In the Company of the Courtesan by Sarah Dunant
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A perfect summer read, especially if you (like me) are traveling to Italy. Dunant's writing reminds me a lewder, lustier Philippa Gregory. The main characters - a high class courtesan and her pimp, a dwarf who narrates the story - are delightfully real. If she seems a bit shallow - that's probably because she's written that way; he seems more alive, but definitely a dark narrator. So the plot frays a bit here and there; the dancing at the edge of soap opera characters simply overpower the plot with their presence. Venice at the end of the High Renaissance is lovingly portrayed, with all its filth and money and glamor; Dunant's opening descriptions of the sack of Rome are brutally realistic and fascinating. Like Philippa Gregory's best works, this is one you fall deeply into and keep madly reading until the very end.
View all my reviews