famous opera houses, and to the glitz and glamour of the Onassis lifestyle while all the time, routing for Maria who longs to be loved.
A truly brilliant book and one that I wholeheartedly recommend.

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A really interesting read.Based on the life of the great Maria Callas it tells the story of her humble beginnings where she lived with her mother and sister but always felt second best to how she finally turns into the famous opera singer. It a story of love,deception and betrayal as Maria falls deeply in love with the powerful Aristotle Onassis but as he mixes with celebrities and royalty can it ever work out.A beautiful insight into the life of a famous opera singer.

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Diva is a book of historical fiction based on the life of Maria Callas, in which Daisy Goodwin brilliantly brings to life the woman behind the headlines.
With her legendary voice and striking beauty, Callas appeared to live a golden life. But Goodwin shows us that despite her reputation and diva persona, underneath the outward show was a surprisingly fragile and vulnerable woman.
Despite the wealth and glamour, beneath it all Maria Callas still feels like the chubby teenager whose mother never showed her any love.
She lives her life almost constantly on show and like many performers, no matter how much success she has, Callas needs constant affirmation and approval from her audiences, and her fear of failure is almost crippling.
Goodwin’s Diva is an extraordinarily talented and in many respects a strong woman, sadly let down by the men in her life. Her husband is more of an exploitative business manager than a lover, and although she falls madly in love with shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis, he is unfaithful and unappreciative of her almost from the start.
Her most reliable relationship is with her maid Bruna, although she’s not mentioned in the publisher’s synopsis of the book, Bruna is a constant support and comfort to Callas, and this is portrayed beautifully and subtly in the novel.
Diva is a really enjoyable, informative and well-researched book that fleshes out the character of one of the greatest opera singers of all time.
With thanks to the publishers and NetGalley for an ARC in return for an honest review.

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What a fantastic book. I forgot I was reading about a real person and became engrossed in the story.
From early family life to the heights of opera diva. Relationships, husband and wrangles with theatre directors.
The relationship with Aristotle Onassis and it's humiliating ending.
A wonderful talent, honest female with all her quirkes. I would have loved to meet her and almost feel as if I did reading this book.

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We tend to think of Maria Callas as Greek, but she was born to Greek parents in Manhattan, New York, in December 1923 and only moved to Athens when she was thirteen. Her original surname was Kalogeropoulos but her father changed it to 'Callas' to make it more manageable in the States. When she was back in Athens - supposedly so that she could get appropriate training for her voice - she was raised under the Nazi occupation by a mother who mercilessly exploited her and made no secret of her preference for her elder sister, Jackie.

Since my teens, I've been interested in the Kennedy clan. Maria Callas, like Marilyn Monroe, was one of the many people whose lives would not be improved by even a loose association with the Kennedys. Callas, herself, was known as being difficult. She knew what she wanted and needed to sing well and was ruthless about ensuring that her needs were met. In her private life, it was a different matter. She was exploited abused and betrayed by almost everyone she encountered - beginning with her mother. Her most famous relationship was with Aristotle Onassis, the man who professed to love her but who declined to marry her, even when he could have done so. He lavished jewels on her, and bought property for her use - but married Jacqueline Kennedy.

The story is lightly fictionalised. Daisy Goodwin says that she has taken some liberties with dates but, so far as I can see, the history is essentially correct. Callas is brought to life superbly and sympathetically. Her ability to be difficult is perhaps underplayed to some extent: good reasons were always presented for the way that she acted and the character in the book is best described as more sinned against than sinning. But, you're in the hands of a master storyteller here: I imagined reading the book over a week or so, but - in the event - I consumed it over two days, desperate to know what happened next. As if I didn't know - but that's Goodwin's skill. She takes a story you know and delivers it in such a way that you have to know what happens next. Callas is brought to life as not the best singer ever or the most beautiful but as the complete package - something which is hard to beat.

It's not just the celebrities we meet - the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe, the leading lights of the opera world - that make the story so compelling. It's the insight into the woman with the brilliant voice and less-than-optimal private life. It's the insight into the world of opera in New York, London, Paris, Rome and Athens for a woman who would probably have been happiest as a Greek housewife. Goodwin's research has been meticulous but it's served up with a light hand and there's never a point where you feel that every bit of information has been ruthlessly shoe-horned in. It's excellent, compelling writing.

I was lucky enough to not only read the book but also to listen to an audio download, narrated by Goodwin herself, Josephine Goddard and Lorelei King. It's superbly done. The range of voices is excellent - I was never in any doubt as to which character I was hearing. I'd be delighted to hear any of the narrators again.

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Just loved this book. I had the audiobook from the publisher but there was an issue; two of the chapters were inaccessible, so I requested access to the Kindle version so I read. Loved how the author brought Maria Callas to life. Very well represented and an absorbing listen/read. Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the ARC.

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Genuinely floored by how much I enjoyed rooting for Maria Callas within this story – I knew nothing of La Divina’s life apart from that she was an opera singer, which was quite an exciting way to approach what is a fascinating life. I had previously enjoyed other novels by Goodwin, including Victoria. The glamour, hard working ethos and fierce passion of Callas leaps off the page through the great characterization and is engaging from the start. I can imagine that it has been meticulously researched, however it is the human emotional thread throughout this story that grabbed me so I couldn’t put this down and has left me still thinking about her story, long after the final page.

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I didn't know much about Maria Callas before reading this book. The book gives a really good insight into her life and career I really enjoyed it.

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A fascinating insight into the life of Maria Callas and in a way, the life of most superstars with press and public watching their every move. The pressures were enormous, her talent was phenomenal but there was still a vulnerable girl inside wanting to be loved. Richly detailed and full of famous characters, this is an excellent read.

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This memoir intricately explores the profound impact of historical events, notably the overshadowing of the operatic diva Maria Callas by Jackie Kennedy during the 20th Century.

The narrative provides a captivating glimpse into the jet-set lifestyle of a bygone era, skillfully depicting the complexities of love and sacrifice. Whether experienced through audiobook or ebook, both mediums showcase the well-written reflection of a time where women often relinquished independence for love.

This fictional account artfully captures the essence of Maria's life and loves, portraying a lively and accurate portrayal of the lady and those in her orbit.

The narration, delivered with superb finesse, paints Maria as a conflicted character who both craved and feared the spotlight, navigating a life marked by being used and abused by those around her. I had the opportunity to read the ebook in tandem with listening to the audiobook, and it was truly superb for an experience!

A compelling exploration of history from multiple perspectives, earning it a commendable 4-star rating from me!

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In the glittering and ruthlessly competitive world of opera, Maria Callas is known simply as la divina: the divine one. With her glorious voice, instinctive flair for the dramatic and striking beauty, she's the toast of the grandest opera houses in the world. Yet her fame has been hard won: raised in Nazi-occupied Greece by a mother who mercilessly exploited her, Maria learned early in life how to protect herself.

This is a really interesting read. Maria Callas was an icon and true diva of her time. This book explores her life, relationships and attitude to her critics and supporters. It makes, what could be a dry subject, involving and interesting to read. It’s well written and researched. The story gets a little bogged down at times with the detail but it is a great story.

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I love historical fiction, but of the genre what I love the most is a fictionalised imagining of a persons life.
Diva focuses on the life of Maria Callas, someone I have to admit that I knew very little about. The bulk of the story centres on her relationship with Aristotle Onassis, interwoven with her career as an established opera singer whose greatest fear is losing her voice. Diva shows Maria as a strong willed yet at times fragile woman. Daisy Goodwin paints a woman who feels real and relatable despite possessing a talent and drive the majority of us could never understand.
I sailed through this book, highly readable and enjoyable - plus its had me lost in a major Wikipedia rabbit hole!

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'One day, I am sure, you will be a great diva, one of the greatest...and you will think you are immortal'.

Surely real-life opera singer, Maria Callas, La Divina, was born under a shooting star and all the luck and fortune that portends. Having survived her overbearing mother's dubious demands to 'sing for their supper' in occupied Greece, Maria returned to America, after WW2, and drove herself, propelled by this God-given gift to become the greatest operatic soprano. She not only honed her talent but also her acting skills and body to literally become 'divine'. However, 'The ancient Greeks had invented the idea of hubris for a reason'. The curse of fame was to always feel insecure; always trying to redress the balance between fame and personal life, self and persona, talent and being human. Her love affair with Aristotle Onassis shifted this fulcrum seemingly permanently.

I enjoyed reading about Maria Callas, whom I had never heard of before. Daisy Goodwin does a great job of relating Maria's history while telling a readable story. I could believe in Maria's drive towards perfectionism. I could believe she may have met her match with the domineering personality of Ari. And I could believe her ultimately indomitable spirit until the end - despite the media's attempts to crush it, 'Don't end like the characters you sing - dying for love in the third act. Make your own ending...'.

Overall, an enjoyable historical fiction read that should satisfy.

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This sort of historical fiction is my favourite genre and Daisy Goodwin is up there among the best in being able to transport one into whatever period is being written about.
I knew very little about Maria Callas before reading this book. Obviously that she was an opera singer but that was about it. Daisy Goodwin has brought her to life and made her and the other famous people in her book real for me. Her descriptions of places, people and costumes are second to none and she has obviously gone to great lengths to ensure her research is spot on. A very enjoyable book I'm happy to recommend.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read an advance copy. All opinions are my own.

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An absolutely brilliant read.
I expect everyone who loves opera knows the name Maria Callas who was one of the most renowned opera singers of the 20th century but know little of her personal life and professional struggles to perform to the perfection that she achieved on stage.
Although not an autobiography Daisy Goodwin has given an insight into this amazing women’s personal life treating it with great dignity.
Even if you are not an opera fan I can assure you that you will love this book .

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As I delved into the pages of "Diva" by Daisy Goodwin, I was immediately drawn into opera's glamorous and cutthroat world, where Maria Callas reigns as the divine one. Goodwin flawlessly captures the essence of Callas – her stunning voice, dramatic flair, and undeniable beauty that captivated audiences worldwide. The narrative skilfully weaves through Callas's tumultuous past, detailing her struggles in a war-torn Greece and the relentless exploitation she endured from her mother.
The portrayal of Callas's relationship with Aristotle Onassis is genuinely heart-wrenching. Their love story is both exhilarating and devastating, as Onassis introduces her to a world of luxury only to leave her heartbroken when he decides to marry Jacqueline Kennedy. Goodwin masterfully portrays Callas's vulnerability and strength, showcasing her resilience in the face of heartbreak.
Through this poignant exploration of Callas's life, we see her authentic voice emerge beyond the fame and accolades. Goodwin's exquisite writing delves deep into Callas's emotional turmoil, vividly depicting her inner struggles and ultimate triumph over adversity.
"Diva" is a beautifully crafted novel that offers a compelling glimpse into the life of a legendary opera singer. Goodwin's portrayal of Maria Callas is both poignant and powerful, leaving a lasting impression on readers. It is a must-read for anyone who appreciates a richly detailed and emotionally resonant story.

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Hop into the pages of this story and let it transport you to the glittering world of the diva Maris Callas.

I'd heard of Maria Callas prior to reading this but, beyond being an opera singer, I knew nothing of her life (I thought she was the one who sang Barcelona with Freddie Mercury if im honest 😂) and my only knowledge of opera is my love of the soundtrack to Helena Bonhem Carter version of Room with a View(my absolute all time fave film)..

Her life was certainly fascinating, growing up with a pushy and vile mother, Maria did not have it easy. She became a strong woman who fought for her place in the hall of fame in this world. Her voice was the ultimate power house.

The story is monopolised by her relationship with Aristotle Onassis (I had no idea they dated!) and with the latter comes the hierarchy of 1950s big names.... I loved all the name dropping... From Winston Churchil and Bridget Bardot to Marlene Dietrich and Truman Capote.... So many stunning settings are featured too.

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this one, with the audiobook not only are there clips of Maria singing in between sections but also there's a great interview with the author at the end. She said diva meant divine one, and she wanted that title to be given back it's original meaning rather than what it means today (ie jlo wanting bowls of Smarties with all the brown 🟤 ones removed)...

The writing style wasn't as stimulating as other books I've read recently however it was fascinating to read about a huge star who I knew so little about.... For example I had no idea she sang for JFK on the same night as Marilyn Monroes famous Happy Birthday 🎂 moment! Or that she was dumped by Onassis for Jackie Kennedy.

I can't actually claim to like Maria Callas very much after reading this but her story was very a fascinating one.

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As a lover of opera and with some background in the field I thought this was wonderful. Even the biggest star at the time is subject to the fallibility of the human voice, hampered by emotional upheaval and physical illness. The pressure to succeed was palpable and Callas' determination shone through. I loved this book, thanks NetGalley!

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An amazing book, one of my mum’s favourite singers and the opera of my youth so this felt very special before I even started reading it. I was completely unaware of Maria Callas’s back story and the affair with Onassis. Beautifully written and totally captivating from beginning to end. I’m off to find out more about this incredible diva!

Thank you to Netgalley the author and publishers for an arc in exchange for an unbiased review

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Maria Callas is the dive per excellece, the last of the lirica divas and the most important opera singer of XX century.
That said her life was tragic, complex, and fascinating as it could have been a novel.
She was never happy for a long time, she was passionate and lost a lot. There's a playlist with the same title of this book, go and lister.
L'amour, l''amour est un oiseau rebelle. Go and listen to the passion as she plays Carmen.
Highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher for this ARC, all opinions are mine

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An interesting look at the life of Maria Callas, with much of the focus and the strongest part of the book, on her relationship with Aristotle Onassis. Those who aren't familiar with these two might enjoy this more than those wo know the story. That said, Goodwin sent me off to google others who pop in and out of their lives. I would have liked to know more about Callas' life after Onassis, Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. A good read for fans of historical fiction,

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I'd not heard of Maria Callas when I requested a copy of the book, my instinct to apply went from all the blogger reviews of proofs I'd seen online. It's a fantastic story and, although a work of fiction, is very much biographical of the soprano's life. All the people who feature in it are real and whilst the author has opted to use her creative licence to push the story forward it all feels very raw. I found myself pausing to look up the people and went down a Google rabbit hole so far, sometimes I had to reread a couple of paragraphs to remind myself where I was up to.

Maria Callas is not the most likeable of people - she developed a reputation for being notoriously difficult - but her whole career was full of hangers on, people who stood to profit from her. This started from her mother as soon as she found out her daughter could sing and followed her till death. Her life, in true operatic style, was tragic in many ways and you cannot help but feel sorry for her.

Thanks so much to Head Of Zeus, not only for my digital copy, but the special proof I was issued as part of a readalong, complete with interactive QR codes. A fabulous read and an introduction to someone I'd love to read more about.

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An easy read but an excellent portrayal of Maria Callas, from her upbringing and exploitation by her mother, her husband's manipulation and her famous lover Aristotle Onnasis until he marries one of the richest women in the world, Jackie Kennedy, bravo!

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My life was missing Maria Callas! Loved this book and ate it up honestly. Super sad its over! Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the advanced copy of the novel- I will be requesting that my library purchases a copy.

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Wow! Fantastic.
Until the last few years my preferred choice of reading was non-fiction. Over the last few years I have found more and more examples of excellent fiction and non-fiction.
Maria Callas was probably the best soprano that ever lived.
I had no idea about her life outside music.
I know that this is a work of non-fiction, but it is all believable, but I believe that it is mostly true, and maybe, just maybe, all true.
In any case it was a thoroughly enjoyable read.
This is the best example of fiction based on real life that I have ever read by some margin.
Thanks to the author for a wonderful book, I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

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Now, I am not particularly an opera buff and when I picked up this book I didn’t know anything about Maria Callas or much about Aristotle Onassis either. In fact, I’m not sure why I even requested it, beyond seeing other people recommend it, but I am extremely glad I did because I found it fascinating.

Since I am not an expert on this subject, I can’t tell you if this book is an accurate portrayal of the characters in it so I will have to trust that judgement to people better acquainted with the topic. What I can say is that, as a story, it is a riveting, entertaining and emotional read that had my gripped from start to finish and made me care about the characters and their lives.

Maria Callas was obviously a talented opera singer and one of the most compelling things about her, as she is portrayed in this book is how confident she is in her talent. She knows who she is and what she brings to the world as a great talent and one of the most famous and celebrated women in the world. But she also struggles with the disadvantages that fame brings at times. The dark side of celebrity is always fascinating and that is evident in this story. Given the status of women in general at the time she was alive, the independence and authority she has is extraordinary and, when she recognises and remembers that, she is impressive.

On the flip side, this book also shows her as a woman who has the same needs and desires as all other women, she just wants to be loved for herself. But when you are as successful and famous as she is, how can you ever be sure that people love you as the celebrity or just yourself? She is surrounded by adoration and accolades but never knows if they love ‘Maria’ or ‘Callas.’ Until she meets Aristotle Onassis, a man much wealthier and more powerful and almost as famous as she is. In her Ari, she believes she has found her soulmate and someone who loves her for herself. But is this reality or simply fantasy on her part?

At its heart, this is a love story and, if you take away the fact that it is about two famous people, the emotions felt are recognisable to people the world over. Celebrities are just people at the end of the day and they have feelings just like the rest of us. In this book, Maria Callas is portrayed in the end as a woman in love and I felt all her pain and longing on that score. She is made very human, albeit with a peculiar set of problems, and the reader can relate to her on that basis. The author does a wonderful job of making us feel her pain and longing and insecurity at the careless hands of an ultimately selfish man.

I really loved this book, despite having no particular interest in the people involved before I picked it up and I highly recommend it.

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I was aware of all of the main characters, Callas, Onassis and Kennedy and also knew something of their entwined history. This book brings to life the glittering and glamorous jet set of the mid 20th century in a fictionalised biography of Maria Callas. Massively talented but ultimately a tragic figure, this portrait of Callas is a fascinating portrait of a woman and the world in which she lived.

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Diva opens with the Greek shipping magnate, Aristotle Onassis, marrying Jackie Kennedy in 1968. A man born on the wrong side of the tracks in Greece has married his way into high society. But his jilted ex-lover of 9 years, Maria Callas, can only watch in sorrow and hurt as they marry in the chapel on his island of Skorpios where she always hoped that they would tie the knot.
In flashback the reader learns, almost in snapshots, the events that led up to this momentous occasion; the fateful meeting between them and her life as an opera singer which she gave up as he was uninterested in it. He pursued her determinedly and it destroyed both of their marriages. Callas wanted Onassis to love her in the same way that she loves him as she feels that he treats her as a woman first and foremost. She has issues with her mother exploiting her talent from a young child in Nazi occupied Greece and her older husband who sees her as a business. But Onassis is unfaithful as she soon discovers, and she is destined to be supplanted.
The book is described as ‘historical fiction’ and it is stated at the beginning that it is ‘a fictionalised account of Callas and Onassis. It stops after they break up and doesn’t cover her later years when she took up singing again. I’m interested in Callas as I grew up with an opera loving dad and so heard Maria Callas recordings from an early age. I also worked within an opera house and know only too well the fear that singers have of opening their mouths and nothing comes out. I was quite surprised that opera singers had such a limited time span and Callas career was over when she was 40.
The book followed her demanding schedule travelling between opera houses, theatres and performances, practicing, attending society parties often in the company of Elsa Maxwell who appears in the book and being at the very pinnacle of her career. In between she is assessing new opportunities such as films.
The estranged relationship with her family, particularly her mother, is touched on but not dwelt on. It is believed that being farmed out as entertainment during the Second World War to occupying soldiers by her mother might have contributed to her vocal decline in later years. Callas marriage was more like a business partnership as her husband was much older and she always has the pressure of knowing that her singing career is finite. The remarkable drive that she had is well portrayed but I didn’t feel that the book emphasised how much of a trail blazer she was. Even now she is one of the best selling opera artists and was known as ‘La Divina’ or ‘the divine one.’
This was a woman of no half measures. It was all or nothing and she gave up her career for Onassis although he was unfaithful and moved from woman to woman.
I felt that there was an element of soap opera to the book as famous people of the time drift through, the Churchills, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Taylor and Burton and Marilyn Monroe. The strongest impression I had of both Onassis and Callas was them wanting to be accepted by the world despite their humble beginnings and that they recognised this in each other. However, Callas achieved immortality beyond her wildest dreams.
I enjoyed the book a lot. It was a lively and engaging read with two fascinating lead characters and enough sex and drama to keep it moving along at a brisk pace. The pressures on Callas such as worrying about regaining weight, family problems, wanting a child and the approaching end of her singing career were well portrayed. In the book Callas became the woman behind ‘La Divina’ and I could understand how a man like Onassis could take them away from her by giving her an escape route. The book had a great cover as well.
My thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for an ARC.

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This is a beautiful novel - such an absorbing story and told in a way it could be fiction but clearly is not. Well written with empathy and grace, this is another story about one of the great talents whose personal journey suffered as a result. Fascinating read and so atmospheric of the times.

Thank you NetGalley for the ARC

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Fascinating, I had heard of Maria Callas and of her affair with Aristotle Onassis but did not know her. Daisy Goodwin introduces us to Maria Callas the person and shows how hard she worked to become and maintain her status as a Diva.

Definitely worth reading.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for allowing me to read Diva.

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“No man has ever had to justify achieving perfection”
“I will always be as difficult as necessary to achieve the best “
A novel retelling the turbulent life of opera singer Maria Callas.
It’s a novel not a biography.
The book is set as a three act drama, centring around her scandalous love affair with Greek shipping magnate, Aristotle Onassis, the richest man in the world at the time.
But it also had lots of flashbacks to her earlier, unhappy childhood.
I found it a bit disjointed and personally through it didn’t have a continuous flow, especially with the flashbacks.
But what a story, beautifully written and full of passion and ambition.
Thanks @daisygoodwin, @hozbooks and @netaglley for the interesting read.

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I feel utterly grateful to have been approved to read this book as I was rather interested in a fictional representation of Maria Callas. I loved the way that Goodwin brought to life this fascinating woman and set the scene well as her affair with Aristotle Onassis develops.

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Inspired by the life of Maria Callas, the iconic soprano, this is an enjoyable and emotional story. It is engaging historical fiction that dramatically portrays the rise of a diva in a time that worshipped musical artists and film stars like gods. It evokes the life of a successful opera singer well, showing the commitment, stamina and sacrifice necessary to maintain and improve a unique talent. The epic love story with Onassis is equally heartwarming and heartbreaking. It's lyrically written, full of historical detail illuminated by the author's interpretation of the players in Maria's life. I loved the story's characters, relatability and immersive qualities. It's an entertaining read.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

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I absolutely adored this book. One of the best I’ve read for a while. Non fiction presented in a fictional way gives you the chance to learn about Maria Callas’ life. It was very interesting to read about and very sad in some parts. A definite don’t miss book.

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