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The Music of Hidden Lives: Steil & Sandor

August 2 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm


Join us for a reading featuring two award-winning novels about musicians.

In Jennifer Steil’s Exile Music, winner of the Grand Prize in the Eyelands Book Awards, Orly is just ten years old when she flees Vienna with her musician parents to escape the Nazis. They end up in La Paz, Bolivia, where they are haunted by all they left behind—friends, relatives, and a life in music. Orly adapts well, but as she matures, she questions her own identity and sexuality. Then war criminals arrive, and a family secret puts Orly and her parents once more at risk.

“Steil expertly weaves historical details into this immersive narrative, complete with a focus on the impact of music in the characters’ lives.” Publishers Weekly

 “. . . a beautiful coming-of-age tale, following Orly as she questions her sexuality and struggles to come to terms with the horrors she escaped in her homeland.” Booklist

Marjorie Sandor’s novel The Secret Music at Tordesillas, winner of the Tuscarora Award in Historical Fiction, is set in 1555. Juana I of Castile has died after 47 years in forced seclusion. Her last musician, Juan de Granada, refuses to depart with the other servants, forcing two functionaries of the Inquisition to interrogate him in the empty palace. But is it really empty? Or is there a heretic hidden on the premises, secretly practicing the forbidden rites of Judaism? Only Juan knows the answer, and his subversive tale is at once a ballad of lost love and a last gambit to save a life.

“Radiant, passionate, deeply intelligent and intensely moving, this brilliant novel brings alive a place and time surprisingly resonant with our own. Love and music burn like a laser through these glorious pages.” —Andrea Barrett

“An historical novel of striking imagination and lyricism” —Phillip Lopate

This is a virtual event curated by the Working Writers Group and New Door Books, hosted by the bookstore A Novel Idea on Passyunk. A $5.00 donation is suggested (not required) to support the store.


Working Writers Group
A Novel Idea