For all that there is very little information on Angelica Voglia outside of what Queen Christina wrote, Dines has done a great job of fleshing out and embellishing her life into something believable. Never did something make me stop and go, “No, come on, that would not have happened”. Everything was realistic and Dines has obviously done her research well, despite the fact that there are very few accounts of common life in 1600s Italy. I think what I liked the best out of this story was the numerous women characters and their relationships with each other. It occurred to me about half way through that the amount of women characters vastly outnumbered the male characters, and none of the women characters were set up as villains to Angelica. In fact, while there are jealousies and competition in the book, they’re not spent a lot of time with, and Angelica’s friendships with other women outnumbers the ones who try to harm her. Angelica even stands up for a few who, if you went with modern YA story lines, she should be jealous of and hate. In fact, most often in the storyline, Angelica depends on other women to help her through tough times, and her escape into Queen Christina’s court is aided by another woman. It’s sad to think how rare this is in most books, especially YA, but it’s wonderful to see it in at least one book. The relationships that were written the best, in my opinion, were the ones between Angelica and the Queen, and Angelica and her family’s maid, Lucia. Angelica and Lucia were really good friends who could depend on each other no matter what, and they were willing to do anything for each other. Even though at times I do think Lucia was bad for Angelica, in the end I really admired their friendship. Queen Christina and Angelica had a very sweet, mother-daughter relationship. You can tell that Angelica truly does respect and love the Queen, even when she starts to doubt that Queen Christina will keep her around all that long. The way Angelica can easily decipher what mood the Queen is in just by how she holds her hands, for example, is a great way of showing how close the two have become. There’s definitely a lot of respect and admiration between the two, and it was nice to find a mother figure who could love Angelica in a way her mother didn’t. I do wish that maybe Angelica’s relationship with her sister, Bianca, had been given more focus, but considering how much Dines packs into a 320 page book, I can understand why it wasn’t. What we’re given is good, though, as the two sisters are very different in their ambitions in life, and Bianca feels betrayed that Angelica has started to confide more in Lucia than her. In the end their rift is too wide to really do anything about, and they grow too far apart. Another good point was how the villains weren’t stereotypical villains, and while they did things that greatly disadvantages the protagonists, they’re never seen as wholly evil and misguided. In fact, the main reason Angelica’s life is so hard, Pope Innocent XI, is probably the most surprising character in that he and Queen Christina have a strange sort of respect for each other, and while they disagree heavily, they remain kind. The writing, also, was very nice. Most of the important characters are fleshed out and given motives and flaws and strengths, and Angelica’s voice in particular comes through quite strong. The pacing is slow, encompassing about two or three years of Angelica’s life and the major events that happened within those years, but I never felt bored with it. There were some things that I didn’t really like, namely the romance between Angelica and a French artist named Theodon. Personally I was far more interested in Angelica’s journey to the castle to pay much attention to her growing romance with Theodon. I never really thought they would work out; I mean, they don’t even talk to each other face to face until maybe more than a hundred pages away from the end. Their relationship must be kept secret in case Angelica’s mother finds out, so they send notes to each other, and Theodon stands outside her window to hear her sing. It’s great if that’s the kind of romance you’re into, but it never really worked for me, sadly. The Queen’s Soprano is a great book that needs more attention. It has a strong cast of characters, good writing, and while there were a few problems here and there, all in all it’s a wonderful book that I’ll likely read again in the future.