Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Book Review for Diva by Daisy Goodwin

 Diva by Daisy Goodwin

Published:  January 23, 2024 by St. Martin's Press

Genre:  Historical Fiction


Taken from Goodreads:  The story of the scandalous love affair between the most celebrated opera singer of all time and one of the richest men in the world

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.

When she met the fabulously rich Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis, for the first time in her life, she believed she’d found someone who saw the woman within the legendary soprano. She fell desperately in love. He introduced her to a life of unbelievable luxury, showering her with jewels and sojourns in the most fashionable international watering holes with celebrities like Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.

And then suddenly, it was over. The international press announced that Aristotle Onassis would marry the most famous woman in the world, former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, leaving Maria to pick up the pieces.

In this remarkable novel, Daisy Goodwin brings to life a woman whose extraordinary talent, unremitting drive, and natural chic made her a legend. But it was only in confronting the heartbreak of losing the man she loved that Maria Callas found her true voice and went on to triumph.


My Thoughts:  WOW!   I could not put this book down.   The storyline had characters that I recognized throughout history, but the story was not one I was familiar with at all.  I know nothing of operas or opera singers, and I only knew of Aristotle Onassis as Jackie Kennedy’s other husband.   Daisy Goodwin wrote the kind of historical fiction that I love.  I lost myself in the fiction of the story that I came out learning so much more than I went in with. 

Diva had me hearing Maria’s voice as she sang her heart out all over the world and feeling her hope at finally finding the love she’s been missing with Ari Onassis.  I could picture the amazing stages that Maria performed on while seeing the audience raptured by her.  The yacht, where a lot of her time was spent with Ari, was brought to life with the descriptions of the yacht itself but also by the people who visited or stayed there.  The names dropped throughout the book helped set the timeframe and also the world that Maria lived in.   

Daisy Goodwin wrote a book that came to life for me.   I recommend this book to everyone who enjoys a phenomenal historical fiction book.  

Thank you St. Martin's Press for a copy of the book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. 


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Meet Daisy Goodwin (taken from her website):  Daisy Goodwin is a writer and television producer.

After reading history at Cambridge, she went to Columbia Film School as a Harkness Fellow. After ten years at the BBC making arts documentaries, she left to join the independent sector and created a number of programmes including Grand Designs which is now in its 18th year on Channel 4.

In 2005 she started Silver River productions, which she sold to Sony in 2012. Alongside her tv work , Daisy has written a memoir, Silver River and two novels My Last Duchess Uk/The American Heiress US and The Fortune Hunter, which were both New York Times bestsellers. In 2014 Daisy decided to concentrate on writing full time and was commissioned to write her first screenplay, Victoria, an 8 part series about the early life of Queen Victoria for ITV and WGBH Masterpiece Theatre.

She is now working on Season 2.

Daisy lives in London with her three dogs, two daughters and one husband.


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