The Medici Mirror
Sixteenth-century France, and the King’s unloved bride, Catherine de Medici, nourishes hatred, focusing on her husband’s mistress, Diane de Poitiers, using the blackest of magic in the creation of a deadly artefact. Florence in 1898, and James Brimley intends to increase the productivity of his shoe factory by studying Italian methods. Instead he returns to London with an antique mirror that gives a strange and sinister reflection. Conscious of its baleful influence, too late, he conceals it in the cellar of his factory. London today, and architect Johnny Carter is to reconstruct the shoe factory as a luxurious residence. He loves the work, and it gives him a chance to recover from a humiliating divorce. The factory had been abandoned intact – machinery, materials and footwear, especially ladies’ extravagant handmade shoes. The ambience of this haunted place is already troubling Johnny and his new love, Ophelia, when colleague Tara discovers the long-disused cellar and Hell is literally let loose. Allured and repelled, the lovers strive to overcome the accumulated centuries of hatred in the Medici Mirror.
This clever variation of a time-slip novel may cause strong and contradictory reactions from readers. Initially the detailed descriptions seem overloaded, for instance the fashionable perfection of Ophelia’s apartment and, repeatedly, her own ravishing personal attributes. But much must be forgiven Johnny, a man in love and increasingly crazy. The surprise ending may be anticipated by attentive readers. This first novel by an author who takes risks is recommended.