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January 17, 2024

Diva by Daisy Goodwin ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

New York Times bestselling author Daisy Goodwin returns with a story of the scandalous love affair between the most celebrated opera singer of all time and one of the richest men in the world.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

book cover of biographical fiction novel Dive by Daisy Goodwin
January 2024; St. Martin's Press; 978-1250279927
audio, ebook, print (336 pages); biographical fiction

My knowledge of Maria Callas, the renowned opera singer, was mostly based on her affair with Aristotle Onassis who broke her heart when he married Jacqueline Kennedy.  This book by Daisy Goodwin was a well-written history of Maria and her fame before the richest man in the world was ever part of it.

Maria was born in New York but went back to Greece with her mother and sister when she was 13.  She and her family were in Greece during the Nazi occupation and Maria often sang for the Germans to make money so that her family could eat.  Despite her immense talent, her mother always favored her sister and only seemed interested in Maria when she could exploit her and her beautiful voice to make money for the family to live.  She married but her husband was mostly her manager and never really saw her as a woman.  With her glorious voice, a flair for the dramatic, and striking beauty, she appeared at the grandest opera houses in the world and was referred to as 'the divine one'.  In 1957, she met Aristotle Onassis, then the richest man in the world.  He didn't like opera much but he adored Maria and they began an affair, despite the fact that he was already married.  Her life changed dramatically and he introduced her to a life of extravagant luxury.  He showered her with jewelry and introduced her to the important people of their time.  Maria felt that for the first time, someone saw her as a woman and not just as an opera singer.  As quickly as their affair started, it was suddenly over when Aristotle married Jacqueline Kennedy.  Maria was left on her own to pick up the pieces of her life and live without the love of her life.

I found this book very interesting and thought that it was a good look at Maria Callas who was renowned in the world of opera and much more than a betrayed woman whose love left her for another as the media at the time would lead you to believe.  The book gave her background and her daily struggles and really made her into a real person instead of just a footnote in history.  

Buy Diva at Amazon

Susan Roberts grew up in Michigan but loves the laid-back life at her home in the Piedmont area of North Carolina where she is two hours from the beach to the east and the mountains in the west.  She reads almost anything but her favorite genres are Southern Fiction and Historical Fiction.   


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