“In the glittering and ruthlessly competitive world of opera, Maria Callas was known simply as la divina: the divine one. With her glorious voice, instinctive flair for the dramatic, and striking beauty, she was the toast of the grandest opera houses in the world. But her fame was hard won: Raised in Nazi-occupied Greece by a mother who mercilessly exploited her golden voice, she learned early in life to protect herself from those who would use her for their own ends.”Goodreads blurb for Diva
Author: Daisy Goodwin
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 336 (Hardcover)
Publish Date: January 23rd, 2024
My Rating: ★★
Read: 10/3/2023 – 10/14/2023
I’ve come across a number of historical fiction books centered around names in the entertainment industry. Diva has been the first I’ve read about an opera singer. I’m not super well-versed, but I do consider myself a casual listener. Whatever the case, it was enough to make me static to pick up the book.
A lot of big names pass through these pages, however, our stars are Maria Callas and Aristotle Onassis. The story ebbs and flows from Maria’s past through Aristotle’s marriage to Jacqueline Kennedy and the affair in between.
I was so ready to love this book. I didn’t connect to the characters at all and wound up feeling even sadder for Jackie (I’ll admit I’m biased). What’s more is that I found the writing repetitive and taking gratuitous liberties in the lives of real people. I know there’s a fine line of this and it’s what you agree to read when picking up this genre of historical fiction, but even then it still felt like it went too far in places. I did very much enjoy the bits of opera knowledge I picked up along the way.
Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for providing me with a digital ARC of the book to read and review!
Likes & Dislikes:
What I liked:
- The background that was given about different aspects of opera.
What I didn’t like:
- Repetitive phrasing.
- Name dropping for the sake of name dropping.
- Far more explicit than it should be being based on real people.
Definitely disappointed that this wasn’t even a three-star read for me, but it happens.