Delve into Secrets and the World of Music with 'The Prague Sonata'

Delve into Secrets and the World of Music with 'The Prague Sonata'

Thursday, 25 March, 2021

The right book can instantly transport you to anywhere — and anytime — in the world. Every Thursday, we recommend one of our favorite books with a strong sense of place so you can see the sights, meet remarkable people, go on exciting adventures, and feel big feelings. Bonus: You don't even have to put on pants.

This post is part of our 'Weekend Getaway' series.


This weekend, take a journey that will take you to modern-day Prague and the Nazi-occupied city of WWII. You’ll meet an unforgettable heroine — dealing with her own tragic past — get caught up in the dangerous puzzle surrounding a priceless music manuscript.

When a musical score with mysterious origins — could it be a lost work of Beethoven or Mozart?! — is discovered in Queens, New York, a young pianist embarks on a life-changing adventure to identify its composer and to rebuild the life she’s lost.

Our heroine is Meta, a prodigy whose career was cut short by a tragic accident — a situation about which she, understandably, still has plenty of baggage. Distanced from her family, her fiancé, and even her best friend, she falls under the spell of possibility represented by the puzzling manuscript. Against everyone’s advice, she takes off for Prague to investigate.

On her quest, Meta finds herself safely among new friends who are committed to helping her find the truth. And she’s at the mercy of new, dangerous enemies who are equally determined to have the manuscript for themselves.

As Meta pokes around the cobbled streets and narrow alleys of Prague’s neighborhoods, the story travels back in time, immersing us in the bitter legacy of two world wars and the unpredictable effect the manuscript has had on everyone who’s come in contact with it.

The dread and uncertainty of the Nazi invasion and post-WWII Prague is palpable, as is Meta’s legitimate fear of the shadowy figures that stalk her through the city. There is a tender (and realistic) romance, plenty of lyrical language about music and art, secrets, dangerous truths, friendship, and pulse-quickening accounts of some of the most significant events in Prague’s history.

By the time the truth of the musical score is realized, Meta has become a woman transformed, and the past can finally be laid to rest.

[T]hey ate what was ordered for the table to share. Klobása, roast pork loin with heavy dumplings, a fried breaded cheese called smažený sýr, and what had apparently been Irena’s favorite dish on the menu, pečená kachna, a crispy Long Island duck served with red cabbage and potato pancakes. — Bradford Morrow

The Prague Sonata

by Bradford Morrow

This musical mystery (528 pages) was published in October of 2017 by Atlantic Monthly Press. The book takes you to Prague. Melissa read The Prague Sonata and loved it; it wouldn't be on our site if she didn't recommend it. is an online bookstore with a mission to financially support independent bookstores and give back to the book community.

The Prague Sonata


Top image courtesy of Ryan Lum/Unsplash.

Want to keep up with our book-related adventures? Sign up for our newsletter!

keep reading

This weekend, we recommend a getaway to Bulgaria... where you'll visit the capital city, explore mystical hilltop monasteries, get caught up in the secret histories of two world wars, and fall in love.
This weekend, travel back to the 1940s with Bernie Gunther, a good detective and good man in bad circumstances. You'll visit Yugoslavia, go toe-to-toe with Joseph Goebbels, fall in love — and oh! solve a murder.
This weekend, escape to turn-of-the-century New York and meet two unlikely new friends: a Jewish golem from Poland and an Arab jin from Egypt. Their history divides them; their adventures will bring them together.
Episode 01 of The Strong Sense of Place podcast — Prague: Cobblestones and Castles. Prague is the capital of the Czech Republic, world's best beer, and ghosts.
Prague's stunning architecture and magical atmosphere make it one of Europe's must-visit cities. But we love it because it's full of stories. Everywhere you look, there's a tale to be told, a mystery to unravel.
The novel 'Goulash' reads like a memoir of an American expat's adventures in 1998 Prague. It was a dynamic time for the city, but some things stay the same: the pubs, the beer, and good, honest Czech food.
The Municipal Library of Prague (_Městská knihovna v Praze_) is close to the city center, and it's a quiet, magical place to escape the crush of Old Town and relax in the serenity of bookland. Visitors welcome.
Soft light illuminates floor-to-ceiling shelves of gilt-spined books in the libraries of the Strahov Monastery. But it's not all Latin texts and antique globes: a narwhal horn and a giant crab decorate the hallway.
Gilded bookshelves, antique globes, allegorical ceiling frescoes, thousands of books, church ruins, trompe l'oeil — we took it all in on a tour of the Strahov Monastery Library and the Břevnov Monastery in Prague.

sharing is caring!

Can you help us? If you like this article, share it your friends!

our mission

Strong Sense of Place is a website and podcast dedicated to literary travel and books we love. Reading good books increases empathy. Empathy is good for all of us and the amazing world we inhabit.

our patreon

Strong Sense of Place is a listener-supported podcast. If you like the work we do, you can help make it happen by joining our Patreon! That'll unlock bonus content for you, too — including Mel's secret book reviews and Dave's behind-the-scenes notes for the latest Two Truths and a Lie.

get our newsletter

Join our Substack to get our FREE newsletter with podcast updates and behind-the-scenes info join in fun chats about books and travel.

no spoilers. ever.

We'll share enough detail to help you decide if a book is for you, but we'll never ruin plot twists or give away the ending.

super-cool reading fun
reading atlas

This 30-page Reading Atlas takes you around the world with dozens of excellent books and gorgeous travel photos. Get your free copy when you subscribe to our newsletter.

get our newsletter
Sign up for our free Substack!
follow us

Content on this site is ©2024 by Smudge Publishing, unless otherwise noted. Peace be with you, person who reads the small type.