Books · Read in 2022 · Reviews

Book Thoughts: Music & Silence (Rose Tremain)

Greed and desire in 17th century Europe


Title: Music & Silence
Author: Rose Tremain
 Fiction / Historical Fiction
First published: 1999
Edition: Paperback, published by Vintage in 2020

Peter Claire is an English lutenist summoned to Denmark to join King Christian IV’s royal orchestra. Designated the king’s “Angel” because of the purity of his physical beauty, Peter falls helplessly in love with the lovely companion of Queen Kirsten, the king’s adulterous wife. The young musician finds himself dangerously torn between loyalties, ensnared in the deep-seated unrest of a royal court where the forces of good and evil, of harmony and dissonance, are ensconced in a battle to the death.


I had meant to read this one for a while, but did not pick it up until this month. As I closed the book after the last page I searched my brain how I felt about and I think it is one of those novels that will take a little while to truly form an opinion on.

For now I will say I enjoyed it, even if part of it left unsavoury taste in my mouth. Not because the content is shocking or unsavoury, more that there are quite a few characters in this book that are either unlikable, have mental health issues, or are simply not the most pleasant characters to follow. Now, I don’t mind this generally, but here it felt both at times very clever and sometimes just not quite necessary.

I enjoyed the setting in 17th century Europe and the writing really is very good. If you asked me what this book was about, I would say it was about greed and desire and a little about love. Just a little.

I would recommend this one for sure and I would read more by this author. I am just not quite sure whether I truly loved it yet. Come back to me in a few weeks.

5 out of 7 stars

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