It is the time of Vivaldi. No longer at its apex of power, Venice seems more than ever to be sinking into the sea. Torn between the modern world and the medieval, religious order and secular desire, old money and new, the inhabitants of the floating city live their lives vying for whatever power the water might afford them.
Maddalena is no exception. A young girl from an aristocratic family embroiled in scandal, she faces marriage or extinction. And so, at the Feast of the Ascension, as the Doge marries the city to the sea, she looks to the sea as a source of control. She wishes on the mysterious force she sees in its dark and murky waves, for the thing she desires most—not sweeping social change, not even sovereignty over her own body, but to be seen and recognized by someone, anyone. When she enters the prestigious Ospedale della Pietà conservatory and meets the young violin prodigy Louisa, she knows immediately that she’s been granted her wish.