The Courtesan’s Lover
Naples, 1564: beautiful and smart Francesca Felizzi strives to acquire wealthy patrons in her quest to become a cortigiana honesta, the top of the social ladder where prostitutes are concerned. And she is doing very well, too, until a meeting with a naive young man – and his family – shatters her confidence. Suddenly, all Francesca wants is love and a respectable life, not an easy goal for a woman with her past.
The back-cover blurb promises “an emphasis on passion over politics”, which proves to be quite true: the whole story revolves around Francesca and her feelings, with little attention not only to politics, but to period and setting as well, in spite of the profusion of generic “costume” detail. Sprinkled with inaccuracies, such as calico and tomatoes well before their time, and social improbabilities, The Courtesan’s Lover is a heart-warming story of love and redemption, but not terribly historical.