Vivaldi's Lost Concerto is inspired by the 2010 discovery of a Vivaldi flute concerto in the archives of a medieval Scottish Abbey and is an historical mystery with a contemporary parallel story, intertwining romantic settings with clear eyed social realism.
Having survived a brutal prison term Fiona Sinclair, a recovering drug addict, begins the road to recovery, clinging desperately to one fragile link to her past - the music of Scotland. Given a battered flute by her music therapist, Teresa, Fiona begins to build the confidence she needs to become the woman she wants to be. By chance she hears a flute concerto that has only recently been discovered and is stunned to realise she already knows the tune.
Her research takes her, and the reader, into the desperate and dangerous lives of Vivaldi's housekeeper Paolina Giro, who is also his secret lover, and Lord Robert Kerr, the purchaser of the concerto - a gay man trying to escape his father's brutal demands that he fight against his fellow country men - the Jacobites.
The novel is a mystery about love, music and family secrets. Set in romantic locations, it explores the lives of marginalised groups such as prisoners, isolated women and gay men, through themes of desperation and hope, isolation and friendship. A soundtrack of baroque and traditional Scottish music weaves through the novel, celebrating the healing power of music. It will appeal to readers of Kate Morton, Geraldine Brooks, Tracy Chevalier and Diana Gabaldon.
Although this isn’t my usual genre, I just thoroughly enjoyed this adult fiction novel. It has a historic mystery at its heart, but is really more of a character growth journey, intersected by fascinating historical chapters about Vivaldi and a lost piece of music.
The history explored in this novel is very fascinating (one of my favourite things about historical fiction is learning about an era I don’t have much knowledge on). A lot of it is very sad, and I found the figure of Robert Kerr particularly so, especially that final chapter featuring him, it was very beautifully written and haunting. History is not kind, it is brutal.
I also liked the modern sections a lot, they were fascinating, dealing very honestly with very gritty subject matter (scary women’s prisons and a young woman trying to turn away from the life of a repeat offender).
I really loved it. It was beautifully written, a heavy topic that really impacted me and got under my skin.
Great story about a young woman, Fiona, who is trying to get back on her feet after a stint in prison. With no family close by and the system seeming to be against her, it is Vivaldi's music which helps ground her and allow her to discover her roots. The story is interwoven with the story of Vivaldi's lost concerto, not only how it came to be found in an Edinbourgh archive, but also how it came to be known to Fiona's family. I really enjoyed this book!
This book kept me reading. The characters were well developed and the plot which combined a contemporary and historical story was cleverly written. I liked the settings in both Venice and Scotland. The author’s love of music and history was evident but not intrusive. Readers of Kate Morton and Dianne Galbaldon will enjoy this book.