Playing by Heart
CATHOLIC WRITERS GUILD SEAL OF APPROVAL
CATHOLIC ARTS & LETTER AWARD
MOONBEAM AWARDS GOLD MEDALIST
OUTSTANDING YOUNG ADULT AWARD--INDEPENDENT AUTHORS NETWORK
She can compose anything...except the life she wants.
Emilia Salvini dreams of marrying a man who loves music as much as she does. But in 18th-century Milan, being the "second sister" means she'll likely be sent to a convent instead. Emilia's only hope is to prove her musical talents crucial to her father's quest for nobility. First, though, she must win over her music tutor, who disdains her simply for being a girl.
But before she can carry out her plan, a tragedy sends the family into mourning. In her sorrow, Emilia composes a heartrending sonata that causes the maestro to finally recognize her talent. He begins teaching her music theory alongside Antonio Bellini, the arrogant great-nephew of a wealthy marquis. Emilia's feelings toward her rival gradually change as she strives to outdo him.
But just when her dreams seem within reach, Emilia learns that her success could destroy not only her future but her sister's life.
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Martino's romantic read features lovable characters and is vibrant in setting and detail. . . . The book is filled with rich depictions of houses and clothing, allowing readers to clearly picture the historical settings of both Milan and the countryside. The attraction between Emilia and Antonio is sweet and innocent, and readers will hope for their relationship to blossom. All in all, Martino's latest is a sweet and pleasurable read.--Booklist
Martino explores the gilded passageways of Hapsburg-era Milan's white aristocracy with technically accomplished descriptions of privilege, luxury, and teenage longing.--Kirkus Reviews
Playing by Heart is a lyrical story that captures the reader from the first page. Authentic, strong character voice, rich and detailed historical setting, and an intriguing plot all come together to create a can't-put-it-down book. The novel provides a look into the fascinating world of 18th-century Italy in a way that no history book ever could. The fact that it is based on the lives of extraordinary real women who were quite ahead of their time makes it a must-read addition for school libraries everywhere.--Roxanne F. Owens, PhD, Chair, Teacher Education, DePaul University