This is an amazing book. I can't do it justice or even put into words how good it is.
the title suggests, this is a story of Signa, an illigitimate orphan
boy who is saved from death during a flood when he is about one year
old. His two uncles find him clinging to the breast of his dead mother,
and, afraid that the villagers might accuse the two brothers of murder,
(its a long story), they let the floodwaters take her body away and tell
everyone they found the unknown baby alone in the field.
is raised by his Uncle Lippo's family who mistreat him. But bruises can
do no lasting harm to Signa for his head is in the clouds where the
very angels whisper sweet music to him. He hears it in the wind, in the
rustling apricot trees, the grapevines and the hills.
singing his songs or playing his lute he is content. Then one day he
sees an old violin for sale in a shop window and asks to hold it ....
him a protege, a genius, an artist, it makes no difference; for music
is the very lifeblood and soul of Signa. But his kind uncle Bruno is
deaf to Signa's genius. To him it is merely child's play and so Bruno
slaves for nine years, building Signa a future there in the Tuscan
hills, farming. When Signa kindly rejects his uncle's plans for him,
Bruno stomps on Signa's prized violin, destroying it.
There is so
much more to this story. There are his childhood playmates, one kind
and good peasant girl named Palma and her beautiful but selfish sister
Gemma (whom Signa loves). Palma grows up, slaving for her father and
idle brothers, never complaining, while Gemma runs away at age 10,
seeking a life of luxury ...
The story covers about 25 years so
you learn what comes of all these characters and how their lives
intertwine for good and for bad as well as the extremely high cost of
In many ways this book feels like an opera put into novel
form and has an almost tragic fairytale cadence. Its beautifully poetic
and emotive and while it doesn't neccesarily have a HEA, the story had
some surprising twists and turns that were brilliantly thought out and I
was ultimately satisfied. It really could only have ended in the way it
did. Its opera, afterall.
And I love it.
Recommended for lovers of chunky, old fashioned, flowery, melodramatic reads.
Signa is available for free on Openlibrary but I suggest paying the
$2.99 for this particular version on Amazon. The Openlibrary epub
version is so riddled with typos it is almost unreadable.
the antique book (have fun with that!) be careful you're buying the
complete 512 page book as it was often split into three volumes.