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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Review: A House Near Luccoli by D.M. Denton

Title: A House Near Luccoli
Author: D.M. Denton
Format: Paperback
Publisher: All Things That Matter Press
Publish Date: August 27, 2012
Source: I received a copy from the author; however, this did not affect my review.

Why You're Reading This Book:

  • You're a historical-fiction fan.
What's the Story?:

From "A House near Luccoli focuses on chance encounters, beautiful music and the paradox of genius through an imagined intimacy with one of the most legendary and undervalued figures of Italian Baroque music.

Over three years since the charismatic 17th century composer, violinist, and singer Alessandro Stradella sought refuge in the palaces and twisted alleys of Genoa, royally welcomed despite the alleged scandals and even crimes that forced him to flee from Rome, Venice, and Turin, his professional and personal life have begun to unravel again. He is offered, by the very man he is rumored to have wronged, a respectable if slightly shabby apartment and yet another chance to redeem his character and career. He moves in to the curiosity and consternation of his caretakers, also tenants, three women whose reputations are of concern only to themselves. Donatella, still unmarried in her mid-thirties, is plainly irrelevant. Yet, like the city she lives in, there are hidden longings in her, propriety the rule, not cure, for what ails her. She cares more for her bedridden grandmother and cats than overbearing aunt, keeping house and tending to a small terraced garden, painting flowers and waxing poetic in her journal. At first, she is in awe of and certain she will have little to do with Stradella. Slowly, his ego, playfulness, need of a copyist and camouflage involve her in an inspired and insidious world, exciting and heartbreaking as she is enlarged by his magnanimity and reduced by his missteps, forging a friendship that challenges how far she will go."

My Two Cents:

A House Near Luccoli" is a historical-fiction story of composer, Alessandro Stradella, living in 17th century Italy. While the story is told in third person, it centers on Donatella, a young woman who has been wronged many times in her life, who begins working for Stradella. Stradella is a little known figure of his time but he has a very interesting story, which makes it especially sad that so much of his life has been forgotten.

I was really fascinated by this story. One of my favorite subjects for historical-fiction books are those little known stories where I'm not really familiar with the subject matter. This book falls firmly in this category. It's always interesting to learn something new. The subject definitely kept my attention! Denton gives us a good taste of Stradella was and what his music and life was like. I definitely feel like I got a lot of insight into who he was.

This is a fairly short read. I did like the storytelling in the book for the most part. The story moved at a quick pace. The author mixes in some Italian words (the book takes place in Italy) in some of the speech. This can be a useful device to create a sense of place but in this case, it seemed to be used very randomly and became somewhat distracting at some points.

Overall, this is an interesting historical-fiction about a little known historical figure. "


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