Ecstasy by Mary Sharratt


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 m...

Details Ecstasy

Release DateApr 10th, 2018
PublisherHoughton Mifflin Harcourt
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Art, Music

Reviews Ecstasy

  • Julie
    Ecstasy by Mary Sharratt is a 2018 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt publication. This story is a fictionalized accounting of composer and pianist Alma Schindler’s life during the period she was married to famed composer Gustav Mahler. As a condition of her marriage, Alma promised her husband, she would give up her own music and channel all her passion for music through his compositions and successes, which eventually takes her down the path of depress...
  • Elyse
    “Let’s raise our glasses to Alma Maria Schindler, Fran Zuckerandl said, who has turned the rest of us poor women emerald with envy. Not only is she the most beautiful girl in Vienna, and that’s quite bad enough, she’s also a brilliant pianist. That’s infuriating. But on top of it all, she composes!”Alma’s mother was pregnant with Alma ‘before’ she married her famous painter father, Jakob Schindler. She tells Alma that she ‘had...
  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
    5 alluring stars to Ecstasy! ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ (Last vacation review, I promise! 😉)In college, I had a poster of Klimt’s painting, The Kiss, hanging on my dorm room wall. It was sultry and magical. My love for art and art history was sparked by my beloved high school art teacher. I think she saw a lack of confidence in me, and in retrospect, I feel she took every opportunity to bring that out. I yearn for books about art as a result, espec...
  • Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
    I saw the movie Mahler by Ken Russell a couple of years ago. Well, it's so many years ago that I don't really remember much about it. But, it was my first introduction to Gustav Mahler and his wife Alma. So, when I saw that there would be a book about Alma Mahler was I instantly interested. I was thrilled when I got a copy of this book to read.Just think of what Alma Schindler could have achieved if she was born decades later when a woman could b...
  • Cathy
    Read more reviews like this, plus fascinating author interviews, exclusive guest posts and book extracts, on my blog: is beautiful, passionate and independent-minded, fond of poetry, drama and literature and a talented pianist. She also shows a talent for composition and harbours an ambition to be recognised as a composer of her own music. However, she is prevented from following her dreams by the cons...
  • Audra (Unabridged Chick)
    I knew, from the previous novels of Sharratt's that I've read (the astounding Illuminations and fascinating The Dark Lady's Mask ) that I would love Ecstasy -- even though I feared the story of Alma Mahler's life would frustrate me. However, I should have trusted that Sharratt would somehow manage to make me not just enraptured of/with Alma but also the people in her life, including the frustrating Gustave Mahler.Alma Schindler is beautiful an...
  • Kris Waldherr
    Read an advance copy of this and loved it. I've been fascinated with Alma Mahler every since I first learned of her life years ago—ECSTASY captures the romantic intensity of Alma's life. Bittersweet and compelling. More to come closer to publication.
  • OLT
    Author Mary Sharratt has a mission: " Writing women back into history." In 2012 she focused on 12th-century Benedictine abbess Hildegard of Bingen in ILLUMINATIONS, showing us a woman expected from a young age to submit herself quietly to God but who refused to lose her identity completely and was a composer, herbalist, mathematician and feminist of her times. In 2016 I read THE DARK LADY'S MASK about Aemilia Bassano Lanier, writer and poet, beli...
  • Patty
    I jumped on reading this book because of the author before I knew anything at all about the book. I’ve read several of Ms. Sharratt’s books and enjoyed them so I was excited at the prospect of a new one. When it arrived and I read the synopsis I was intrigued. I will admit to knowing nothing about Alma Schindler Mahler and very little about her husband, Gustav. So I will admit that I did some googling and I listened to both of their compositi...
  • Linda Zagon
    My Review of “Ecstasy” by Mary SharrattI loved everything about the Historical Fiction novel “Ecstasy” by Mary Sharratt. The timeline for this story is the turn of the century, when the various forms of the arts show changes. The story goes to the past and to the future when it pertains to the characters or events. The story takes place in Vienna, Austria, Europe, and and New YorkMary Sharratt describes her characters as complicated and c...
  • Michaela
    ---- Disclosure: I received this book for free from Goodreads. ---- Well, the cover isn't bad, & the prelude was good. Struggled to get through the 1st chapter. Unconsciously started hard skimming the thing somewhere after the middle of the 2nd chapter, & gave up during the 3rd chapter. I set it down after the 1st chapter hoping it would be better when I came back to it, but obviously that didn't pan out. I hate the protagonist. The writing was...
  • Adrienne McDonnell
    It's hard to imagine a more glorious subject for a biographical novel than the passionate and spirited composer Alma Mahler. Since receiving an Advanced Reader Copy, I've been engrossed and mesmerized by Alma's story, reading it in the wee hours of the night. What a character, what a life, and what a book Mary Sharratt has created!
  • Julianne Douglas
    Seeking to supplement a famous man's public persona with intimate detail, authors of historical fiction often choose the man's wife to narrate his story. It's not often that the woman herself has the potential to rival her husband's brilliance, but such is the situation Mary Sharratt explores in her latest novel, ECSTASY (HMHBooks, April 2018). Written from the close third-person perspective of Alma Schindler Mahler, wife of composer Gustav Mahle...
  • Meg - A Bookish Affair
    "Ecstasy" is the story of Alma who has played muse to many men that you may have heard of: Walter Gropius, Gustav Klimt, Gustav Mahler, among others. Although her story has often been in the liner notes of the lives of these great creators, Alma was fascinating in her own right as the author shows. This is a fascinating story that sucked me in!You may have heard me say this before but one of the things that I like about historical fiction the mos...
  • Christie Sitterly
    Mary Sharratt’s Ecstasy is a compelling novel that immediately entrances the reader into the life of Alma Schindler. Alma is a talented fledgling composer in Vienna in the early 1900’s. Her parents wish to marry her off to a man that meets their standards while Alma searches for a passionate love in the music world. She meets Gustav Mahler, a well-known composer and they have a whirlwind romance. However, he requires that she give up all aspi...
  • Ylenia
    Dnf @ 26%Unfortunately this was too heavy on the romance for me to enjoy it. I can’t stand to read about talented women who only talk about men, men, men. I understand Alma was young and maybe a bit naive but she had like 5 possible love interests in the first 25% of this book. Maybe calm down? She just ended up looking confused and unsure of herself as an artist.
  • Trish
    Ecstasy tells the story of Alma Schindler, a celebrated beauty in Fin-de-Siecle Vienna. She was a gifted pianist and composer, and she was also sought after by many prominent men. She had a passionate flirtation with Gustav Klimt and a romance with Alexander Zemlinsky. Then she met composer Gustav Mahler. They had a whirlwind romance and he wanted to marry her immediately -- with the condition that she stop composing and live as his muse. This no...
  • Dgordon
    A fascinating look at the life of Alma Mahler née Schindler, married to Gustav Mahler, Walter Gropius and Franz Werfel, all three creative geniuses. Who was Alma? A daughter, sister, mother, wife, lover, composer, femme fatale, muse? Certainly a complex woman ahead of her time who defied convention to find her own voice.
  • Penny (Literary Hoarders)
    This was okay. Alma is written as an overly melodramatic person - constant hand wringing about wishing she were a man so she could enjoy everything that men are allowed. Overwrought as well about her feelings of passion she wanted to act upon, again wishing she were a man to do so. So it was an okay story, it's writing was too "overly" done for the most part - if that is making any sense.
  • Jill Meyer
    How many people reading this review of Mary Sharratt's novel, "Ecstasy". remember the work of a singer-songwriter popular in the 1960's named Tom Leher? He wrote satirical songs about famous people and events, one of whom was a Viennese temptress named Alma Schindler Mahler Gropius Werfel. His song about ASMGW became one of his best known because the woman behind the song led such an interesting life - full of music, art, and writing...and sex. N...
  • Caryn
    Review & giveaway on my blog:
  • Nicole Beaudry
    I really, really enjoyed Ecstasy by Mary Sharratt. It documents just over a decade of Alma Maria Schindler's life, from her first kiss with Gustav Klimt, her romance with Alexander Zemlinsky, through her courtship and marriage with the brilliant if dogmatic Gustav Mahler, and the first of her love affairs. Alma's life is not necessarily a happy one - in fact, the twelve or so years we spend with Alma are frequently unhappy. Sharratt does a great ...
  • Ethel (
    Gustav Klimt wanted to paint her, wanted to claim her body, as she was proclaimed one of the most beautiful girls in Vienna. Steeped in early 20th century gender bias, we see the beginning of a bohemian lifestyle for artistic women. Having fallen in love with Alex von Zeminsky who was giving her counterpoint lessons, she was forbidden by her parents to marry a Jew. However, it was Gustav Mahler, who was a successful composer and director of the V...
  • Stephanie (Bookfever)
    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 h...
  • Denise
    At the turn of the twentieth-century, one woman will defy all odds and define The Arts as no one before her has. Alma, a nineteen year old, living in Vienna, with dreams of becoming a composer. Unheard of during this particular time period, especially for a woman, she turns herself inside out in order to make her mark on the world. The torment, the challenges, the euphoria, sadness and romance; all a part of her as she fights to hold onto her fam...
  • Emma
    At the outset, Ecstasy showed a lot of promise. I was intrigued by the tale of a young, ambitious woman wanting to do away with the expectations placed upon her and follow her passion. Having studied the work of Gustav Klimt, and in the process become somewhat familiar with his contemporaries in the art world, I was eager to dive into the time period and learn more.Unfortunately the tale of Alma Mahler (nee Schindler) was anything but atypical. S...
  • Anya Leonard
    “Don’t you know that another person can also be a paradise?” Our protagonist Alma asks us in reference to her relationships with men. This book relates the story of Alma Maria Schindler-Mahler, admired by Gustav Klimt and Gustav Mahler. She is a strong female lead in an era of not very strong female characters. I greatly enjoyed the insight into the mind of a working composer and could tell that this novel was very closely researched in dep...