Coming of age in the midst of a creative and cultural whirlwind in Vienna, young, beautiful Alma Schindler yearns to make her mark as a composer. A 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 of 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. Mary Sharratt has finally given center stage to one of the most controversial and complex women of her time.
MARY SHARRATT, the author of six previous critically acclaimed novels, is on a mission to write strong women back into history. Her lifelong love of classical music and her explorations into the lives of female composers inspired her to writeEcstasy.
“This winning historical novel offers an enjoyable portrait of an ambitious woman whose struggles are as relevant today as they were a century ago.”— Publishers Weekly
“[Sharratt] has in-depth knowledge of classical music and turn-of-the-20th-century Vienna . . . Recommended for readers who like the peaks and valleys of nonstop drama.”— Library Journal
“Thought-provoking [and] . . . bracing.”—Kirkus Reviews
“A novel with surefire appeal for fans of romantic women’s fiction.”—Booklist
“InEcstasy, Mary Sharratt plunges the reader into the tumultuous and glamorous fin de siècle era, bringing to life its brilliant and beguiling leading lady. Finally, Alma Mahler takes center stage, surging to life as so much more than simply the female companion to the brilliant and famous men who loved her. Sharratt’s portrait is poignant and nuanced, her novel brimming with rich historic detail and lush, evocative language.”
—Allison Pataki,New York Times best-selling author ofThe Accidental Empress
“Evocative and passionate,Ecstasy illuminates through its tempestuous and talented heroine a conundrum that resonates across the centuries: how a woman can fulfill her destiny by being both a lover and an artist.”
—Jenna Blum,New York Timesbest-selling author ofThose Who Save Us andThe Stormchasers
“A tender, intimate exploration of a complicated woman, Mary Sharratt’sEcstasy renders in exquisitely researched detail and fiercely imagined scenes the life of Alma Mahler—daughter, wife, mother, lover, and composer—and the early 20th Century Vienna and New York in which she came of age. I loved this inspiring story of an early feminist standing up for her art.”
—Meg Waite Clayton,New York Timesbest-selling author ofThe Race for Paris
“Alma Mahler’s unexpected, often heartbreaking journey from muse to independence comes to vivid, dramatic life. Sharratt skillfully evokes turn-of-the-century Vienna and the musical genius of the era, returning Alma to her rightful place in history as both the inspiration to the men in her life and a gifted artist in her own right.”
—C. W. Gortner, best-selling author ofMademoiselle Chanel
“Mary Sharratt has more than done justice to one of the most interesting, shocking, and passionate women of the 20th century. Overflowing with life and lust,Ecstasy explores this flawed but fascinating woman.”
—M. J. Rose,New York Times best-selling author ofThe Library of Light and Shadow
“A deeply affecting portrait of the woman rumored to be the most notorious femme fatale of turn-of-the-century Vienna. Mary Sharratt’s Ecstasy is as heartbreaking and seductive as Alma Mahler herself.”
—Kris Waldherr, author ofDoomed Queens andBad Princess