Mary Sharratt, author of Ecstasy
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. 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.
Mary Sharratt is the author of several award-winning novels, including The Dark Lady's Mask, Daughters of the Witching Hill, and Illuminations: A Novel of Hildegard Von Bingen. Born in Minnesota, Mary now lives with her Belgian husband in the Pendle region of Lancashire, England. Winner of the 2013 Nautilus Gold Award, the 2005 WILLA Literary Award, and a Minnesota Book Award Finalist, Mary has also co-edited the subversive fiction anthology Bitch Lit, which celebrates female anti-heroes – strong women who break all the rules. Her articles and essays have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, Publisher’s Weekly, Minnesota Magazine, and Historical Novels Review. When she isn’t writing, she’s usually riding her spirited Welsh mare through the Lancashire countryside.
“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
“Both during her life and after, Viennese artist Alma Schindler Mahler Gropius Werfel (1879-1964) received countless love letters; Sharratt’s passionate novel is another, one notable for its focus on Alma’s artistic talent and early feminism as well as her beauty. . . . this winning historical novel offers an enjoyable portrait of an ambitious woman whose struggles are as relevant today as they were a century ago.”
- Publisher’s Weekly
Read an Excerpt from Ecstasy
Read a Q&A with Mary
Visit Mary's Website
Listen to the interview with Mary on NPR's To the Best of Our Knowledge