The Gondola Maker
Author: Laura Morelli
Publisher: Laura Morelli
Award-winning historical fiction set in 16th-century Venice -Benjamin Franklin Digital Award -IPPY Award for Best Adult Fiction E-book -National Indie Excellence Award Finalist -Eric Hoffer Award Finalist -Shortlisted for the da Vinci Eye Prize From the author of Made in Italy comes a tale of artisanal tradition and family bonds set in one of the world's most magnificent settings: Renaissance Venice. Venetian gondola-maker Luca Vianello considers his whole life arranged. His father charted a course for his eldest son from the day he was born, and Luca is positioned to inherit one of the city’s most esteemed boatyards. Soon he will marry the daughter of an artisan prow-maker, securing a key business alliance for the family. But when Luca experiences an unexpected tragedy in the boatyard, he believes that his destiny lies elsewhere. Soon he finds himself drawn to restore an antique gondola with the dream of taking a girl for a ride. The Gondola Maker brings the centuries-old art of gondola-making to life in the tale of a young man's complicated relationship with his master-craftsman father. Lovers of historical fiction will appreciate the authentic details of gondola craftsmanship, along with an intimate first-person narrative set against the richly textured backdrop of 16th-century Venice. "I'm a big fan of Venice, so I appreciate Laura Morelli's special knowledge of the city, the period, and the process of gondola-making. An especially compelling story." --Frances Mayes, author of Under the Tuscan Sun "Laura Morelli has done her research, or perhaps she was an Italian carpenter in another life. One can literally smell and feel the grain of finely turned wood in her hands." --Pamela Sheldon Johns, author of Italian Food Artisans "Romance, intrigue, family loyalty, pride, and redemption set against the backdrop of Renaissance Italy." --Library of Clean Reads "Beautiful, powerful evocation of the characters, the place, and the time. An elegant and thoroughly engaging narrative voice." --Mark Spencer, author of Fiction Club: A Concise Guide to Writing Good Fiction
Daughter of Venice
Author: Donna Jo Napoli
Publisher: Laurel Leaf
Frustrated with the restrictions her gender imposes on her life, fourteen-year-old Donata, disguised as a boy, sneaks out of her noble family's house to roam the streets of late sixteenth-century Venice.
Author: Scott Stavrou
Surrounded by beauty, can you learn to live beautifully? Travel marketing executive Mark Vandermar leads an itinerant life. Elsewhere is where he calls home, so it's no surprise when he's called to Venice to help craft the Venice Tourism Council's new campaign to attract skittish post-September 11 American tourism dollars.As he gets to know Venice's colorful campos and canals, his relationship with Venice grows more complex and its fascinating history both influences him and becomes a mirror reflecting the turbulence of the early twenty first century. In addition to Venice, Mark's journey of discovery unfolds among some of Europe's most captivating locales, including Prague, Budapest and the Greek islands where he encounters a cast of compelling characters that lead to life-changing consequences.The geography of his new life is marked with discovery and reinvention, but what he really seeks is to learn to live beautifully, to find a place and a person to call home.Like the finest expatriate novels, Losing Venice is as richly textured as its fabled locales and dives deeply into the possibilities, perils, and pleasures of learning how not to be lost."This funny, poignant account of failure that turns to success is beautiful...it captures a moment and place that though, in the recent past, seems as distant as Hemingway's Paris-and as important. A reminder of what the business of literature, of loving is. All lovers of the art of writing and romance should read it."George Crane, best-selling author of Bones of the Master and Beyond the House of the False Lama"...this remarkable, beautifully written novel is packed with excitement and absurdity, longing and love, but its triumph is its narrative. Therein lies its magic that creates and sustains the music of the novel...these comedic and poetic patterns¿show us that we all, whether we know it or not, possess the ability to fill each moment, great or small, with life, love, and curiosity if we just make the gesture. Losing Venice is a wonderful book. A damned wonderful book."Larry Francis, author of An Anthropology of Anonymity
From the author of ebook bestseller The Apothecary's Daughter 1688. Beth Ambrose has led a sheltered life within Merryfields, her family home on the outskirts of London; a place where her parents provide a sanctuary for melancholic souls. A passionate and gifted artist, Beth shares a close bond with Johannes the painter, who nurtures her talents and takes her on as his apprentice. But as political tensions begin to rise in the capital, Noah Leyton arrives at her family home in the middle of the night with a proposition that turns Beth's world upside down. And when Merryfields becomes refuge to a mysterious new guest, whose connections provide an opportunity for Beth to fulfil her artistic ambitions, she soon realises that it comes at a price . . .
By Fire, By Water
Author: Mitchell James Kaplan
Publisher: Other Press, LLC
Recipient of the Independent Publishers Award for Historical Fiction (Gold Medal), the Foreword Book of the Year Award for Historical Fiction (Bronze Medal), and an honorable mention in the category of General Fiction for the Eric Hoffer Award. Luis de Santángel, chancellor to the court and longtime friend of the lusty King Ferdinand, has had enough of the Spanish Inquisition. As the power of Inquisitor General Tomás de Torquemada grows, so does the brutality of the Spanish church and the suspicion and paranoia it inspires. When a dear friend’s demise brings the violence close to home, Santángel is enraged and takes retribution into his own hands. But he is from a family of conversos, and his Jewish heritage makes him an easy target. As Santángel witnesses the horrific persecution of his loved ones, he begins slowly to reconnect with the Jewish faith his family left behind. Feeding his curiosity about his past is his growing love for Judith Migdal, a clever and beautiful Jewish woman navigating the mounting tensions in Granada. While he struggles to decide what his reputation is worth and what he can sacrifice, one man offers him a chance he thought he’d lost…the chance to hope for a better world. Christopher Columbus has plans to discover a route to paradise, and only Luis de Santángel can help him. Within the dramatic story lies a subtle, insightful examination of the crisis of faith at the heart of the Spanish Inquisition. Irresolvable conflict rages within the conversos in By Fire, By Water, torn between the religion they left behind and the conversion meant to ensure their safety. In this story of love, God, faith, and torture, fifteenth-century Spain comes to dazzling, engrossing life.
The Botticelli Secret
Author: Marina Fiorato
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
In this exhilarating cross between The Da Vinci Code and The Birth of Venus, an irrepressible young woman in 15th-century Italy must flee for her life after stumbling upon a deadly secret when she serves as a model for Botticelli... When part-time model and full-time prostitute Luciana Vetra is asked by one of her most exalted clients to pose for a painter friend, she doesn't mind serving as the model for the central figure of Flora in Sandro Botticelli's masterpiece "Primavera." But when the artist dismisses her without payment, Luciana impulsively steals an unfinished version of the painting--only to find that somone is ready to kill her to get it back. What could possibly be so valuable about the picture? As friends and clients are slaughtered around her, Luciana turns to the one man who has never desired her beauty, novice librarian Brother Guido. Fleeing Venice together, Luciana and Guido race through the nine cities of Renaissance Italy, pursued by ruthless foes who are determined to keep them from decoding the painting's secrets. Gloriously fresh and vivid, with a deliciously irreverent heroine, The Botticelli Secret is an irresistible blend of history, wit, and suspense.
The Secret of the Glass
Author: Donna Russo Morin
The Murano glassmakers of Venice are celebrated and revered. But now three are dead, killed for attempting to leave the city that both prized their work and kept them prisoner. For in this, the 17th century, the secret of their craft must, by law, never leave Venetian shores. Yet there is someone who keeps the secret while defying tradition. She is Sophia Fiolario, and she, too, is a glassmaker. Her crime is being a woman. . . Sophia is well aware that her family would be crushed by scandal if the truth of her knowledge and skill with glass were revealed. But there has never been any threat. . .until now. A wealthy nobleman with strong connections to the powerful Doge has requested her hand in marriage, and her refusal could draw dangerous attention. Yet having to accept and cease her art would devastate her. If there is an escape, Sophia intends to find it. Now, between creating precious glass parts for one of Professor Galileo Galilei's astonishing inventions and attending lavish parties at the Doge's Palace, Sophia is crossing paths with very influential people--including one who could change her life forever. But in Venice, every secret has its price. And Sophia must decide how much she is willing to pay. Praise for Donna Russo Morin's The Courtier's Secret "As opulent and sparkling as Louis XIV's court and as filled with intrigue, passion and excitement as a novel by Dumas. . .a feast for the senses." --Romantic Times (4 stars) "Vivid, delightful, spirited. . .a page-turner as smooth as fine cognac." –Steven Manchester, author of The Unexpected Storm "A wonderfully spun gem of a story." --Armchair Reviews Reading Group Guide Inside
Author: Laura Rahme
In this late medieval tale of mystery and witchcraft, Laura Rahme breathes life into a Venice long forgotten. From the dark sottoporticos of the Arsenal, to the wealthy mansions of Castello, and deep within the secret passages of the Ducal Palace, The Mascherari is an occult tale rich with history. VENEZIA, 1422. Doge Tommaso Mocenigo lies on his death bed. An evil has come to Venice. An evil that will set the course for the future of La Serenissima. On the eve of Carnivale, five wealthy Venetian merchants set upon a mask maker in the ancient district of Santa Croce. They are led by Giacomo Contarini, a ruthless patrician. The following day, the Venice Republic's security council, the most feared Council of Ten, summons Florentine inquisitor, Antonio da Parma, to hold an inquest on a most baffling case. During a sumptuous banquet, Giacomo Contarini and his partners have met a chilling death. Newly widowed and fresh from Florence, Antonio da Parma's reputation precedes him. He is known for his susceptibility to the occult and is sternly warned that The Council of Ten want none of that. Yet in the throes of this macabre investigation Antonio is lured by his dreams and visions and by the mysterious silver pendant that he discovers on one of the dead merchants. Enter the dashing Esteban del Valle, a formidable swordmaster of Nubian origins. Esteban grieves his stolen inheritance and the death of his Catalan adopted father. He survives, mysteriously, through the influence of high ranking patricians. He never removes his mask and has sworn to reclaim his wealth. Noble Catarina Contarini has a sad tale to tell. Her husband's death weighs upon her and so too, do the scandalous accusations that have been raised against him. In her grief, she confides in Antonio and reveals her shocking secrets. But Catarina's darkest secret concerns a witch; a Napoletana named Magdalena. Antonio is drawn ever closer to the magnetic Magdalena. He unveils the truth behind the merchants' murders and comes face to face with a machination of monstrous evil. Through this fascinating Magdalena, an enchanter of admirals and merchants alike, Antonio begins to realize that his true quest is one he could never have imagined. Weaving historical mystery and the supernatural, The Mascherari evokes a Venice that will leave your breathless.
The Violinist of Venice
Author: Alyssa Palombo
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Like most 18th century Venetians, Adriana d'Amato adores music—except her strict merchant father has forbidden her to cultivate her gift for the violin. But she refuses to let that stop her from living her dreams and begins sneaking out of her family's palazzo under the cover of night to take violin lessons from virtuoso violinist and composer Antonio Vivaldi. However, what begins as secret lessons swiftly evolves into a passionate, consuming love affair. Adriana's father is intent on seeing her married to a wealthy, prominent member of Venice's patrician class—and a handsome, charming suitor, whom she knows she could love, only complicates matters—but Vivaldi is a priest, making their relationship forbidden in the eyes of the Church and of society. They both know their affair will end upon Adriana's marriage, but she cannot anticipate the events that will force Vivaldi to choose between her and his music. The repercussions of his choice—and of Adriana's own choices—will haunt both of their lives in ways they never imagined. Spanning more than 30 years of Adriana's life, Alyssa Palombo's The Violinist of Venice is a story of passion, music, ambition, and finding the strength to both fall in love and to carry on when it ends.
The Orphan of Florence
Author: Jeanne Kalogridis
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
In this irresistible historical novel set in the turbulent world of the Medicis, a young woman finds herself driven from pick-pocketing to espionage when she meets a mysterious man. Giulia has been an orphan all her life. Raised in Florence's famous Ospedale degli Innocenti, her probing questions and insubordinate behavior made her an unwelcome presence, and at the age of fifteen, she was given an awful choice: become a nun, or be married off to a man she didn't love. She chose neither, and after refusing an elderly suitor, Giulia escaped onto the streets of Florence. Now, after spending two years as a successful pickpocket, an old man catches her about to make off with his purse, and rather than having her carted off to prison he offers her a business proposition. The man claims to be a cabalist, a student of Jewish mysticism and ritual magic, who works for the most powerful families in Florence. But his identity is secret—he is known only as "the Magician of Florence"—and he is in need of an assistant. She accepts the job and begins smuggling his talismans throughout the city. But the talismans are not what they seem, and neither is the Magician. When Giulia's involvement with him ends with his murder, she's drawn into a treacherous web of espionage and deceit involving the forces of Rome, Naples, and a man known as Lorenzo the Magnificent. Accused of the Magician's murder, Giulia is pursued by the handsome policeman Niccolo, Lorenzo's henchmen, and foreign spies, and in order to survive, she must not only solve the mystery of the mystery of the Magician's murder, but that of her own past.
The Venetian Bargain
Author: Marina Fiorato
Venice, 1576. Five years after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire at the Battle of Lepanto, a ship steals unnoticed into Venice bearing a deadly cargo. A man, more dead than alive, disembarks and staggers into Piazza San Marco. He brings a gift to Venice from Constantinople. Within days the city is infected with bubonic plague--and the Turkish Sultan has his revenge. But the ship also holds a secret stowaway--Feyra, a young and beautiful harem doctor fleeing a future as the Sultan's concubine. Only her wits and medical knowledge keep her alive as the plague ravages Venice. In despair, the Doge commissions the architect Andrea Palladio to build the greatest church of his career--an offering to God so magnificent that Venice will be saved. But Palladio's life is in danger too, and it will require all the skills of Annibale Cason, the city's finest plague doctor, to keep him alive. What Annibale had not counted on was meeting Feyra, who is now under Palladio's protection--an impossible woman whose medical skills and determination are matched only by his own. From Marina Fiorato, author of the acclaimed historical novel The Glassblower of Murano, comes a triumphant return to historical Venice with Venetian Bargain.
A History of Venice
Author: John Julius Norwich
Publisher: Penguin UK
John Julius Norwich's dazzling history of Venice from its origins to its eighteenth century fall. 'Lord Norwich has loved and understood Venice as well as any other Englishman has ever done. He has put readers of his generation more in his debt than any other English writer' Peter Levi, The Sunday Times.
Oil and Marble
Author: Stephanie Storey
Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.
Traces the aftermath of the 1996 Venice opera house fire, an event that devastated Venetian society and was investigated by the author, who through interviews with local figures learned about the region's rich cultural history.
Antonia of Venice
Author: Ellyn Peirson
Very few people knew her, despite her eventual fame as "La Stella di Venezia." Antonio Vivaldi, violinist and composer, created her and made her his lifetime project. Based on the scant biographies of Antonio Vivaldi and his lifetime companion, Anna Giraud, Antonia of Venice is an unveiling of love, connected souls, music, power and tragedy. The story lures the reader into the beauty and decadence of 18th century Venetian society and into the passions that drive and often torment its characters. Antonia, prodigy of the violin and voice, develops from being Vivaldi's star pupil at the Ospedale della Pieta into his musical colleague and the pride of Venetian musical conceit. In her adoration of the mercurial, lapsed priest, Antonia assumes the new identity of Anna and dedicates her life to his authority. Prioress Paolina Giraud, whose surname Antonia adopts, is the moderating, loving, rational presence in the lives of the two musicians. Vivaldi's domination of the Republic's baroque ethos and his control of Antonia are challenged during Siena's Palio in July, 1725, when Vivaldi and an ensemble of Venice's best musicians add a musical fibre to the ancient celebration. In Siena, Antonia meets and falls in love with Orlando Sagredo, master planner of the Palio, and recognizes the emotional bondage she has never questioned. Kidnapped and returned to Venice, Antonia and Paolina generate a plan that leads to reunion and murder. Antonia of Venice is inhabited by brilliant musicians, avaricious politicians and ineffectual rulers of the Republic of Venice. Through it all, the people and music Antonia loves take the reader into the depths of revenge and selflessness. Antonia of Venice advances the timeless, feminine heroic as a powerful and equal partner to the masculine.