The Orphan’s Song

Written by Lauren Kate
Review by Jo Ann Butler

Venice in 1734 is a skilled singer’s wonderland. Operas, theaters, parties large and small; all cry out for musicians, and the best are richly lauded, just as they are today. Fourteen-year-old Violetta is as lucky as an orphan can be, for she has the gift of song, and trained for all of her life. The Incurables orphanage is celebrated across Europe for its coro, a brilliant women’s choir. This is the day Violetta auditions for the group. Fame lies ahead if she is accepted; a life of drudgery if she fails. Even if she succeeds, Violetta must swear to never sing anywhere but with the coro.

Nervous about the outcome of her audition, she makes a forbidden escape to the orphanage’s roof, where she meets Mino, a lanky blond boy about Violetta’s age on his own illicit outing. She tells him that her name is Letta. Mino has come to the roof to practice violin in secret. The self-trained lad plays beautifully and is the perfect partner for Letta’s soaring soprano. They practice together, and dream of performing together in the brilliant salons of Venice.

Lauren Kate presents lucky readers with The Orphan’s Song, a multi-layered quest Letta and Mino undertake – love, freedom, success, and their unknown parents. Will they find what they want, and can they hold onto it? Ms. Kate teases us along with her lush depictions of Venice and the spirited relationship between the star-crossed couple. The Orphan’s Song keeps us guessing until the end, but we are richly rewarded along the way.