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Book Review: Mozart’s Last Aria

Posted by gck Saturday, February 22, 2014

mozartMozart's Last Aria by Matt Rees

Genre: Historical Fiction, Thriller
Rating: *** (out of 5)
Recommended for: Dan Brown fans, music lovers
Received ARC copy through a GoodReads giveaway.

Back-cover summary:
The news arrives in a letter to his sister, Nannerl, in December 1791. But the message carries more than word of Nannerl’s brother’s demise. Two months earlier, Mozart confided to his wife that his life was rapidly drawing to a close… and that he knew he had been poisoned.

In Vienna to pay her final respects, Nannerl soon finds herself ensnared in a web of suspicion and intrigue—as the actions of jealous lovers, sinister creditors, rival composers, and Mozart’s Masonic brothers suggest that dark secrets hastened the genius to his grave. As Nannerl digs deeper into the mystery surrounding her brother’s passing, Mozart’s black fate threatens to overtake her as well.

My review:
Beautiful cover, intriguing premise… maybe this was too much for this book to live up to. My main issue was that there’s way too much fiction in this historical fiction novel, so much that I spent a lot of my reading time thinking that there was no way this story could be true. This probably wouldn’t have been as much of a problem if it wasn’t about someone as famous as Mozart, but I’m not sure I would have been as interested in that case. It’s a no-win situation, I guess.

Nannerl receives word of her brother Mozart’s death and the suggestion that it might have been a murder. She rushes off to Austria to investigate Mozart’s connections with politics and the Masons that might have led to his death. Along the way, she rediscovers her own talent and love for music. While the Mason stuff screamed “conspiracy theory” to me, Nannerl’s personal journey was more interesting, and the book would have been a better read for me if it had focused more on this part than on solving the mystery.