Evangelizing through the Catholic Arts

Playing by Heart, by Carmela Martino – Book Review

Playing by HeartIn Playing by Heart, by Carmela Martino, we meet two gifted sisters. The story,  set in 1730’s, Milan, Italy, introduces us to Maria, a gifted linguist, mathematician and speaker. Her sister, Emilia, excels at playing and composing music, as well as singing. Where Maria shines in knowledge of the sciences, Emilia glistens in the arts. In 1730’s Italy, it was rare to come across educated females.

We find that the girls father’s long held desire to gain a noble title, drives the entire story; propelling the girls into situations that a young lady of the 21st century would never need to confront. In the 1730’s, for example, parents arranged the marriages of their children. Young ladies had little to no say about who they would spend the remainder of their lives with as a wife. They found themselves married in their late teens. So, Maria and Emilia were approaching the age when their father would desire to marry them off to suitable husbands. Yet, Maria wants to become a nun. Emilia wants to pursue a musical career and marry a young man, not of noble stature.

Playing by Heart brings God into the Story

What are the girls to do, when their father is set in his ways? Is there any hope for Maria and Emilia to each achieve their own dreams?  Will God intercede on their behalf and make what seems impossible, possible? Will the love for God, in Maria’s case, conquer all? Might Emilia’s love for her suitor conquer all? Or will the girls be required to obey their father and follow his wishes?

In this beautifully crafted historical novel, Martino shows us richly created characters who embrace self-giving love for God and others.  When I finished reading this book, I stopped for a moment and questioned my own thinking. “Could I be that self-giving for the love of another?” I pray I’m never given that test. In all honesty, I don’t know if I could be as self-giving as the protagonist in this novel, Emilia Salvini.

This novel is also educational in that Martino, peppers the story with Italian phrases and words. Lucky for me, though, she provided Italian translations to English, in the back of the book. So, I learned a little Italian, while reading this story – Bonus! Then, Martino shows her command of classical music with the usage of musical terminology throughout the story. So, in addition to learning Italian, I also learned a bit about classical music – Extra Bonus!

Get Your Copy of Playing by Heart

If you enjoy reading historical fiction and want to learn a little more about classical music, and Italian, then I am 100% certain that you will enjoy reading this multiple award-winning story about self-giving love. You can get your copy of Playing by Heart by clicking here.

This post was shared with My Scribbler’s Heart Blog and CatholicMom.com.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy of my book, Adventures of Faith, Hope and Charity: Finding Patience, then click here.

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