In the glittering hotbed of turn-of-the-twentieth-century Vienna, one womans life would define and defy an era Gustav Klimt gave Alma her first kiss. Gustav Mahler fell in love with her at first sight and proposed only a few weeks later. Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius abandoned all reason to pursue her. Poet and novelist Franz Werfel described her as one of the very few magical women that exist. But who was this woman who brought these most eminent of men to their knees? In Ecstasy, Mary Sharratt finally gives one of the most controversial and complex women of her time the center stage. Coming of age in the midst of a creative and cultural whirlwind, young, beautiful Alma Schindler yearns to make her mark as a composer. A brand-new era of possibility for women is dawning and she is determined to make the most of it. But Alma loses her heart to the great composer Gustav Mahler, nearly twenty years her senior. He demands that she give up her music as a condition for their marriage. Torn by her love and in awe of his genius, how will she remain true to herself and her artistic passion?Part cautionary tale, part triumph of the feminist spirit, Ecstasy reveals the true Alma Mahler: composer, author, daughter, sister, mother, wife, lover, and muse....
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Alma is beautiful, passionate and independent-minded, fond of poetry, drama and literature and a talented pianist. She also shows a talent for composition and harbours an ambition to be recognised as a composer of her own music. However, she is prevented from following her dreams by the constraints of society and the expectations placed on ...more
“Let’s raise our glasses to Alma Maria Schindler, Fran Zuckerandl said, who has turned the rest of us poor women emerald with envy. Not only is she the most beautiful girl in Vienna, and that’s quite bad enough, she’s also a brilliant pianist. That’s infuriating. But on top of it all, she composes!”
Alma’s mother was pregnant with Alma ‘before’ she married her famous painter father, Jakob Schindler. She tells Alma that she ‘had’ to get married. Alma was in love with a man named Alex Zeminsky - a ...more
Seeking to supplement a famous man's public persona with intimate detail, authors of historical fiction often choose the man's wife to narrate his story. It's not often that the woman herself has the potential to rival her husband's brilliance, but such is the situation Mary Sharratt explores in her latest novel, ECSTASY (HMHBooks, April 2018). Written from the close third-person perspective of Alma Schindler Mahler, wife of composer Gustav Mahler and a gifted composer in her own right, ECSTASY ...more
I received this book from Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours.
Alma Mahler was a very interesting woman. She was ambitious in a time and place that did not reward that in upper class white women. She wanted to be a composer but was told that she couldn't if she wanted to marry the man she wanted.
This book does a good job of highlighting the mental cost of requiring a woman to be a wife and mother if that is not their desire. Her depression and their martial troubles in the face of his refusal ...more
“Don’t you know that another person can also be a paradise?” Our protagonist Alma asks us in reference to her relationships with men. This book relates the story of Alma Maria Schindler-Mahler, admired by Gustav Klimt and Gustav Mahler. She is a strong female lead in an era of not very strong female characters. I greatly enjoyed the insight into the mind of a working composer and could tell that this novel was very closely researched in depth.
The descriptions were rich and transporting, and as ...more
At the turn of the twentieth-century, one woman will defy all odds and define The Arts as no one before her has. Alma, a nineteen year old, living in Vienna, with dreams of becoming a composer. Unheard of during this particular time period, especially for a woman, she turns herself inside out in order to make her mark on the world. The torment, the challenges, the euphoria, sadness and romance; all a part of her as she fights to hold onto her family, her loves, herself.
This historical fiction i ...more
Mary Sharratt’s Ecstasy is a compelling novel that immediately entrances the reader into the life of Alma Schindler. Alma is a talented fledgling composer in Vienna in the early 1900’s. Her parents wish to marry her off to a man that meets their standards while Alma searches for a passionate love in the music world. She meets Gustav Mahler, a well-known composer and they have a whirlwind romance. However, he requires that she give up all aspirations of becoming a published composer. The book det ...more
I love a good book about a strong woman, especially ones from history. Alma was a very interesting woman to read about, but I felt at times that the author could have done more to illuminate her inner life. I was still fascinated and definitely went on to look her up for even more information about her.