Tuesday, 14 January 2020

New Release Spotlight & Review: The Violinist's Apprentice by Isabella Mancini

The Violinist’s Apprentice by Isabella Mancini
A dark journey through time.

It’s on a group trip to Rome that something terrifying and mysterious happens, whirling musical Clementina back in time to 17th century Italy. Amidst court intrigue and creaking carriages, Rome becomes a chiaroscuro backdrop to her growing feelings for young violin-maker Antonio Stradivari. But soon he discovers that Clementina is not all she appears. She must surely be a witch.  How can she return to the 21st century again? Meanwhile, in an icy corner of the Arctic, a professor plots.

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Clementina (Tina) McBride is sceptical about going on a school trip to Rome. She doesn't want to leave her sick brother behind but is pursued by her Italian mother to accept the chance to visit the country of her birth. Strangely, before going on her adventure she's given an amulet by her teacher Mr Verdigris to wear at all time especially during the trip… what does this mean?

Captivating, I adored Clementina's time in 17th-century Rome. The author's paints a vivid picture of the Italian city at the time as I learned about young Antonio Stradivari. As someone familiar with the city, I appreciate the depth of detail Ms Mancini put into the narrative and finished this novel more knowledgeable than before.

My favourite aspect of this time-slip novel is when the story's based in Rome, simply because the plot's self-contained. The tentative relationship between Antonio and Tina, their innocent first love attraction highlights how differently such meetings were conducted in times gone by. Therefore, seeing 21st-century Tina through Antonio's 17th-century eyes is delightful.

The contemporary scenes are less appealing except for when the plot shifts to the Arctic settlement where Salem is trying to acquire items from the seven wonders of the world. His objective is to solve environmental problems on earth. However, binding this plot-line, the time-slip and Clementine's home life together made the reading pleasure initially frustrating when the author is setting the scenes. Yet overall, it's still a fascinating original novel, laced with rich historical detail and 21st century issues.

***arc generously received courtesy of Darkstroke/Crooked Cat Books via Rachel's Random Resources***
Isabella Mancini is the nom de plume of prolific author Olga Swan, published by Crooked Cat Books. She has a BA Hons (Open) in English Language and Literature and a lifelong love for writing and language. For 12 years she lived in SW France, but returned to the UK in 2017, where she now lives in the West Midlands with her husband and elderly French rescue dog Bruno.

An Englishwoman in America
From Paradis to Perdition
Pensioners in Paradis
The Mazurek Express
3rd Degree Murder
Facebook Group: Books, Music and the Past
Amazon page for Olga Swan:
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