Wednesday, September 05, 2012

The Courtesan's Lover by Gabrielle Kimm

Genre: Historical Fiction
Publication Date: 1st May 2012
Pages: 504
Book Source: Review copy courtesy Little, Brown Book

Synopsis: Francesca Felizzi, former mistress of the Duke of Ferrara, 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 truly been loved. Suddenly, her glittering and sumptuous life becomes a gaudy facade. 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.


My Thoughts:
This was my first read by Gabrielle Kimm but it certainly won't be my last. I loved her writing style - a captivating historical setting, colourful embellishment, and enough sentiment to have you caring for the characters. Renaissance Italy, in particular 16th century Naples is described with the all the passion and vibrancy expected of this era.

Francesca Felizzi is a secondary character from Gabrielle Kimm's debut novel His Last Duchess but I can assure you The Courtesan's Lover is a stand-alone novel. I'll be picking up His Last Duchess simply because I enjoy Gabrielle's writing so much. 

Francesca a talented courtesan is feisty, unconventional and independent, loving mother to twins and possessed of a quiet dignity that had me feeling both respect and compassion for her. With clients ranging from rich and influential to downright dangerous, Francesca and her manservant Modesto lead anything but a dull life. 

When a young, inexperienced client stirs up feelings of dissatisfaction in Francesca along with the possibility of deserving and finding love, the story and Francesca's life takes a new and exciting path but ... the road to love is anything but smooth. 

Kimm portrays Francesca with the frankness required to communicate the intimacies of a courtesan's life but the details aren't overly graphic and there's certainly nothing gratuitous. I cared about Francesca's manservant Modesto, he's a loyal friend and protector to Francesca and their relationship is quite touching. The story behind Modesto's castration is really sad, I was completely unaware that castration of young boys to achieve a soprano voice was only banned in 1903 ... how barbaric!

The Courtesan's Lover is a story to be both devoured and savoured, 500 plus pages flew by and by the end I was sad to say goodbye to Francesca and her family. 


Visit Gabrielle Kimm on her website to find out more about this author and her work.




11 comments:

  1. Wonderful review, Teddyree. I think I need to make room for a historical read month or week in the future. There is so many books in that genre that I want to read but I very rarely pick any of them up.

    I cannot say that I have much knowledge of the Renaissance period in Italy, so this should be an interesting read for me. I've added this book and the first one by the author on my GR wishlist.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This year I've read a couple of historical fiction set in Renaissance Italy, enjoyable after so many in England ;)

      Delete
    2. Gabrielle's next one is also set in Renaissance Italy, not due out til Nov 2013 though

      Delete
  2. Wonderful review Teddyree. My first love of reading is historical romance but that has mostly been limited to Scotland and England and I have a desire to stretch the boundaries. Italy I would imagine has a very rich history. Will certainly be adding this author to my 'to-read' list.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you'd like this one Karen, it's a bit of adventure but ultimately a love story :)

      Delete
  3. This sounds really good!! I am going to have to check into this one!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for popping in and commenting Julie :)

      Delete
  4. The castration thing *shudders* People were crazy back then, well still are

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. sure were B, just a different crazy now lol

      Delete
  5. I can't imagine how anyone would think it would be okay to castrate a boy!!!!!!! But wow...I'm loving your line- "book to be devoured and savored." Yep, this is one for me!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. they did it before the boy reached puberty ... cruel hey!

      Delete

Thanks for taking the time to leave some comment love, I'm a 'comment back' kinda girl. Don't forget to check the 'Notify me' box