Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Courtesan's Lover

New Release! 

In a spin-off from her first novel, His Last Duchess, Kimm takes the character of Francesca, formerly the mistress of the complex duke of Ferrara, and places her centre-stage in her own novel.  Francesca is now an aspiring courtesan:  astonishingly beautiful and ambitious, she revels in the power she wields over men.

But when she is visited by an inexperienced young man, it becomes horribly clear to Francesca that, despite her many admiring patrons, she has never been truly loved.  Suddenly, her glittering and sumptuous life becomes little more than a gaudy fa├žade.

And then another unexpected encounter brings with it devastating implications that plunge Francesca and her two young daughters into the sort of danger she has dreaded ever since she began to work the streets all those years ago

In 16th century Italy, Francesca Felizzi, former lover of the Duke of Ferrara, is one of the most sought after, shrewdest, and most talented courtesans in all of Naples. But she leads a dual life. When she is not otherwise engaged with her paying lovers, she is a loving mother to her two young daughters. Francesca keeps her two lives separate, and it is this which makes Francesca a highly believable and likeable character.

Modesto is a castrato, a loyal, dedicated, lonely man who truly loves Francesca and aids her unselfishly in her work and in her family life. Of course there is a list of Francesca’s clients, some of whom are a bit quirky, some charming, and some who border on being outright dangerous. Although there are numerous sex scenes in this book, they are tastefully written and kept to a minimum.

Italian historical fiction is my favourite genre and I usually read numerous books in this category. Gabrielle Kimm did an exceptional job in adding a realistic and vibrant flavour to the setting. Throughout, there are sprinklings of the most fascinating characters. One scene in particular was most entertaining – poor Father Ippolito, who must battle his own lust each time he listens to Francesca as she confesses the details of her lurid life. When Francesca falls in love, she gives up her life as a courtesan, while keeping her past a secret. But fate conspires against her and soon, her secret is discovered. This sets off a hectic chain of events that is more than intriguing and adds suspense to an already fascinating story.

Gabrielle Kimm has penned an entertaining tale brimming with vibrant imagery, suspense, and poignancy. A definite keeper! And don’t worry if you haven’t read the first novel, His Last Duchess. This book stands alone and you’ll have no problem falling into this very lovely story.



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