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In the company of the courtesan : a novel
Sarah Dunant
Adult Fiction DUNANT

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Renaissance Italy enchants in Dunant's delicious second historical (after The Birth of Venus), as a wily dwarf Bucino Teodoldo recounts fantastic escapades with his mistress, celebrated courtesan Fiammetta Bianchini. Escaping the 1527 sacking of Rome with just the clothes on their backs (and a few swallowed jewels in their bellies), Fiammetta and Bucino seek refuge in Venice. Starved, stinking, her beauty destroyed, Fiammetta despairs-but through cunning, will, Bucino's indefatigable loyalty and the magic of a mysterious blind healer called La Draga, she eventually recovers. Aided by a former adversary, who now needs her as much as she needs him, Fiammetta finds a wealthy patron to establish her in her familiar glory. Through Bucino's sharp-eyed, sharp-tongued narration, Dunant crafts a vivid vision of Venetian life: the weave of politics and religion; the layers of class; the rituals, intrigue, superstitions and betrayals. Dunant's characters-the steely courtesan whose glimpse of true love nearly brings her to ruin; the shrewd and passionate dwarf who turns his abnormalities into triumph; and the healer whose mysterious powers and secrets leave an indelible mark on the duo-are irresistible throughout their shifting fortunes. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

From the first page of Dunant's (The Birth of Venus) latest offering, there is no time to catch our breath. We are plunged into the household of the great courtesan Fiammetta Bianchini as she braces for the invaders during the 1527 sack of Rome. Chief among the servants is Bucino the dwarf, who serves as manager, confidante, entertainer, and pimp to the courtesan. Escaping Rome by the skin of their teeth, the two set up again in Venice, which emerges as lush and inviting as our heroine. Fiammetta not only excels in the arts of love but also enchants her customers with her intellect. But the real delight of this tale is Bucino, whose brilliant mind and devoted heart are those of a much larger man. Although the author begs forgiveness for any historical license taken, there is little to be found. It is rare that fiction writing and research intertwine as seamlessly as they do here. The portrait that Dunant paints of Renaissance Venice sparkles like light through Murano glass, and the story herein is perfect in its portrayal of human imperfection, like Bucino himself. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 10/1/05.]-Wendy Bethel, Southwest Pub. Libs., Grove City, OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Fiammetta Bianchini
Female; rebuilds her business with Bucino; beautiful; shrewd; trained from birth to charm men

Bucino Teodoldi
Fiammetta's business partner; has a sharp eye and a wicked tongue.

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