Book Tour Review: Ecstasy by Mary Sharratt

Friday, April 27, 2018
Title: Ecstasy
Author: Mary Sharratt
Genre: historical fiction
Series: N/A
Pages: 400
Published: April 10 2018
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for review
Rating:  4/5

In the glittering hotbed of turn-of-the-twentieth-century Vienna, one woman’s 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.

Mary Sharratt is a vivid writer with an eye for both detail and atmosphere and a knack for re-framing familiar historical events in new light. She highlights and humanizes women from history; those who are often ignored, stifled, or vilified and those that are rarely given a voice in the official narrative. With Ecstasy, Sharratt illuminates the life of the talented and tempestuous Alma Schindler, a formidable musician in her own right as well as a muse and inspiration to many well-known male musicians and artists in turn-of-the-century Vienna.

A strong personality with a noticeable talent for both composing and performing, Alma's presence is unique and memorable. She's faced by constraints of her time and society, as well as in her eventual husband's expectations but her talent and wit shine through. And even through facing her personal demons, Alma remains uniquely herself. Her point-of-view is refreshingly relate-able without being anachronistic for the times in which she lived. Sharratt does an admirable job of adapting Alma's voice and feelings and her narration feels natural.

Creation, especially of the musical variety, are main themes for both Ecstasy and for Alma herself in all stages of her story. Her life revolved around art for its entirety with a famous painter for a father and Sharratt makes music omnipresent here in her fictional life. Alma's need to create more than just human life, to be defined as more than only a wife or a mother -- to make her own art known -- is a core element to who she is and how she develops as a single woman and later as the 'proper' wife to an Opera Director. Her life and goals may shift and ebb, but her love of music is a constant, believable, and unchanging facet of her characterization.

An authentic and vivid recreation of a fascinating and flawed woman, Ecstasy is a look at mental health and love, music and motherhood. Mary Sharratt ably renders a nuanced version of a complicated woman and adapts her unconventional life with ease. Her version of the acclaimed and beloved fixture of culture and society in Europe and in America is engaging, forthright, and unique.  Ecstasy is a window to a vibrant Viennese society and a memorable main character.

Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, April 10
Review at Broken Teepee

Wednesday, April 11
Feature at Passages to the Past

Thursday, April 12
Review at Bookfever
Review at Unabridged Chick

Friday, April 13
Interview at Unabridged Chick
Review at View From the Birdhouse

Saturday, April 14
Review at Clarissa Reads it All

Monday, April 16
Review at Cup of Sensibility

Tuesday, April 17
Review at Based on a True Story

Wednesday, April 18
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Thursday, April 19
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective

Friday, April 20
Review at Linda’s Book Obsession

Sunday, April 22
Review at Carole Rae’s Random Ramblings

Monday, April 23
Review at A Bookaholic Swede

Tuesday, April 24
Interview at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Wednesday, April 25
Review at A Literary Vacation

Thursday, April 26
Guest Post at A Bookish Affair

Friday, April 27
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Monday, April 30
Review at Caryn, the Book Whisperer

Tuesday, May 1
Review at A Bookish Affair

Thursday, May 3
Interview at The Writing Desk

Monday, May 7
Review at What Cathy Read Next

Wednesday, May 9
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Thursday, May 10
Review at Writing the Renaissance

Friday, May 11
Interview at Writing the Renaissance

Monday, May 14
Interview at Let Them Read Books

Wednesday, May 16
Review at Jorie Loves a Story

Thursday, May 17
Review at Nicole Evelina

Friday, May 18
Interview at Nicole Evelina



  1. Wow, what a great review! Thank you so much for hosting Mary's blog tour. I am thrilled that you enjoyed ECSTASY so much!

    HF Virtual Book Tours

  2. I can't say I know anything about Vienna in this time period but as always, your thorough and engaging review has me very intrigued! I'm glad it was such a memorable reading experience for you!


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