Theresa Maria lives a modest yet comfortable life with her younger brother, mother, and her father, who is a violinist in the orchestra of Prince Nicholas Esterhazy of Vienna. When her father is murdered on Christmas Eve, his body found at a gypsy camp outside of Vienna and his priceless violin missing, not only is Theresa devastated, but desperate for answers. Why would someone murder her kind father, a simple musician? In her pursuit for answers and in looking after her family, Theresa discovers some startling secrets, revealed to her by her godfather, the maestro of the orchestra, and her father's fellow violinist, Zoltan, that will lead her on a path to justice and danger.
The Musician's Daughter is a lively and suspenseful read that will take readers to the glittering life of 18th century Vienna, but also offers a look at the darker aspects of the time. Dunlap offers a very authentic and accurate look at the times and social aspects, as Theresa struggles to find way to feed her family, and worries about her pregnant mother and how her family will cope with the loss of her father. But there are political elements in the story as well, as Dunlap reveals a government that is not always fair and is prone to corruption.
Though a little slow at first, The Musician's Daughter soon picks up, becoming a fast paced and action-packed race to stop many injustices and to keep Theresa's family safe from harm. At times it may be a little hard to keep certain minor characters straight and to keep up with the whereabouts of everyone, but the excitement and danger will keep a tight rein on readers. Dunlap has created a shining, adventurous novel with an admirable and plucky heroine that is sure to entertain.