Saturday, November 11, 2023

Review: The Mozart Code by Rachel McMillan

My rating: 


No matter how you might try to hide in a war to escape your past, it is always close at hand.

Lady Sophia Huntington Villiers is no stranger to intrigue, as her work with Alan Turing’s Bombe Machines at Bletchley Park during the war attests. Now, as part of Simon Barre’s covert team in post-war Vienna, she uses her inimitable charm and code name Starling to infiltrate the world of relics: uncovering vital information that could tilt the stakes of the mounting Cold War. When several influential men charge her with finding the death mask of Mozart, Sophie wonders if there is more than the composer’s legacy at stake and finds herself drawn to potential answers in Prague.

Simon Barrington, the illegitimate heir of one of Sussex’s oldest estates, used the previous war to hide his insecurities about his past. Now, he uses his high breeding to gain access to all four allied quarters of the ruined city in an attempt to slow the fall of the Iron Curtain. He has been in love with Sophie Villiers since the moment he met her, and a marriage of convenience to save Simon’s estate has always kept her close. Until now, when Sophie’s mysterious client in Prague forces him to wonder if her allegiance to him—and their cause—is in question. Torn between his loyalty to his cause and his heart, Simon seeks answers about Sophie only to learn that everything he thought he knew about his involvement in both wars is based on a lie.

My Review

This book opened my eyes to the unrest and turmoil of post-war Europe. I would recommend reading The London Restoration first, since this book picks up where it left off, just focusing on different characters. But the friendships and characters in the first book are helpful in understanding some details in this story. Like the previous book, the style is hazy and ambiguous, reflecting much of the uncertainty in Simon and Sophie's work and relationship. Communism is an ideology that influential people in Austria are considering for the next political era since being released from Nazism. Somehow the arts and culture, especially Mozart's legacy and identity is seen as a gateway to instill the ideology that will reign. I would have liked to know more details about how Sophie acquired antiques and artifacts for her clients, but much of her work remained vague. I was glad to learn about Simon's past, and how it influenced him. He and Sophie have a kind of yearning and longing in their relationship, and I was happy to see Sophie reconcile herself to allow her feelings to be valid, after being raised with the idea that love is dangerous. The story picks up toward the end and once the mysteries are revealed, I enjoyed the book more, rather than the majority of the time feeling like I'm wandering.

Disclosure statement: A complimentary copy of this book was provided from a tour group, publisher, publicist, or author, including NetGalley, OR was borrowed from the library, including OverDrive, OR borrowed from Kindle Unlimited, OR purchased. A review was not required and all views and opinions expressed are unbiased and my own.

Check out the previous connected book, The London Restoration


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