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  • Writer's pictureNZ Booklovers

A Secret Never to Be Told by Lynn John

Updated: Jun 1, 2023

This page-turning novel starts with a fascinating premise. What if Mozart faked his death in 1791 and he lived on? In the opening chapters the reader finds Mozart doing precisely that, so he can live with the woman he loves, Magdalena, and so he can free himself from his debts and his unhappy marriage. But he can’t live without continuing to compose, so he reinvents himself some years later as the Maestro and begins composing music with the young composer Gioacchino Rossini, who in real life wrote 39 operas in 19 years.

The author is an opera singer, and he was inspired to write this book after a colleague, Eliano Mattiozzi, had studied Gioacchino Rossini’s operas and found too many similarities to Mozart’s work to be ignored. He made the bold claim that Mozart had faked his death and had worked with Gioacchino Rossini in secret, and he challenged the author to write their story. That started Lynn John on a two-year journey of researching Eliano’s startling claim.

A Secret Never to Be Told imagines this premise very successfully and brings to life the performers and composers of opera in this era. Be prepared for bawdy humour, intrigue and betrayal that mimic the humour and subversive nature of Mozart’s operas. It’s a fast-paced tale of passion, tragedy, divas and egos, but at the heart of the novel is always the music, which soars throughout the story to a satisfying crescendo before fading away to applause.

A definite must-read for any lover of opera.

Reviewer: Karen McMillan

Filament Publishing


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