Lori's Reviews > The Bells

The Bells by Richard Harvell
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's review
Mar 28, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: historical-fiction, read-in-2010, travel-the-world, all-time-favorites, audio
Recommended to Lori by: Books on the Nightstand
Read in December, 2010

This was another wonderful recommendation from Books on the Nightstand. I'll not go into much detail laying out the general storyline because you can read that elsewhere and it just doesn't adequately prepare you for what an amazing jewel this book is. The description from the Goodreads summary reveals that the main character, "was born in a belfry high in the Swiss Alps where his mother served as the keeper of the loudest and most beautiful bells in the land. Shaped by the bells’ glorious music, as a boy he possessed an extraordinary gift for sound. But when his preternatural hearing was discovered—along with its power to expose the sins of the church—young Moses Froben was cast out of his village with only his ears to guide him in a world fraught with danger."

This story delves into the world of Europe's celebrated Opera houses from centuries past as well as the unique existence of the castrati, young boys routinely castrated in order to maintain their angelic voices. See, you just winced just like my husband did when I mentioned that, didn't you?

I listened to this one and found the production quality and narration excellent. This is a story along the lines of "Amadeus" that completely and wonderfully immerses you in this very foreign world. I am a music lover, especially classical, and even though opera is not my favorite musical venue, this made me long for a good aria. I have read on other forums that there are complete lists of all of the music that is so beautifully mentioned in this book. I am familiar with some but not all of the music listed here and seeking out the rest of the musical selections are now on my "to do" list.

This is a beautifully told, lyrical story that I found immensely satisfying.
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