Publisher: Manifold Press
Publication date: February 1, 2017
Length: 229 pages
Reviewed by Morningstar
In the village of Torrenta, master painter Morello has created a color that mimics the most expensive pigment of all, the crimson red. Master Zeno, from strife-ridden Medici Florence, tells him the color gives him a competitive advantage – but Morello must be careful. Fraud is ever-present in the dye and pigment markets.
As they work together in Torrenta, Morello falls hard for Zeno’s assistant, Benedetto Tagliaferro, a young man of uncommon beauty and intelligence. Benedetto is still fixed on his old lover, the master painter Leo Guisculo, and cannot return Morello’s affections.
But when Leo dies in a terrible accident, it’s to Morello that Zeno and Benedetto turn for help. And Morello soon finds that in Florence, every surface hides layers of intrigue.
I fell in love with this author’s writing when I read her Heart and Haven series and again her writing and descriptions of the world of historical Italy. This was a first for me even as someone that loves historical stories they often are not based in Italy.
The writing was beautiful and vivid. The characters were well fleshed out with their story told with detail bringing to life the world at that time and their struggle in it. It was suspenseful but well balanced with the love story of Morello and Benedetto.
Morello was authentic, fresh, and sweet. Morello was very obviously crushing on Benedetto. I liked Benedetto well enough and his mistakes didn’t annoy me. He was young and still so hung up on his old lover which lead him to make some bad decisions. Those decisions had disastrous consequences but also ended with him being closer to Morello. Although I loved that Benedetto and Morello were together, I wasn't completely sold on their chemistry. I think it was more of a "me" thing than a writing thing since the author did bring to life this world. And I think that loss of connection with the characters is what led me to be impressed by the story but not overly attached to it.
The suspense and mystery were well written and presented. Keeping the reader wanting to see the resolution isn’t always easy when it comes to these stories, but from previous reads of this authors, I can tell you she has the talent for it.
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