The Historical Novel Review is pleased to debut a new aspect of our review blog, our Featured Author, a week-long showcase of historical fiction authors and their works. We’re even prouder that the first Featured Author is our own longtime contributor Mirella Patzer, author of Bloodstone Castle.
In a haze of blood and death, Morena Monterossa, daughter of the Count of Portovenere, enters the world. As her mother Vittoria’s lifeblood ebbs, she wills her daughter a precious keepsake; a bloodstone pendant passed from mother to daughter. The pendant is the key to an ancient Roman treasure, buried somewhere in the count’s castle.
So begins Mirella Patzer’s recent release, Bloodstone Castle. Ms. Patzer transports her readers to the medieval Italian states, where Amoro Dragone vows to fulfill a deathbed promise he’s sworn to his murdered father. But there’s a problem with his plan – his intended bride Morena Monterossa is the daughter of a long-time rival, betrothed from childhood to Ernesto Boccanera, the Duke of Savona. Despite Amoro’s determination, Morena is very clear about her unwillingness to break the betrothal pact. But her suitor isn’t so easily swayed. He lays siege to her castle and her heart.
Morena must choose between the duty which binds her to the past and the promise of love that beckons in Amoro’s eyes. She travels with him to Genoa, to the safety and comfort of Amoro’s familial estate. But the continued presence of Amoro’s spurned lover, Laria, threatens her hope of life with Amoro. And while Morena and Amoro make their bid for happiness, Ernesto of Savona plots to have his way. He has not forgotten his betrothal contract. Desperate and determined, he’ll do anything to have Morena and the famed hidden treasure beneath her father’s castle.
Morena is not immune to Amoro’s confident charm and he is enthralled by her beauty and daring. His seductive kisses and touch tempt her to surrender but she chafes against his protective nature. She defies him in an act of rebellion and finds herself the prisoner of Ernesto. Amoro and Ernesto challenge in each other in a contest of wills, where Amoro risks his very life for honor’s sake and his love of Morena. Cruel Ernesto keeps the lovers apart, until an unlikely ally changes all their fortunes.
Ms. Patzer seduces the reader with her breath-taking settings and unforgettable characters. Amoro’s passion and strength makes him the ultimate hero and in Morena’s courage and devotion, she is his perfect mate. Ernesto’s depraved nature makes him a dangerous and unpredictable rival. From windswept fortresses to lush Italian countryside, this is an engrossing story. It was a great pleasure to review Bloodstone Castle, both for my love of the characters and their story, and my admiration of Ms. Patzer’s talents. I’m pleased to know her as a wonderful friend and an accomplished writer.