The Musician’s Daughter
Eighteenth-century Vienna: Amid the glamour of musical court life, fifteen-year-old Theresa Maria must solve the brutal murder of her father, an acclaimed violinist. Who stole his violin, and why was he found near a Gypsy encampment, wearing a valuable pendant Theresa has never seen before? Her quest for answers soon puts her in the middle of an ongoing battle between serf sympathizers and the Hungarian nobility.
JLG Release: Feb 2009
Praise & Reviews
Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, Booklist, The Horn Book Guide, Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal, Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)
Junior Library Guild
After her father’s murde The Musician’s Daughter succeeds in part because it takes full advantage of its setting and time period, tying every plot point to a historical character or event. The result is a thrilling look at eighteenth-century Viennese life—from its lowest classes to its highest, from its sewers to its palaces.
After her father’s murder, Theresa learns that he had been acting as a spy in an attempt to end the persecution of serfs and secure them legal aid. Theresa volunteers for a series of dangerous assignments for his underground resistance group, a role which requires her to flirt with a depraved general, dress as a boy, and interact with Viennese royalty. Along the way, she discovers her father’s killer and completes her father’s last assignment—to bring to Emperor Joseph II papers documenting the mistreatment of serfs.
Young musicians will find The Musician’s Daughter particularly fascinating for its descriptions of Theresa’s godfather, Joseph Haydn, and his composition process. They’ll also appreciate Theresa’s own love for music; when she plays the viola, she relates to the instrument as her “other, deeper voice.”
By the novel’s end, Theresa reflects that she has managed to stay faithful to everything her father held dear: “justice, fairness—and most of all music.” Susanne Dunlap’s novel keeps faith with these values as well.
5 1/16" x 7 3/4"
Level 6.5; Points: 13;
Scholastic Reading Counts
Level 7.4; Points: 19;
Potentially Sensitive Areas
Death, Loss, Missing items, Mysteries, Funerals, Family, Godfathers, Family finances, Violins, Music, Humiliation, Vision problems, Gypsies, Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809), Rich relatives, Publishing contracts, Practical jokes, Dressmakers, Spies, Serfdom, Going to a ball, Prostitution, Kidnapping, Imprisonment, Sewers, Escape, Guns, Girls dressing as boys, Armed attacks, Disguises, Role playing, Court cases, Appeals, Archduchess Maria Theresa of Austria (1717-1780), Public executions, Stays of execution, Joseph II of Austria (1741-1790), Evidence, Vindication,