Imagine a good soap opera (that’s not an oxymoron).
Now imagine that it’s set in the seventeenth century.
And that it’s really, really well written.
You’d be thinking of Rose Tremain’s Music & Silence, wouldn’t you?!
Hidden gold, hidden pregnancies, hidden letters, hidden affairs. Lovers kept apart, scheming mother-in-laws, debts paid with talented lutenists, and vials of poison kept at hand – seriously, this book has it all.
And so I reflect that sometimes, because this Society is mired up in a slurry of Lies and Pretence, the most efficacious way of making a Bargain is to Pretend that one has in one’s Possession that very Thing which one does not have.
And while I’m starting to think that the screen writers for Bold & the Beautiful simply plundered the history of the Danish royal family for material, rather than coming up with anything original, there’s nothing melodramatic about Music & Silence. Which is astounding given what I have said about all the hidden stuff… But perhaps not – after all, Tremain is a talented writer.
The story focuses on the end of King Christian’s second marriage to Kirsten Munk (who was a truly glorious character), at a time when Christian declares that his English lutenist, Peter Claire, is his guardian angel. Alas, Peter has fallen in love with Emilia Tilsen, one of Kirsten’s companions, and loyalties in the palace are divided. While Peter and Emilia have a Romeo-and-Juliet-style-affair, numerous sub-plots keep the story moving at a clip. Every single element is thrilling.
You could read this story ‘deeply’, reflecting on the themes stated in the title (there’s thinking to be done about what nourishes the soul) but it’s difficult not to get carried away by this historical page-turner. I say just tear through it and delight over every lavish (and lascivious) detail.
4/5 A ripper.
I live very simply. I eat fish from the Sound. – Queen Sofie, who, despite her riches eats local flounder every night.
As part of the 20 Books of Summer reading challenge, I’m comparing the Belfast summer and Melburnian winter. The results for the day I finished this book (June 24): Belfast 7°-24° and Melbourne 9°-14°.