Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Historical Fiction Book Tours: A Thing Done

Publication Date:  October 30, 2012 | Fireship Press | 336p

SYNOPSIS:  Florence, 1216:  The noble families of Florence hold great power, but they do not share it easily.  Tensions simmer just below the surface.  When Corrado the Jester's prank-for-hire goes wrong, a brawl erupts between two rival factions.  Florence reels on the brink of civil war.  One side makes the traditional offer of a marriage to restore peace, but that fragile peace crumbles under the pressure of a woman's interference, an unforgivable insult, and an outraged cry for revenge.

Corrado is pressed into unwilling service as messenger by both sides.  Sworn to secrecy, he watches in horror as the headstrong knight Buondelmonte violates every code of honor to possess the woman he wants, while another woman, rejected and enraged, schemes to destroy him. 

Corrado already knows too much for his own safety.  Will Buondelmonte's reckless act trigger a full-scale vendetta?  And if it does, will even the Jester's famous wit and ingenuity be enough to keep himself alive and protect those dear to him?

This is Corrado's story, but it is also the story of three fiercely determined women in a society that allows them little initiative:  Selvaggia, the spurned bride; Gualdrada, the noblewoman who both tempts Buondelmonte and goads him; and Ghisola, Corrado's great-hearted friend.  From behind the scenes they will do what they must to achieve their goals—to avenge, to prevail, to survive.

Review:  This book was a step out of my usual historical fiction comfort zone, however it was well worth it.

Its intrigue pure and simple with a fool in the thick of things. For me the story started off a little slow, but that really had more to do with my getting used to a different type of story than I'm used to.

Once I became acclimated to world of Florence in 1216 the book took off for me. Tinney Sue Heath has definitely done her research here and she shows that in her great attention to detail.

The story focuses on one of the most famous feuds in Italian history. Corrado is the fool that started it with a harmless prank at a dinner party. Funny how something like a prank can bring about civil war!

You really feel for him, as he is drawn into the intrigue on both sides.  It reminded me a bit of The Queen's Fool by Phillipa Gregory, or rather how the fool was drawn into things, when really that was a position that wouldn't be cause for remark at all.

Corrado is a compelling character. For a person used to reading historical fiction from a woman's point of view, this was a refreshing change, and Corrado was very likable as where Neri and Ghisola.

Your heart will break for him as the story progresses. He wants to do the right thing, but because of being caught in the middle of the two families he can't.

Definitely a good read for fans of Italian history.

Rating: 4 flowers


Tinney Sue Heath has loved music and history all her life.  Born near Chicago, she started college in Boston at the New England Conservatory with the intention of becoming a professional flutist, but after a rather abrupt change of direction she wound up with a degree in journalism from Antioch College.  She worked as a staff reporter for the Chronicle of Higher Education and later provided editorial assistance to University of Wisconsin-based editors of two professional journals.

Her musical and historical interests eventually merged, and she discovered the pleasures of playing late medieval and early Renaissance music on a great variety of instruments.  Her historical focus is currently on Dante's Florence, so she and her husband spend a lot of time in Florence and elsewhere in Tuscany.  They live in Madison, Wisconsin, where they enjoy playing music and surrounding themselves with native wild plants.

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Judith Starkston said...

I also enjoyed this book. Great tour around the blogs.

Michelle Stockard Miller said...

Historical fiction set in 13th century Florence? Why wouldn't I want to? LOL! Seriously though, I love historical fiction and I have been hearing such great things about this one. Can't wait to read it!

Thanks for the giveaway!

Tinney Heath said...

Thanks so much for your comments, and for being part of my book tour.

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