Thursday, April 12, 2018

Blog Tour — Review: Ecstasy by Mary Sharratt + Giveaway (US)

Today I'm sharing my review of Ecstasy by Mary Sharratt, a historical fiction about Alma Mahler set in turn-of-the-twentieth century Vienna. I read this book back in January and it's still my favorite one of 2018. Nothing has been able to top it just yet. I definitely need to buy myself a hardcover copy at some point of it because I just need this book on my shelf. It was truly amazing! ♥

Title: Ecstasy
Author: Mary Sharratt
Publication: April 10, 2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Genre: Historical Fiction/Literary
Pages: 400
Purchase Links: Amazon | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | Book DepositoryBooks-A-Million | Google PlayIndiebound | Kobo
Also in AudioBook: Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million
Rating: 5/5

In the glittering hotbed of turn-of-the-twentieth century Vienna, one woman’s life would define and defy an era.

Gustav Klimt gave Alma her first kiss. Gustav Mahler fell in love with her at first sight and proposed only a few weeks later. Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius abandoned all reason to pursue her. Poet and novelist Franz Werfel described her as “one of the very few magical women that exist.” But who was this woman who brought these most eminent of men to their knees? In Ecstasy, Mary Sharratt finally gives one of the most controversial and complex women of her time center stage.

Coming of age in the midst of a creative and cultural whirlwind, young, beautiful Alma Schindler yearns to make her mark as a composer. A brand new era of possibility for women is dawning and she is determined to make the most of it. But Alma loses her heart to the great composer Gustav Mahler, nearly twenty years her senior. He demands that she give up her music as a condition for their marriage. Torn by her love and in awe of his genius, how will she remain true to herself and her artistic passion?

Part cautionary tale, part triumph of the feminist spirit, Ecstasy reveals the true Alma Mahler: composer, daughter, sister, mother, wife, lover, and muse.
Oh, to sense the heights. To be a mountain. To be great and expansive, bursting with potentiality.

I signed up for the blog tour of Ecstasy because the synopsis sounded incredible and right up my alley. In the last year I've become really intrigued with books set in the early 20th century, especially if the setting is in Vienna and if the story revolves around a real woman in history like Alma. She definitely wasn't a perfect character. She had her flaws and problems but even so I hadn't expected to fall in love with this brilliant book the way I did. I even read until 2:00 pm to finish the story just because I didn't want to put the book down and stop reading.

The story is about Alma Schindler (later Alma Mahler), who more than anything wants to be a sucessful composer. When she meets the nearly twenty years older and accomplished composer Gustav Mahler, they fall for each other. But for their marriage his condition is that she gives up her music so that there's more room for his own, essentially. This causes Alma to be utterly torn between her passion for composing and her love for Gustav.

I can't quite put my finger on what exactly made this book so good. Vienna at the turn of the 20th century, the complex character of Alma, the artistic men she came in contact with and who all seemed to be enchanted by her, the bittersweet element of the story, the writing... I just loved it all. 

It also doesn't happen often but I ended this book with tears in my eyes. This just shows how totally taken I was with it. I'm so glad the author put the spotlight on Alma Mahler the way she did in this amazing story. I want more people to also read this book and hopefully also fall in love with it the way I did. 

Ecstasy by Mary Sharratt was one amazing and beautifully written story. I honestly fell in love with it from the very first page and continued being completely hooked throughout the whole novel. It was just phenomenal! 

Praise for Ecstasy

“In ECSTASY, Mary Sharratt plunges the reader into the tumultuous and glamorous fin de siècle era, bringing to life its brilliant and beguiling leading lady. Finally, Alma Mahler takes center stage, surging to life as so much more than simply the female companion to the brilliant and famous men who loved her. Sharratt’s portrait is poignant and nuanced, her novel brimming with rich historic detail and lush, evocative language.” – Allison Pataki, New York Times bestselling author of The Accidental Empress
“A tender, intimate exploration of a complicated woman, Mary Sharratt’s ECSTASY renders in exquisitely researched detail and fiercely imagined scenes the life of Alma Mahler — daughter, wife, mother, lover, and composer — and the early 20th Century Vienna and New York in which she came of age. I loved this inspiring story of an early feminist standing up for her art.” – Meg Waite Clayton, New York Times bestselling author of The Race for Paris
“Evocative and passionate, ECSTASY illuminates through its tempestuous and talented heroine a conundrum that resonates across the centuries: how a woman can fulfill her destiny by being both a lover and an artist.” – Jenna Blum, New York Times bestselling author of Those Who Save Us and The Stormchasers
“Mary Sharratt makes a triumphant return to the page with this masterful portrait of Alma Mahler, the wife of the famous composer Gustav Mahler. Set in a time and place when a woman could only hope to be the power behind the throne, Sharratt brings a meticulously researched and richly illuminated account of a young woman who was a brilliant composer in her own right. Alma may have had to suppress her own talents to support Mahler; however, ECSTASY reveals that she was a woman who “contained multitudes.” ECSTASY is an important work of historical fiction, as well as a timely and topical addition to the canon of knowledge that needs to better represent important women and their contributions.” – Pamela Klinger-Horn, Excelsior Bay Books
“Alma Mahler’s unexpected, often heartbreaking journey from muse to independence comes to vivid, dramatic life in Mary Sharratt’s ECSTASY. Sharratt skillfully evokes turn-of-the-century Vienna and the musical genius of the era, returning Alma to her rightful place in history as both the inspiration to the men in her life and a gifted artist in her own right.” – C.W. Gortner, bestselling author of Mademoiselle Chanel
“Mary Sharratt has more than done justice to one of the most interesting, shocking, and passionate women of the 20th century. Overflowing with life and lust, ECSTASY explores this flawed but fascinating woman who was not only muse but a genius in her own right.” – New York Times Bestseller, M.J. Rose
“A deeply affecting portrait of the woman rumored to be the most notorious femme fatale of turn-of-the-century Vienna. Mary Sharratt’s ECSTASY is as heartbreaking and seductive as Alma Mahler herself.” —Kris Waldherr, author of Doomed Queens and Bad Princess

About the Author

MARY SHARRATT is an American writer who has lived in the Pendle region of Lancashire, England, for the past seven years. The author of the critically acclaimed novels Summit Avenue, The Real Minerva, and The Vanishing Point, Sharratt is also the co-editor of the subversive fiction anthology Bitch Lit, a celebration of female antiheroes, strong women who break all the rules.

Her novels include Summit Avenue, The Real Minera, The Vanishing Point, The Daughters of Witching Hill, Illuminations, and The Dark Lady’s Mask.

For more information, please visit Mary Sharratt’s website. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, April 10
Review at Broken Teepee
Wednesday, April 11
Feature at Passages to the Past
Thursday, April 12
Review at Bookfever (It's me! ♥)
Review at Unabridged Chick
Friday, April 13
Interview at Unabridged Chick
Review at View From the Birdhouse
Saturday, April 14
Review at Clarissa Reads it All
Monday, April 16
Review at Cup of Sensibility
Tuesday, April 17
Review at Based on a True Story
Wednesday, April 18
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Thursday, April 19
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective
Friday, April 20
Review at Linda’s Book Obsession
Sunday, April 22
Review at Carole Rae’s Random Ramblings
Monday, April 23
Review at A Bookaholic Swede
Tuesday, April 24
Interview at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Wednesday, April 25
Review at A Literary Vacation
Thursday, April 26
Guest Post at A Bookish Affair
Friday, April 27
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Monday, April 30
Review at Caryn, the Book Whisperer
Tuesday, May 1
Review at A Bookish Affair
Thursday, May 3
Interview at The Writing Desk
Monday, May 7
Review at What Cathy Read Next
Wednesday, May 9
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Thursday, May 10
Review at Writing the Renaissance
Friday, May 11
Interview at Writing the Renaissance
Monday, May 14
Interview at Let Them Read Books
Wednesday, May 16
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Thursday, May 17
Review at Nicole Evelina
Friday, May 18
Interview at Nicole Evelina 

Win a paperback copy of Ecstasy!
Giveaway Rules
– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on May 18th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US residents only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.


  1. Oh wow, this sounds very cool!I read something about Einstein's first wife, that I thought could have been heaps better that made me wary of books like this, but I can also see this one is far better.

    1. I've read a similar book like this one (The Artist's Muse) so I'm pretty sure these are my kind of books. But any book can be a hit or miss, of course.

  2. What a gorgeous cover!! This is the first I've heard of this book, but I'll have to go check it out now. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Wow, what a fabulous review! Thank you so much for hosting Mary's tour. I am thrilled that you enjoyed ECSTASY so much!

    HF Virtual Book Tours

    1. I'm soooo happy I decided to sign up for this tour. You never really know if you're going to enjoy a book but this was sucha hit for me! :D

  4. You certainly piqued my curiosity with this one, Stephanie! It does sound really good and I also really like the cover, which is always a good plus, isn't it? ;)

  5. When a book produces tears, you know the author has done something right! I love musical books and the setting is definitely intriguing. So glad that you enjoyed it. :)

  6. Fantastic cover! This book sounds great! So happy you enjoyed it!

  7. OH YAY! I am so excited because I am getting a review copy of this one so I can read it soon. And knowing how much you absolutely loved this one makes me really hyped to read it. Especially if it moved you to tears. So glad you enjoyed it so much :)


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