Saturday, September 7, 2013

Saturday Spotlight: Aloha, Mozart

 Aloha, Mozart  

This post is part of a book tour hosted by Novel Publicity.

Aloha, Mozart by Waimea Williams 
Publisher: Luminis Books 
Publication date: 11/12/2012
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction

Maile Manoa is a sixth grader in Kauai when she first hears opera music.  The sounds that emanate from the scratchy vinyl record are initially foreign and unsettling, yet they deeply resonate in her soul. 

Maile, who has been singing since early childhood, dreams of a life in music.  As she matures, the girl with the beautiful voice takes the first step toward achieving her goal by convincing her impoverished family to invest in her education and support her decision to leave her island home. Thus begins a relentless quest that transports Maile halfway around the world.

Traveling alone, first to New York City and then to Salzburg, Maile embarks upon the training required to become a world-class soprano.  Along the way, she discovers that talent alone is not enough to establish herself on the world stage.  In the musical community of 1960s Salzburg, where the ghosts of Mozart and Hitler uneasily coexist, gossip and dangerous liaisons have the power to make or break careers.  Maile faces formidable challenges, as issues of racism, classism, politics, and betrayal stand in the way of her success.  Is Maile willing to compromise her principles and relinquish her soul in exchange for the fame and fortune she seeks?  Will music ultimately be her salvation or her downfall?

I found this debut novel totally captivating and was rooting for Maile from the start.  Aloha, Mozart presents a fascinating look at the life of an artist and the price of fame.  Through well-developed characters, Williams captures the driving ambition, the struggle for perfection, and the discipline and sacrifices associated with a career in the arts.  I highly recommend this book to individual readers and book clubs alike.

About the author: Originally from Hawaii, Waimea Williams spent a decade in Austria and Germany as an opera singer and has received fiction awards from Glimmer Train, The Lorian Hemingway Competition, and Salamander Review. She has enjoyed the honor of a writing residency at the Ragdale Foundation, and her short story "Vienna Quartet With Dog" received First Prize from the Charlton Review in 2012. She currently lives near Honolulu. 

Disclosure:  Novel Publicity provided a complimentary copy of  Aloha, Mozart in exchange for an honest review.

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