Wednesday, April 12, 2006

33. "In the Company of the Courtesan" ~ Sarah Dunant

Before reading a fabulous review of this book, I thought it was another historical romance ("not that there's anything wrong with that"). Courtesan = sex = bodice-ripper.

Instead, I found a fascinating look into the historical era of reformation in Rome. The book begins with the Protestants' takeover of Rome and the courtesan, Fiammetta Bianchini, planning her escape to Venice with her partner in crime, a dwarf named Bucino.

Dwarf. Courtesan. Not a romance.

In fact, there is little romance found in the life of a courtesan. The story is told through Bucino's point of view, a down-in-the-gutter perspective, and not just because of his height. Backstabbing, trickery, gambling... and all to keep his mistress in business.

Fiammetta is beautiful, yet cunning. Bucino is understandably horrific, necessary to keep the wheels running. The supporting characters, like Fiammetta and Bucino, are lonely, which only makes it seem like more like a strange, dysfunctional extended family.

I'm impressed with Dunant's depth of research. Well written and perfectly described.

4.75 out of 5.0 Mulled Wines.


Becky said...

Have you read The Birth of Venus? I couldn't get into that one at all, so I haven't bothered even checking this one out.

Kristin Dodge said...

I haven't read that one. I'd enter into this novel's realm without bias. I kept waiting for more sex, but the purposeful lack of it created its own tension.

Lotus Reads said...

I just finished reading "In the Company of the Courtesan". I found it hard to get into at first, but around 150 pages into the book, I was hooked!