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Music and Silence by Rose Tremain

Good Housekeeping's view...

March 2010 Good Housekeeping selection.

On My Bookshelf by Joanna Trollope...

Rose Tremain’s historical novels are big gems. My favourite is Music And Silence. It’s a book you just inhabit as you read.

If you like Rose Tremain you might also like to read books by Alice Munro, Salley Vickers and Joanne Harris.

What is Good Housekeeping


Music and Silence by Rose Tremain

In 1629, Peter Claire, a young English lutenist, arrives at the Danish Court to join King Christian IV's Royal Orchestra. But he finds that the musicians perform in a freezing cellar underneath the royal apartments, their music conveyed to the King by a system of pipes.

From this central image, the novel develops into a tale of good and evil, light and dark, encompassing the lives and loves of all those involved with the Court and the fortunes of the stricken state of Denmark.

Peter Claire finds himself falling in love with the young woman who is the companion of the King's estranged, adulterous wife, Kirsten, thus dividing his loyalties and leaving his happiness uncertain.

Browse inside this book


‘She is the best historical novelist of her generation. She evokes the past with … sensuality, wit and superb sleights of hand’
A.N. Wilson, Evening Standard

‘Lyrical, voluptuous … splendid … A sumptuous drama lit by the glamorous torchlight of the courtly past’
Lucy Hughes-Hallett, Sunday Times

‘Tremain shows great confidence and versatility as she changes voices … and crams her canvas with brilliant details, scents, sounds and colours … Ingenious, amusing and beautifully written’
Anne Chisholm, Observer

‘The best thing from Denmark since Hamlet’
John Julius Norwich

About the Author

Rose Tremain

Rose Tremain's novels have won many prizes including: the Whitbread Novel of the Year (Music and Silence); the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and the Prix Femina Etranger (Sacred Country); the Sunday Express Book of the Year, the Angel Literary Award and shortlisted for the Booker Prize (Restoration) and a Giles Cooper Award (for her radio play, Temporary Shelter). Her novel The Colour, was shortlisted for the Orange Prize, and selected for the Daily Mail Reading Club promotion. In June 2007 Rose was made a CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

Photograph © Jerry Bauer

Fellow novelist Katharine McMahon on Rose Tremain...

If I'm asked who is my literary role model, it's Tremain. I love the fact that she's very experimental, and is always setting herself new challenges and new forms. Her historical writing is inspirational because of its authenticity, and the powerful story-telling. I've chosen The Road Home because I found it very absorbing, and a new direction for Tremain.

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Book Info

Publication date

1st March 2000


Rose Tremain

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464 pages


Historical Fiction
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Historical fiction



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