For those who don't follow my twitter or tumblr (which I suspect it a large number of people) the past couple of times when I've gone to the library I've just grabbed a ton of books, quite possibly more than I'll have a chance to read this summer! And whenever I do this there will be a number of books in my pile, once I've gotten past the top of the pile with all the books I've wanted to read for a while, where I look at them and go "huh, this could be interesting but I'm not completely sure why I picked this up." Sometimes I end up really liking these books and other times, well, they fail to leave an impression.
The Musician's Daughter by Susanne Dunlap
Summary: Theresa Maria's father is a court musician in 18th century Vienna and when he's murdered one night she realizes that there was much more to him than that. She then sets out, questioning everyone she knows, about why her father died and what happened to his precious violin in the process?
The Good: This is certainly a setting I haven't seen before, there have been many times when I've seen people complain that so many books (usually fantasy, which this isn't) are set in Europe and I feel like they're being too generous. Austria lies in the middle of Europe and even then that's too far away for many stories to be set, literature is in some ways fascinatingly limited and it's sad that even a setting like this which I've at least heard of from my history classes is almost exotic (especially since they didn't use as much as I think they should have). And on that note I found the underlying plot, regarding freedom for the serfs and land for the Romani, interesting and want to read more (nonfiction) about all of that which is for me what I hope to get out of every historical fiction I read, a renewed interest in perusing history especially history which I'm unfamiliar with.
The Bad: I'm not exactly sure how a book that had intrigue, action, and multiple little climaxes managed it but I found this book just a bit dull. Perhaps it's because I also found Theresa Maria to be a bit of a bland protagonist, yes she was smart enough to be able to keep up with (and was largely unsurprised by) the political machinations that have crept into her life and brave enough to try and save those close to her but she like most of the rest of the book just failed to leave an impression on me. The pacing did feel a little off as well, that there were too many events happening in such a short span of time to feel believable and perhaps if some of the plotting had been simplified to build up the world and Theresa Maria more that would have made the book stronger.
In the end I can only give this book 2.5 out of 5 stars since it was really that dull, even if I want to read more about the time period because I want to read about that since I've never read about it before, not because of how it was portrayed in the book.