When I originally glanced at the description of this book I missed the fact that it was fact not fiction, I am a voracious reader of novels but find it hard to maintain my interest with non-fiction. Having received an advance reading copy for review though, I had to give it a go; the story starts with the author hearing a violinist play and being incredibly moved by the 'voice' of the violin, happening to speak to him after the event and being allowed to see and hold the violin, which did not in itself hold any particular beauty and bore no craftsman's signature, she still felt compelled to investigate the history of handmade violins and the great names and traditions surrounding this incredibly complicated skill.
The Italian journey starts in Cremona where she learns about Amati, Stradivari et al and is shown workshops where violins are still crafted today. Most of the book covers the history of violin making in general and Italian violins in particular but towards the end of the book does make an effort to find the origin of the titular violin.
She encounters the violinist 2 or 3 times and he points her to the man who lent and then sold him the violin - Lev, the journey then takes her to Russia where the violin was purchased. There is speculation but no definitive answer until she enlists a dendochrenologist to age the violin from the markings of the wood - I won't give any more away!
Although not my preferred genre, I did find the book enjoyable and informative and for those who are interested in music or history or both, with a good helping of travel bio added in, then this is an excellent read.
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