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Reviewed by Edith Wairimu for Readers' Favorite
Viva Puccini! by Mel Weiser is a captivating historical work of fiction that follows the personal and professional life of the great Italian composer, Giacomo Puccini. Puccini was born in Lucca, Tuscany in 1858 and lost his father at an early age. His mother determined that her son would continue the family’s longstanding music legacy at Puccini’s birth. Early on, he showed little interest in music and his academic studies. However, he began to gain interest in music and continued to excel under the instruction of Carlo Angeloni. Weiser follows Puccini’s growth as he studies in Lucca, and later in Milan. The novel covers accounts of his turbulent domestic life and the creation of his masterpieces which include Tosca, La Bohème, and Madame Butterfly.
Weiser does a remarkable job of showing Puccini’s musical talent and journey as well as his personal life, including his childhood and marriage. The novel is filled with many fascinating turns highlighting Puccini’s musical brilliance and the challenges he endured to produce most of his works. It skillfully paints an authentic picture of Puccini and other included characters. I found Puccini and his childhood friends’ escapades entertaining and the behind-the-scenes glimpses into the creation of his works engrossing. The novel beautifully brings to life Italy’s music scene during the late 18th century, mentioning other famous composers and their works which inspired Puccini. An informative and immersive historical novel that documents the life and achievements of Giacomo Puccini, Viva Puccini! by Mel Weiser is a must-read for all opera lovers. Highly recommended for all readers.