The Instrumentalist

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Pub Date 15 Aug 2024 | Archive Date 22 Aug 2024

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Description

A dazzling historical debut set in eighteenth-century Venice, about the woman written out of the story of one of history's greatest musical masterpieces

Venice. 1704. In this city of glittering splendour, desperation and destitution are never far away. At the Ospedale della Pietà, abandoned orphan girls are posted every through a tiny gap in the wall every day.

Eight-year-old Anna Maria is just one of the three hundred girls growing up within the Pietà's walls – but she already knows she is different. Obsessive and gifted, she is on a mission to become Venice’s greatest violinist and composer, and in her remarkable world of colour and sound, it seems like nothing with stop her.

But the odds are stacked against an orphan girl – so when the maestro selects her as his star pupil, Anna Maria knows she must do everything in power to please this difficult, brilliant man. But as Anna Maria’s star rises, threatening to eclipse that of her mentor, the dream she has so single-mindedly pursued is thrown into peril…

From the jewelled palaces of Venice to its mud-licked canals, this is a story of one woman’s irrepressible ambition and rise to the top, of loss and triumph, and of who we choose to remember and leave behind on the path to success.

A dazzling historical debut set in eighteenth-century Venice, about the woman written out of the story of one of history's greatest musical masterpieces

Venice. 1704. In this city of glittering...


Advance Praise

'I was swept away by this searing portrait of ambition and betrayal. Occasionally a book arrives which not only moves but performs a vital function: and The Instrumentalist restores Anna Maria's name as she deserves, removing her from the forgotten annals of history'
ELIZABETH MACNEAL

'Enthralling, passionate, vivid. The Instrumentalist is a marvel'
KIRAN MILLWOOD HARGRAVE

'I was swept away by this searing portrait of ambition and betrayal. Occasionally a book arrives which not only moves but performs a vital function: and The Instrumentalist restores Anna Maria's name...


Available Editions

EDITION Hardcover
ISBN 9781526672568
PRICE £16.99 (GBP)
PAGES 336

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Average rating from 38 members


Featured Reviews

Anna Maria sees music as colours and this is her story. An orphan who becomes a maestro in eighteenth Century Venice.
A beautiful story and I couldn't put it down until I had finished it. The description of colours, sights and smells are all vivid and the tale is brilliant. Highly recommended.

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Historical fiction at its best. This beautifully constructed novel by Harriet Constable takes us to an orphanage in Venice in the early 18th century. The heroine of our story is Anna Maria who, from the age of 8, is insistent that both her names are used, not just "Anna". as she is convinced she is destined for great things. It is this same determination that drives her to acquire all the skills necessary to become a supreme violinist A maestro indeed!

But to get there she is forced to take decisions that cause her real heartbreak and, as a result, finds herself left alone to fight her demons in the recurring nightmare that haunts her over the years. To find peace she must resolve the mystery of the half playing card and short message that were left alongside her when she was left in that small hole in the orphanage wall as a tiny baby.

The reality of life in an orphanage, the hardship Anna Maria endures bringing her dream of becoming a maestro to reality, and, the societal prejudice that prevents women being recognised in a music world utterly dominated by men, makes for an utterly compelling story.

But what shall stay long in the memory of the reader is how Anna Maria sees and feels music. Not as notes on the page, but as sequences of colour. It is this unique characteristic that make her violin sing and so enraptures her audiences.

Constable, bearing in mind this novel is based in fact, has done a great service in bringing Anna Maria's story out from the closeted world of the orphanage for us all to enjoy. If you love music this is the novel for you.

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