Title: The Orphan’s Song
Author: Lauren Kate
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Free ARC from G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Note: As stated under the Source (above), I received this book for free from G.P. Putnam’s Sons via the publisher. I pride myself on writing fair and honest reviews.
The historical adult debut novel by # 1 New York Timesbestselling author Lauren Kate, The Orphan’s Song is a sweeping love story about family and music–and the secrets each hold–that follows the intertwined fates of two Venetian orphans.
“A tangled knot of betrayal and love, lies and redemption. Marvelous.” –Fiona Davis, author of The Address
A song brought them together.
A secret will tear them apart.
Venice, 1736. When fate brings Violetta and Mino together on the roof of the Hospital of the Incurables, they form a connection that will change their lives forever. Both are orphans at the Incurables, dreaming of escape. But when the resident Maestro notices Violetta’s voice, she is selected for the Incurables’ world famous coro, and must sign an oath never to sing beyond its church doors.
After a declaration of love ends in heartbreak, Mino flees the Incurables in search of his family. Known as the “city of masks,” Venice is full of secrets, and Mino is certain one will lead to his long-lost mother. Without him, the walls close in on Violetta and she begins a dangerous and forbidden nightlife, hoping her voice can secure her freedom. But neither finds what they are looking for, until a haunting memory Violetta has suppressed since childhood leads them to a shocking confrontation.
Vibrant with the glamour and beauty of Venice at its zenith, The Orphan’s Song takes us on a breathtaking journey of passion, heartbreak, and betrayal before it crescendos to an unforgettable ending, a celebration of the enduring nature and transformative power of love.
Lauren Kate wrote one of my favorite YA fantasy series, Fallen. When I was offered the chance to read her first adult novel, I was 100% on board and SUPER excited. And I was NOT disappointed!
It was no surprise that she nailed the relationship building and chemistry between the characters. Kate is a master at writing love stories, the kind that you feel not just in your heart, but in the very marrow of your bones. It is impossible to not want the main characters together, until Kate reminds us that love comes in many forms, and that some love, though fleeting, is powerful enough to not only heal us, but shape us.
If you love a good love story (and I do believe there is a distinction between love stories and the romance genre), this story is for you.
What did surprise me is how much I enjoyed the historical setting of the story. Set in Venice, Italy, starting at an orphanage called the Incurables, a great deal of history about such orphanages is gleaned, and it’s fascinating stuff. I myself have taken a bit of a break from historical fiction as it all seems to revolve around the World Wars and at some point, they all start to read the same. But Italian orphanages in the 1700’s is new territory and my hunger for historical fiction is renewed.
My one complaint is the cover. The covers for her YA series Fallen are gorgeous and wholly representative of the story, so I was surprised to see such an unappealing cover on The Orphan’s Song. It actually made me second guess reading the book because it’s so schmaltzy and just…not a cover that says “Myndi, this book is for you!” And that’s too bad because the book is really good and definitely worth reading. So, from one cover snob to another, in this case, don’t judge a book by its cover (unless, of course, you love the cover and then…judge away!).
Ultimately, I would categorize this book as a love story first, and then historical fiction, but if you like either, I believe you’ll enjoy The Orphan’s Song. I certainly did.