Maria

Maria

A Novel of Maria von Trapp

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July 30, 2024 | ISBN 9780593909768

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About the Book

Maria von Trapp. You know the name and the iconic songs, but do you know her real story? This dramatic novel, based on the woman glamorized in The Sound of Music, brings Maria to life as never before.

“As immersive, heartbreaking, and ultimately redemptive as the musical . . . This one is not to be missed.”—Allison Pataki, author of Finding Margaret Fuller

In the 1950s, Oscar Hammerstein is asked to write the lyrics to a musical based on the life of a woman named Maria von Trapp. He’s intrigued to learn that she was once a novice who hoped to live quietly as an Austrian nun before her abbey sent her away to teach a widowed baron’s sickly child. What should have been a ten-month assignment, however, unexpectedly turned into a marriage proposal. And when the family was forced to flee their home to escape the Nazis, it was Maria who instructed them on how to survive using nothing but the power of their voices.

It’s an inspirational story, to be sure, and as half of the famous Rodgers & Hammerstein duo, Hammerstein knows it has big Broadway potential. Yet much of Maria’s life will have to be reinvented for the stage, and with the horrors of war still fresh in people’s minds, Hammerstein can’t let audiences see just how close the von Trapps came to losing their lives.

But when Maria sees the script that is supposedly based on her life, she becomes so incensed that she sets off to confront Hammerstein in person. Told that he’s busy, she is asked to express her concerns to his secretary, Fran, instead. The pair strike up an unlikely friendship as Maria tells Fran about her life, contradicting much of what will eventually appear in The Sound of Music.

A tale of love, loss, and the difficult choices that we are often forced to make, Maria is a powerful reminder that the truth is usually more complicated—and certainly more compelling—than the stories immortalized by Hollywood.
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Praise for Maria

“Readers, prepare to meet the real Maria, a complex and compelling leading lady who will both delight and surprise all who feel they already know the story of the fabled von Trapp family. Michelle Moran has delivered a gem of a novel, rich in historic detail, page-turning pacing, and lyrical, lush storytelling. As immersive, heartbreaking, and ultimately redemptive as the musical for which Maria von Trapp is so widely known and loved, this one is not to be missed. Brava!”—Allison Pataki, New York Times bestselling author of Finding Margaret Fuller

“In Maria, Michelle Moran has revealed a fresh view of a beloved family’s story, the glamorous world of 1950s New York, and a fascinating peek behind the curtain of the writing and production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s masterpiece The Sound of Music. It’s pure delight from start to finish.”—Erika Robuck, nationally bestselling author of Sisters of Night and Fog

“For anyone who loved The Sound of Music, and I am one, Michelle Moran’s beautifully drawn portrait of Maria von Trapp will add multiple dimensions to your understanding of the beloved classic. With meticulous research and a fine sense of style, Maria evokes the real miracle of the incredible singing von Trapp family, and it brings their story vividly to life. Getting to know the real woman behind the beloved story will only make you love her more.”—Elizabeth Letts, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Finding Dorothy

Maria looks at a well-known story with fresh eyes. Alternating between the life and experiences of beloved heroine Maria von Trapp in the 1940s and the perils of adapting her story for the silver screen years later, Moran adds new dimensions to a story that has captivated hearts and minds for decades. Heartwarming, earnest, and endlessly fascinating, the hills truly do come alive with the sound of music in this deftly crafted tale.”—Aimie K. Runyan, bestselling author of The Memory of Lavender and Sage

“Michelle Moran is back! In Maria, Moran makes a triumphant return in offering readers a captivating and fast-paced journey through the life of Maria von Trapp. Perfect for a relaxing afternoon, this novel is a must-read for fans of The Sound of Music, presenting a fresh perspective of a legendary figure. It’s also a clever book, going meta by illuminating the musical’s creative choices, thereby exploring the interplay between history and historical fiction.”—Stephanie Dray, New York Times bestselling author of My Dear Hamilton and Becoming Madam Secretary
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About the Author

Michelle Moran
Michelle Moran is the internationally bestselling author of many historical novels. A California native with a master’s in education, she was inspired to write historical fiction by her experiences on archeological digs. Her novels, translated into more than twenty languages, include Nefertiti, The Heretic Queen, Cleopatra’s Daughter, Madame Tussaud, The Second Empress, Rebel Queen, Mata Hari's Last Dance, and Maria. A frequent traveler, she currently lives with her family in England. More by Michelle Moran
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