Friday, April 13, 2018

Book Review and Giveaway - Ecstasy by Mary Sharratt

Book Synopsis
In the glittering hotbed of turn-of-the-twentieth century Vienna, one woman’s life would define and defy an era.

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 magical women that exist.” But who was this woman who brought these most eminent of men to their knees? In Ecstasy, Mary Sharratt finally gives one of the most controversial and complex women of her time center stage.

Coming of age in the midst of a creative and cultural whirlwind, young, beautiful Alma Schindler yearns to make her mark as a composer. A brand new era of possibility for women is dawning and she is determined to make the most of it. But Alma loses her heart to the great composer Gustav Mahler, nearly twenty years her senior. He demands that she give up her music as a condition for their marriage. Torn by her love and in awe of his genius, how will she remain true to herself and her artistic passion?

Part cautionary tale, part triumph of the feminist spirit, Ecstasy reveals the true Alma Mahler: composer, daughter, sister, mother, wife, lover, and muse.

Available in Hardcover & eBook:

Amazon | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | Indiebound


Also in AudioBook:

Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million


My Review
Ecstasy tells the story of Alma Schindler, a celebrated beauty in Fin-de-Siecle Vienna.  She was a gifted pianist and composer, and she was also sought after by many prominent men.  She had a passionate flirtation with Gustav Klimt and a romance with Alexander Zemlinsky.  Then she met composer Gustav Mahler.  They had a whirlwind romance and he wanted to marry her immediately -- with the condition that she stop composing and live as his muse.  This novel is her story.

First, I have to start with the cover -- this is one of the most beautiful novels I have seen.  I wanted to read it from the very first glimpse of the cover art.  

I love Gustav Klimt's art but knew very little of his life, and the mention of his name in association with this novel made me curious about it.  I only knew the basics about Gustav Mahler, and I am sorry to say I had not heard of Alma Schindler Mahler before reading this novel. 

I found Ecstasy a fascinating read.  Alma Schindler found ecstasy in composing but she wanted to find joy in a romantic relationship too.  I loved the early chapters that set the groundwork for this story -- the passion Alma felt for music and her excitement about life.  

Gustav Mahler was a strong, controlling figure.  I often found him difficult, especially in light of the decisions that Alma felt compelled to make.  I realize, though, that their story was a product of the time.  At the time she lived, it was difficult for a woman to have both a rich creative life and a traditional family.  

This is a long novel but it is such an engrossing read that it flies by quickly.  The historical details are beautifully told and Mary Sharratt does a fine job at balancing a large cast of characters.  

I found Ecstasy a compelling and rewarding read, and I recommend it highly for other fans of historical fiction.

Author Bio
Mary Sharratt is an American writer who has lived in the Pendle region of Lancashire, England, for the past seven years. The author of the critically acclaimed novels Summit Avenue, The Real Minerva, and The Vanishing Point, Sharratt is also the co-editor of the subversive fiction anthology Bitch Lit, a celebration of female antiheroes, strong women who break all the rules.

Her novels include Summit Avenue, The Real Minera, The Vanishing Point, The Daughters of Witching Hill, Illuminations, and The Dark Lady’s Mask.

For more information, please visit Mary Sharratt’s website. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away a paperback copy of Ecstasy! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.  

Giveaway Rules 
– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on May 18th. 
-- You must be 18 or older to enter. 
– Giveaway is open to US residents only. 
– Only one entry per household. 
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion. 
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen. 

1 comment:

Amy Bruno said...

Thanks so much for hosting Mary's blog tour & for your excellent review! I am so happy that you enjoyed ECSTASY!

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