Multi-volume, multi-genre author, Melissa Rea introduces us to her steamy, historical-fiction tale about love and betrayal in old Venice, “Maestro”:
Gabriella stands on a gallows one day before her 19th birthday in 1718. She tells her story to a young blacksmith, a surly milkmaid, and a mute dwarf who is much more than the muckraker he seems.
The pampered daughter of a count, Gabriella's entire existence has been her music, until one afternoon's sensual exploration leads to the shame of two noble families and her exile to a convent school for orphan girls, the Ospedale della Pieta in Venice, Italy. Antonio Vivaldi, the school's Maestro of the Concerto, teaches the students and composes inspired by their talent and beauty.
She tells of her friend, Veronica, a sublimely talented violinist whose cold eyes hide tragic secrets and of whose murder she now stands convicted. With tears in her eyes, she speaks of her love, Raphael, the handsome overseer whom she had planned to marry. The story of her desperate attempt to learn the truth of a terrible curse that took her own child's life, and save Veronica from a dark affair, holds the crowd's rapt attention.
Now she must escape with the help of her friends, from the Ospedale, and perhaps those in the crowd assembled to watch her hang.
I enjoyed the story so much. It is rich, like a wonderful dessert that requires time for each bite. This is an exciting and seductive story. The premise draws you in with a shot of sympathy for the woman who was facing being hanged that very day. But the executioner was absent. She faces a hostile crowd and begins to relate the story of her life that led to the charge of murder of which she proclaims her innocence.
This story is so compelling, that it's hard to put it down. Descriptions are opulent without being overbearing, much of the dialogue is quite enticing and the action is plentiful. I found the balance of this three-legged stool to be very even and the story was very enjoyable for it.
The author does a marvelous job of incorporating all of the senses.
I will say no more to avoid spoilers.
"Maestro" is a sensual feast and gets 4.8 stars from me.
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Copyright © 2022 Mark L. Schultz except for the author’s introduction.
Who am I?
An avid reader, typobuster, and the Hyper-Speller. I am a husband, father, and grandfather.
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