Gustav Klimt gave Alma her first kiss. Gustav Mahler fell in love with her at first sight and proposed only a few weeks later. Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius abandoned all reason to pursue her. Poet and novelist Franz Werfel described her as “one of the very few ...more
Ecstasy by Mary Sharratt is a 2018 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt publication.
This story is a fictionalized accounting of composer and pianist Alma Schindler’s life during the period she was married to famed composer Gustav Mahler. As a condition of her marriage, Alma promised her husband, she would give up her own music and channel all her passion for music through his compositions and successes, which eventually takes her down the path of depression and melancholy, and into the arms of another ma ...more
Alma’s mother was pregnant with Alma ‘before’ she married her famous painter father, Jakob Schindler. She tells Alma that she ‘had’ to get married. Alma was in love with a man named Alex Zeminsky - a ...more
(Last vacation review, I promise! 😉)
In college, I had a poster of Klimt’s painting, The Kiss, hanging on my dorm room wall. It was sultry and magical. My love for art and art history was sparked by my beloved high school art teacher. I think she saw a lack of confidence in me, and in retrospect, I feel she took every opportunity to bring that out. I yearn for books about art as a result, especially in my favorite genre, historical fiction. All of that to sa ...more
Just think of what Alma Schindler could have achieved if she was born decades later when a woman could be much more than a wife and a mother. She dreamed ...more
Alma is beautiful, passionate and independent-minded, fond of poetry, drama and literature and a talented pianist. She also shows a talent for composition and harbours an ambition to be recognised as a composer of her own music. However, she is prevented from following her dreams by the constraints of society and the expectations placed on ...more
I knew, from the previous novels of Sharratt's that I've read (the astounding Illuminations and fascinating The Dark Lady's Mask ) that I would love Ecstasy -- even though I feared the story of Alma Mahler's life would frustrate me. However, I should have trusted that Sharratt would somehow manage to make me not just enraptured of/with Alma but also the people in her life, including the frustrating Gustave Mahler.
Alma Schindler is beautiful and clever, growing up in Vienna's glittering world ...more
Well, the cover isn't bad, & the prelude was good. Struggled to get through the 1st chapter. Unconsciously started hard skimming the thing somewhere after the middle of the 2nd chapter, & gave up during the 3rd chapter. I set it down after the 1st chapter hoping it would be better when I came back to it, but obviously that didn't pan out.
I hate the protagonist. The writing was unclear & tedious. I also didn't real...more
Unfortunately this was too heavy on the romance for me to enjoy it. I can’t stand to read about talented women who only talk about men, men, men.
I understand Alma was young and maybe a bit naive but she had like 5 possible love interests in the first 25% of this book. Maybe calm down? She just ended up looking confused and unsure of herself as an artist.
Alma, the main character, has a very strong female voice. I would really say that feminism is one important theme in this ...more
I loved everything about the Historical Fiction novel “Ecstasy” by Mary Sharratt. The timeline for this story is the turn of the century, when the various forms of the arts show changes. The story goes to the past and to the future when it pertains to the characters or events. The story takes place in Vienna, Austria, Europe, and and New York
Mary Sharratt describes her characters as complicated and complex. Many are talented and artistic in many ways. This ...more
You may have heard me say this before but one of the things that I like about historical fiction the most is that it often looks at people and their lives ...more
I signed up for the blog tour of Ecstasy because the synopsis sounded incredible and right up my alley. In the last year I've become really intrigued with books set in the early 20th century, especially if the setting is in Vienna and if the story revolves around a real woman in history like Alma. She definitely wasn't a perfect character. She had her flaws and problems but even so I hadn't expect ...more
Unfortunately the tale of Alma Mahler (nee Schindler) was anything but atypical. She succumbed to the pressures of her position and ...more
Previously she lived for twelve years in Germany. This, along with her interest in sacred music and herbal medic ...more