Just to go along with my last post, I want to share a couple of reviews I just received for A House Near Luccoli.
The first is from Lauren Scott, who is a wonderful inspiring poet, who writes from the heart. Thank you so much, Lauren!
I follow Author DM Denton on her blog, so I’m very familiar with her beautiful and poetic writing. Reading A House Near Luccoli was a
romantic and lovely experience. I wasn’t knowledgeable of Alessandro Stradella, but reading this wonderful book gave me a clear window into
his life. What remarkable visuals DM Denton paints with her words, taking us back to the 17th century. Not only was the story compelling, reading of the
the relationship between Stradella and Donatella, but her book was also an interesting cultural experience. If you’re looking for a book
that you simply can’t put down, then I highly recommend this historical novel, A House Near Luccoli.
Visit Lauren’s beautiful poetry blog: lscottsthoughts. She has a poetry book coming out very soon!
The second review is from Sam, who is a Goodreads Librarian and lives in the UK (Wales). She won a paperback copy of the novel in the last Goodreads giveaway contest I ran. Thank you so much Sam!
A House Near Luccoli is a poetic and thought-provoking historical novel. At times joyous, at others melancholy, it tells the story of Donatella, when the composer Alessandro Stradella moves into the house she shares with her aunt and bed-ridden grandmother. Stradella takes over the top floor and soon becomes a central part of Donatella’s life.
The book is not a long one, but it’s not a fast read. There is so much detail in virtually every sentence that it’s something to linger over and savour. I often found myself rereading passages just to be sure I’d caught every last nuance.
The book is set in late seventeenth century Genoa, and the descriptions of the house, the city as a whole, and some of the places within it are a delight to read. You get a real sense of the place and the people who lived there, and can join Donatella on one of her rare trips out of the house, experiencing what she does along the way.
The characters are exquisitely painted. Alessandro Stradella himself was a real person, a composer who has all but been forgotten today, but who was the equivalent of a rock star in his time. His life was quite the scandal at times, and he moved around Italy to escape those scandals, finally ending up in Genoa in his middle age. There are hints of his past in some of the stories and references made to happenings in other cities, but Genoa seems to have accepted him, and he composes, conducts and performs his music in a variety of settings. His character was certainly fascinating enough that I’m going to find out a bit more about the real man, and listen to some of his music.
Donatella is a lovely, loving woman. She clearly adores her grandmother, Nonna, who was an opera singer when she was younger. Although Nonna never leaves her bed, she comes to life through her conversation. It is Nonna who persuades Donatella to become a copyist for Stradella, although Donatella’s aunt, Despina, is bound to disapprove. The three women are a wonderful contrast. Nonna pushes at the boundaries of respectability. Donatella, who is in her thirties, has resigned herself to being unmarried and has settled into a drab existence revolving around her home, although she does have occasional flashes of rebellion. Despina is strict, disapproving of many things, and anxious to maintain propriety at all times. Add the flamboyant Stradella and his disrespectful manservant to the household, along with the ladies’ housemaid and the cook, and a few supporting characters, and the whole becomes a wonderful contrast of characterisation.
This was a truly beautiful story and one which I thoroughly enjoyed. The combination of period and location was one I wasn’t particularly familiar with, and it was a joy to read of a place and time that were unknown to me before.
This book was won in a Goodreads giveaway. My thanks to the author for making it available, and for posting it all the way over here, and for the thoughtful inclusion of two beautiful bookmarks and a card—thanks D.M.! The author has no input to, or preview of, this review.
It means so much to have one’s writing appreciated and understood, as I know many of you feel.
Hope everyone is enjoying the start of autumn. We are having a spell of beautiful bright sunny days and crisp nights. Blessings!
©Artwork and writing, unless otherwise indicated, are the property of Diane M Denton. Please request permission to reproduce or post elsewhere with a link back to bardessdmdenton. Thank you.