Maria Anna Walburga Ignatia Mozart, affectionately called Nannerl by her family, could play the harpsichord with an otherworldly skill from the time she was a child. At the tender age of five, she gave her first public performance, amazing the assembled gentlemen and ladies with the beautiful music she created.
But her moment of glory was cut short, for even as her father carried her around to receive their praise, her mother began laboring to bring a second child into the world. A moving tribute to the spirit of a forgotten sibling. Music imbues every gripping page, and in revealing Nannerl, Charbonnier also gives us a different view of Mozart, both rounding out and exploding the myths of his brief, tragic life.
–Susanne DunlapThey named him Wolfgang.
Nannerl loved him instantly. As they grew, Wolfgang and his sister became inseparable, creating a fantasy world together and playing music the likes of which no one had ever heard. They were two sides of a single person, opposite in temperament — he lighthearted and charismatic, she shy and retiring — but equal in talent. Yet it was Wolfgang who carried their father’s dreams of glory.
And as the siblings matured, Nannerl’s prodigious talent was brushed aside. Instead of playing alongside her brother in the world’s great cities, she was forced to stop performing and become a provincial piano teacher to support Wolfgang’s career.
Nannerl might have accepted this life in her brother’s shadow but for the appearance of a potential suitor who reawakened her passion for life, for love, for music — and who threatened to upset the delicate balance that kept the Mozart family in harmony.
Mozart’s Sister: A Novel draws you into the lush palaces and salons of eighteenth-century Europe and into the fascinating life of a woman who ultimately found a way to express her own genius.
Mozart’s Sister: International Editions
The novel was first published in 2006 and since then has been re-published a number of times, in different languages. There have been four Spanish editions, each with a different cover; two Italian editions, by different publishers — two German, and Dutch. On all major online stores you may easily find the editions in English, Spanish…
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Mozart’s Sister Q & A
In your novel Mozart’s Sister, your protagonist, Maria Anna Mozart (nicknamed Nannerl), is denied the spotlight in favor of her talented brother. What drew you to Nannerl’s story? I was immediately struck when I found out that Mozart had a sister who had been another musical prodigy. I think that it was my sister who first brought her to my attention…
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Readers who shun historical fiction, dismissing the genre as a literary oxymoron, be forewarned: Rita Charbonnier’s novel, Mozart’s Sister, transcends all the tired stereotypes, winning over even the most cynical readers with its plaintive lyricism and beguiling narrative. To be sure, Charbonnier’s debut English language novel…
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Mozart’s Sister Reader’s Group Guide
The name Mozart is synonymous with musical genius, calling up the powerful notes of The Magic Flute, Don Giovanni, and The Marriage of Figaro, reminding us that what is now classical was once revolutionary. But most of us don’t know that standing in Wolfgang’s shadow was another talented musician who played and composed at his side…
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Dear Rita, I loooooooved MOZART’S SISTER! You are a great storyteller. There wasn’t a slow part of the book — I had to read the last 252 pages in one day to get it done for book club, and I am grateful to you for the fact that it was so riveting. Today, I read that the Catholic church is excommunicating women who are ordained as priests…