Author of The Stolen Crown and The Queen of Last Hopes
I found Mozart’s Wife to be absorbing and well-written. It follows Konstanze’s life as she grows from a naive young girl to a capable, shrewd woman, her marriage as it disintegrates under the pressures of too many bills, infant mortality, and infidelity.
Konstanze is the narrator here, and her voice is a refreshing one: informal, earthy without becoming coarse, candid, un-self-pitying, and wry. She and Mozart are highly flawed but likable people, who never forfeit our sympathies even as they act appallingly toward each other and toward others. That’s very difficult for an author to pull off, and Waldron does it admirably.
Author of We Hear the Dead
Many a romance novel ends with marriage. The courtship, the chase, will they or won’t they - these things provide the backbone of the novel, and in the end there is marriage and, presumably, a happy-ever-after.
In Juliet Waldron’s historical novel, however, the courtship and marriage of Konstanze Weber and Wolfgang Mozart is only the beginning. The true story is of the marriage that follows, which every wife knows is when romance and love is truly tested. Konstanze begins as a self-conscious young maiden, overlooked in favor of her more talented sisters. She falls in love with Mozart and can hardly believe that the astonishing young composer has chosen her for his one true love. But marriage to the musical genius turns out to be tumultuous. Konstanze, who grew up in a musical family, is not unappreciative of Mozart’s genius, but reality dictates that music is primarily the thing which brings money into the house; it is their livelihood; it serves a purpose. While Wolfgang Mozart follows his muse, creating the music he loves - whether there is a market for it or not - Konstanze tries to prevent them from falling into poverty.
Juliet Waldron has created a believable, multi-faceted portrait of a woman loved but betrayed, adoring and yet resentful, capricious and sometimes spiteful. Her characterization of Konstanze Weber Mozart far outshines that of the genius composer himself, who becomes rather a minor character by the end of the novel. Mozart’s Wife is a memorable historical novel about a woman who was long overshadowed and forgotten in the shadow of her husband, but without whose intervention his music might have been consigned to obscurity.
Author of Red Flags
“This author’s fictionalized account of Constanze Webber--an extraordinary woman who just happened to marry an even more extraordinary man named Mozart--brings 18th Century Vienna and its people vividly alive. Constanze would have been a remarkable woman for any era, struggling with her own perspective on life while trying to cope and understand the icon composer with whom she chose to share her life. But as an 18th Century woman, she is all the more remarkable. This book is well written and thoroughly researched, that’s obvious from the details in dialogue and events. I suspect little of this work is pure fiction, though, given the vast availability of historical information on Mozart and his contemporaries. However, the author melds background information with fictional material so seamlessly, it all seems real. Despite knowing a lot about the man already, I’m even more convinced now that Mozart was one of a kind in history and so was his wife Constanze. To me, great writing is all about imagery, characterization and dialogue. Mozart’s Wife has all of that and more. Plus, it’s a real eye opener to Mozart himself as seen by his closest companion. If you like historical fiction with a wealth of factual detail, this book should be on your reading list."
Author of Ever Your Servant
Mozart’s Wife by Juliet Waldron is a richly textured and painstakingly researched trip into the eighteenth century. Waldron’s prose is clean, infinitely readable. She develops her characters brilliantly and without sentimentality. The overriding sense is that of *the real*: Stanzi Mozart is voluptuous, spirited, and wretched by turns. What is life lived in the shadow of a genius? Exaltation, poverty, at times madness. Mozart’s Wife lays before the reader the picture of a man overcome by the Muse, and the woman who struggles to live with him, keep their meager household, and rear their children. Mozart in essence, remains a puzzle: it has been posited that the heightened sensitivity of artistic genius may render life too painful to bear, and that this is why so many truly brilliant musicians, poets, or writers enter a cycle of inevitable self-destruction. They burn with a blinding light and extinguish themselves. Mozart’s Wife takes up this theme in the relationship of Wolfgang and Stanzi; the opiate for Mozart’s pain is the female form. Waldron doesn’t lapse into romanticism, however. Her characters seize the reader from the outset because they are genuine-their hopes, fears, joy, and pain become our own. The author has the uncanny ability to place us in the conjugal bed, in the midst of a pain-riddled childbirth, a dying man’s vision, or at the Opera with equal dexterity. Most telling, when Stanzi must face the reality of her feelings after many years by Mozart’s side, we have been there with her; we’ve mourned and adored and torn our hair.
Author of the Distant Cousin series of novels
Juliet Waldron reinterprets the life of Constanze Mozart in most convincing fashion in this splendidly researched and masterfully written account of her life from young teen to aged widow. Constanze is not a perfect woman: she has her faults. As a naive young girl, she is swept off her feet by the dashing and famous young prodigy, delights in his sensuality, and willingly marries him hardly knowing what kind of life she is in for. Her new husband, she comes to learn, is a spendthrift and bon vivant. Though devoted to her, he also works diligently to cultivate a whole city full of aristocrats, church officials, wealthy merchants with attractive daughters to be taught, networks of influential, often jealous artists and composers, and platoons of flashy, high-living show people. In addition, he must travel frequently, and, in whatever time remains, write immense quantities of music that will please the paying public. In addition, her in laws appear from time to time to add to the misery.
The famous death scene in Amadeus is recast in Mozart’s Wife, probably to fit the available evidence more closely. (As such, it is considerably more ghastly and affecting than in the movie.) The movie concluded at that point, but the real Constanze lived to be 80, discovering what love in a stable marriage is like, developing a keen sense of financial management, and helping pass on much of her first husband’s music to the world. This period of her life is given full measure in the novel.
Ms. Waldron does a wonderful job of recreating an authentic feeling of life in 18th century Austria. I am a music lover myself, and I enjoyed reading the names of the composers and other luminaries he ran across in his brief life: Salieri and Sussmeyer are fairly well known, but other lesser-known names were just as intriguing. Would you believe Casanova? In sum, Mozart’s Wife is a thoroughly entertaining and even informative novel . . .
Author of My Splendid Concubine
I started writing the review in my head for Mozart’s Wife by Juliet Waldron before I was halfway through reading the novel. In my opinion, it’s that good--a strong six stars out of five. This is no Hollywood stereotype with a happy prince charming ending although that also happens--sort of.
. . .There are no devils here. There are no angels either. There are only real, flesh and blood people. If you want an entertaining trip to discover Mozart, the man behind the music, your journey ends here. This novel delivers. Mozart’s Wife is a story that had me laughing, shuddering and exhausted--but satisfied by the end.
In the Library Reviews
“Waldron’s writing is humorous, erotic, and fluid. Her beautiful use of words reveals the delicate, volatile intimacy inherent in marriage. In the antagonist, Waldron characterizes a woman’s quiet (and sometimes not so quiet) struggle to remain the dutiful wife while also protecting her children and herself from her husband’s self-destructive behavior. Mozart’s Wife is a consuming piece that reminds us that all humans, regardless of talent or skill, are within the boundaries of fault and outside the lines of perfection. I highly recommend this wonderful book.
“This is a multi-faceted novel which brilliantly joins the nomenclature of both the romantic and historical fiction. . . I would highly recommend this novel to lovers of music, lovers of
history, and just plain lovers.”
M. J. Rose
Author of In Fidelity and Lip Service
“A prize winning, well researched novel that takes the reader on a
fascinating journey back in time.”
Based on original sources, including family letters and scholarly biographies, Mozart’s Wife is a fascinating work of historical fiction, an entertaining and sometimes erotic look at a remarkable woman who earned the lifelong love of one of history’s most remarkable men.”
Sime~Gen Historical Reviews
“Mozart’s Wife is a story of love, jealousy, grief,
and most importantly -- forgiveness. A fast-paced read, Ms. Waldron has
exquisite, smooth flowing prose . . . . a must read . . . . ”
Director, “Between Us” Manuscript Assessment Service
Author of Treason
“Juliet Waldron’s Mozart’s Wife is a rare delight: a highly intelligent, sensitively written and unputdownable book . . . ”
The Blue Iris Journal
“Juliet Waldron brings Constanze and her wayward genius of a spouse to vivid life. She avoids the pitfall of the biographical novelist by refusing to make one or the other of them a villain, and her insights into character are extraordinary.”
founder of eBooks Rock!
In the tradition of such wonderful novels as Jane Eyre, Little Women, and Gone With The Wind, Juliet Waldron has penned a masterpiece in Mozart’s Wife. Although many would wonder what four novels, different in style and period, would have in common -- These are the stories that came to my mind as I read Mozart’s Wife.”
“Mozart’s Wife is a literary treat for history and music lovers alike.”