Hello readers! I’m back with another book review today, as promised. If like me, you enjoy time-travel blended with historical fiction, then this will be the second review in as many days that may be of interest to you! Where yesterday’s featured book encompassed many well known time periods throughout history, today’s featured book gives us a detailed, beautiful insight into Italy in 1660. The Violinist’s Apprentice is a dark, beautiful and intriguing novel encompassing time-travel, historical fiction and magical realism!
As always, I like to take the opportunity to thank Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour and inviting me to join the tour. As part of this tour there is also a giveaway being hosted, so don’t forget to check out the details below!
So, would you like to find out the details of the book?
The Violinist’s Apprentice
A dark journey through time.
It’s on a group trip to Rome that something terrifying and mysterious happens, whirling musical Clementina back in time to 17th century Italy. Amidst court intrigue and creaking carriages, Rome becomes a chiaroscuro backdrop to her growing feelings for young violin-maker Antonio Stradivari. But soon he discovers that Clementina is not all she appears. She must surely be a witch. How can she return to the 21st century again? Meanwhile, in an icy corner of the Arctic, a professor plots.
The Violinist’s Apprentice is told predominantly from the viewpoint of Clementina. She is sent back in time to retrieve an invaluable artefact from the period – a Stradivari violin. A novice player of the violin herself, she becomes apprenticed to none other than the creator, Antonio Stradivarius himself.
The first thing that that really impressed me with this book is the descriptions! I’m not the sort of person that loves to travel; although Italy is the country I haven’t been to that I would like to visit. If I hadn’t gone into this book that way inclined already then I certainly would be by the time I finished! It’s easy to step into our MC Clemetina’s shoes and share the sights, smells and experiences she lives through.
I like that the gap in science and technology was bridged by a sort of magic, based loosely on the early understandings of science and chemistry. Otherwise, this would have been a very difficult tale to write and get to a conclusion. It incorporates a bit of magical realism into the narrative but I personally really enjoyed this. Something else I enjoyed is the variety of characters and the diversity in the interactions between them. I do feel there is a lot to learn about some of the characters though, which may be addressed if this is a series. There are a number of unexplained events and interactions that I feel could hint at a series being made of this, or otherwise need elaborating on more.
Italy in that period has its beauty and lavishness, but it does have its darker side too. The story touches on the previous devastation caused by civil war, and the consequences of plague and illness in the presence of many orphaned children. The tale isn’t painted through rose-tinted glasses by any means, but rather adds greater depth and background to a realistic portrayal of Italy at that time. Overall the historical element to the novel is pretty authentic.
Giveaway to Win a signed paperback of An Englishwoman in America (Open INT)
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Isabella Mancini is the nom de plume of prolific author Olga Swan, published by Crooked Cat Books. She has a BA Hons (Open) in English Language and Literature and a lifelong love for writing and language. For 12 years she lived in SW France, but returned to the UK in 2017, where she now lives in the West Midlands with her husband and elderly French rescue dog Bruno.
Previous books by Olga Swan:
An Englishwoman in America, From Paradis to Perdition, Pensioners in Paradise, The Mazurek Express,Lamplight, Vichyssoise, 3rd Degree Murder
Social Media Links –
Facebook Group: Books, Music and the Past
Amazon page for Isabella Mancini: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Isabella-Mancini/e/B08127KJJW/
Amazon page for Olga Swan: