The Library Next Door

Copyright 2014 by DM Denton

Copyright 2014 by DM Denton

Books were Rose’s secrets. Reading was an easy distraction, friend to her curiosity and the only thing she was sure she wanted to do. When she entered the library next door, what was real and imaginary became indistinguishable, and she grew ready to reveal the future of her relationship with the written word.

My illustrated All Things That Matter Press Kindle-short, The Library Next Door, is now available! Only $1.99 to download. (£1.25 on

ATTMP Scroll Cover

Find it on

Here’s a little teaser:

Rose preferred private reading. It was an escape from her sisters’ bickering and her mother’s worries, achieved without purpose and self-consciousness; encouraging all the things she had been told to avoid like hunching her shoulders, crossing her legs, crooking her neck and straining her eyes.

Less clothing and her hair loose or in a braid improved the experience, so reading in bed was ideal, especially with a fine morning’s light spraying over the pages.  

Once in a while she thought about being a writer. She had the imagination for it even if she wasn’t educated or confident enough. Like Emily Dickinson, she hadn’t seen a moor or the sea, but knew the purple sparkle of heather and how waves swelled and swallowed the horizon. She was fond of imagery and long passages of pastoral descriptions, but less so of dialogue unless it was uncommonly interesting. Turning a page was like turning her brother’s desk globe; in a moment and without much effort she was on the other side of the world. Or peering into the eyepiece of his microscope she might view what would otherwise be invisible to her.

Reading silently was reading secretively, dreamily, self-centeredly, like listening to gossip and keeping it to herself. © 2014 by DM Denton


Remember, you don’t have to have a kindle device to read kindle publications. You can download the app for your Android phone or tablet, iPad, iPhone, Mac, Windows 8 PC or tablet, BlackBerry, or Windows Phone.

I hope many of you will read it, and review it. And that the illustration will warm those of you who have been dealing with a frigid and sometimes wild winter so far – a little reminder of summer roses and soothing pastimes.

I must add an apology for being absent from so many of your blogs for a while. I hope to pay you a visit as soon as possible.

Thank you to All Things That Matter Press for their willingness and work in publishing this story, and to D. Bennison of Bennison Books for her encouragement and advice!

Keep warm and safe! Blessings.

Two Five Star Reviews!

Just to go along with my last post, I want to share a couple of reviews I just received for A House Near Luccoli.

A House Near Luccoli Poster for blog etc

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.

Here is Lauren’s review at

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.

Here is Sam’s review at Goodreads.

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!

Autumn Crocus Copyright 2013 by DM Denton

Autumn Crocus
Copyright 2013 by DM Denton

img002©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.

A Friendship with Flowers (New Publication)

I have a new publication

incorporating poetic musings

and flower illustrations.

Cover Front Only Image

This journal was originally created by hand while I was living in Oxfordshire, England in the 1980’s, during the year or so after my father suddenly passed away. I spent a month in the States with my mom, and came back to a time that proved more difficult than I expected.

One of the things that helped was the TV series “The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady” (also an exquisite book) that was airing on the BBC . I unashamedly admit that it inspired my undertaking of this work.

The book was done with gratefulness for the flowers that graced and healed me with their beauty, wisdom, and playfulness.

At this time, it is available through,
where you can also see a preview.

The Original Journal

The Original Journal

I hope that it will bring a few others the soothing joy it offered me while making it once … and then again.

A special thank you to my mom and D. Bennison for continuing to encourage me to get this done!

Blessings to you all. 

©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.

A House Near Luccoli by D.M. Denton | Review | Historical Novels Review

Historical Novel Society Review of my novel, A House Near Luccoli

Published by All Thing That Matter Press

A House Near Luccoli by D.M. Denton | Review | Historical Novels Review.

House+cover+front[7]The remarkable Baroque composer Alessandro Stradella stands at the center of Denton’s bright, sparkling novel A House Near Luccoli. Unmarried, mid-thirties Genoan woman Donatella encounters the volatile, slightly disreputable genius and at first is appalled by his manners and eccentric ways, but she and others are also gradually taken by his undeniable charm.

Denton is an unapologetically enthusiastic writer (exclamation points abound), imbuing even her minor secondary characters with three-dimensional life. Her research into all aspects of the period is thorough but not wooden; this is foremost a book of characters and character-study, ultimately in many ways a book about how friendships form. Stradella’s life came to a very abrupt end, and this book does too, a bit – but it’s all immensely enjoyable just the same. Highly recommended.

Stephen Donoghue

Window with Back Blurb Heading

I invite you to read additional reviews


more about the novel.

As always, thank you so much for your visit!

©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.

Words and Music

Copyright 2012 by DM Denton

Copyright 2012 by DM Denton

I am listening to The Plaint: O Let Me Weep by Henry Purcell (1659 – 1695), playing it over and over, a mantra while I’m writing. Even vocal music doesn’t distract me if it’s fluid and expressive, like the current under a boat, sending a narrative on its way. In the liner notes of soprano Nancy Argenta’s Songs and Airs CD, Adelaide de Place writes that “Purcell liked to compare music and poetry with two mutually supportive sisters.” The 17th century Italian composer, Alessandro Stradella (1639 – 1682), the focus of my novel, A House Near Luccoli would’ve appreciated the comparison, perhaps smiling mischievously, preferring to create a little rivalry. Never discord. Even his Italian “sisters” would have bowed gracefully to his designs, side by side, arms entwined, differences reconciled as their voices blended into one sound so beautiful no man could put asunder.

English lawyer, biographer and “Renaissance man” Roger North (1653 – 1754), who figures prominently in the sequel to A House Near Luccoli, wrote that “poetry called” his grandfather, the 1st Lord North, “to music.” For me it was the other way around, music expressing almost everything I couldn’t until I picked up a pen like a violinist lifts his bow and interpreted it into something so personal, beyond thought and emotion. Without music I may never have written a word, never realized I had to write, never lost track of time until I found myself alone in its company having forgotten how to speak – except silently.

Both words and music are about playing with silence, like birdsong or breezes or rain or thunder, our breathing or someone else’s, heartbeats and heartaches, love-affairs and loneliness. As with the chicken and the egg, their collaboration employs a circular cause and consequence, no way and no need to answer the question of which came first or is more important. As music inspires me to write, I desire to make music of my writing.

As I write now I am thinking of ghosts and not minding the melancholy, for it sounds so pleasing I question there is anything more joyful. It’s as if I’m enveloped in a prayer. O let me weep … or smile … or dream … or despair as I please; let me never be at a loss for words and music. Amen.

The above is a repost from July 2011, the early days of my blog.

Although I knew the following article about my authorship of A House Near Luccoli was going to appear in a local newspaper, I was astonished by the beautiful layout. I share it here and greatly appreciate you taking the time to read:

A Literary Note
Batavia Daily News
December 15, 2012 

A Literary Note ArticleEAST PEMBROKE – The first time Diane Denton heard the music of Alessandro Stradella, she knew she was listening to something extraordinary.

She didn’t realize as she drove to work at a media consultant firm that morning in 2002 just how big an impression it would make on her life, or that she would spend years researching the artist and another three years writing a book about him.

A fan of the classics, Denton was listening to CBC Radio 2. The show, In the Shadows, highlighted the lives and works of artists – mainly musical – who for a variety of reasons had been largely ignored or forgotten.

“On this particular morning, a 17th century Italian composer, whom I and obviously many others had never heard of, was featured,” Denton said. “His music was stunning — fluid and melodic, with clear expressive vocals and distinct instrumentations.

“Set in 17th century Genoa, Italy, A House Near Luccoli is the story of the little-known, but brilliant 17th century composer named Alessandro Stradella. She described his story as “replete with romance and intrigue, triumphs and tragedy, like an opera drawing on the divinity and failings of gods and men.”

“The fictional Donatella in the book is a lot of me, although it wasn’t a conscious thing while I was writing the novel,” said Denton, who lives with her mother in East Pembroke. “I did want to express a point of view of a woman who is very self-contained, but rather insecure, perhaps too sensitive, artistic and talented, but who unvalues her life in a resigned sort of way. Donatella was a fictional female protagonist stepping out of my own hopes and disappointments.”

Denton said she has been writing since she was 12, but her mother remembers the first poem Denton wrote for Thanksgiving when she was only 6 – about a family Thanksgiving gathering and being grateful their family was all together.

Denton was born in Buffalo and grew up in Tonawanda. During her junior year, she studied in England, where she met a young man, married and stayed for 16 years.

“I lived, for better or worse, right off the pages of Fielding, the Brontes, Austin, Hardy, DH Lawrence and even Dickens, surrounded by the beautiful hills, woods and fields of the Oxfordshire countryside,” Denton said.

In the meantime, her parents moved to East Pembroke, where Denton returned after her father Carmen died in 1986.

Although she has always been interested in history, particularly European history, Denton said her participation in and appreciation of music was encouraged through memories shared about her maternal grandmother Marion DiCesare (ne Allers), who was a concert pianist in Chicago.

Denton also shares artistic talent with her mother, and their paintings hang side by side on the walls of their home. Denton did the illustrations for A House Near Luccoli herself.

One reason Denton was intrigued with Stradella’s music is because his story reminded her of a modern-day musician she knew who, in many ways, sabotaged himself and the potential he could have achieved.

“By the time I pulled into the parking lot at work, I knew why I was listening,” Denton said. “I ‘knew’ Alessandro Stradella. I recognized his distinct voice, his swaying form, his infectious smile and his wandering heart.”

Denton spent the rest of that morning and many more hours in pursuit of Stradella. She said her writer’s urge “to do something with him” was easier stirred than accomplished. There was so little about him on the pages of Google searches and music histories, Denton’s desire to create something out of her interest in the man was soon frustrated and abandoned.

It wasn’t until 2005 Denton returned to her work on Stradella.

“The timing must have been right, for suddenly resources, although still not in abundance, were easier to find,” she said. “As I read my costly copy of Alessandro Stradella, the Man and his Music by musicologist Carolyn Gianturco, I found an opportunity for imagining my way into his story, focusing on his last fateful days in Genoa.”

Her intention, Denton said, was not to change history, but quietly humanize it; not merely to appreciate a great musician, but personalize him; to reveal the ordinary in the extraordinary and the significance of the insignificant.

The title and main setting of Denton’s novel reflect the strong possibility Stradella last lived in a house owned by Giuseppe Maria Garibaldi, just off the via Luccoli in Genoa. Records indicated this was where his possessions were inventoried after his tragic and untimely death in his 40s.

Although talented and cultivated, Stradella was something of a vagabound and messed up many opportunities to become rich and famous. He had a reputation for making messes, but also masterpieces, Denton said.

Copies of A House Near Luccoli are available at Present Tense Books, 101 Washington Ave., Batavia (NY); The Book Shoppe in Medina (NY); and online at in paperback and Kindle edition, and at as a NOOK book.

Denton already has two more works in progress. She has been asked to write a sequel to A House Near Luccoli, which she hopes to have completed in late spring. The sequel will take Donatella to England and the small but stately Oxfordshire village of Wroxton, where she hopes to settle with her Italian mother and English father, a retired seaman.

“Another thing about my Donatella connection is, I am also of Italian and English heritage,” Denton said. “So I have lived a long time with the personality contrasts, even the struggles that come with that combination.”

Another work is a book of poetry based on journals she kept about the flowers and gardens in England and their changes through the seasons. That book is expected to be released in early spring.

Article written by Batavia News Correspondent, Virgina Kropf

Read article online

img002©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.

Announcement: My New Website is Live!

This is a quick post to announce that my new author (DM Denton) website is now online:

I invite you to stroll along ‘my appointed sands’ and enjoy! And I welcome your feedback, as always, here or through my website via the contact form (I would love to put you on an emailing list for notification of the release and availability of my novel, A House Near Luccoli).

I so appreciate your support. Blessings, love and peace to all!

Copyright 2012 by DM Denton

©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.