The Glassblower

'The Glassblower of Murano' by Marina Fiorato.

 

*Coming soon!*

Crimson and Bone

LONDON 1853 On a freezing January night a lone figure steps on to the parapet of Waterloo Bridge, determined to end it all. She is Annie Stride, a penniless prostitute with nothing to live for. She has lost her dearest friend Mary Jane to suicide, been evicted from her home, and has just discovered her pregnancy, a condition which will end her working life. As she falls forward into space, a hand catches at her arm. Her rescuer is Francis Maybrick Gill, a talented young Pre-Raphaelite artist. Francis takes Annie to his lavish London townhouse and, when she miscarries her child on her first night in his house, nurses her back to health. He begins to teach her how to speak and think as a young lady of quality, showers her with clothes and jewels, and takes her to concerts and plays. Recognising her fabulous beauty Francis makes Annie his muse, and his paintings of her as the fallen women of history transform his fortunes and hers. He exhibits at the Royal Academy and he and Annie become the toast of London, a famous artist and much sought-after model. Nothing, it seems, can touch the golden couple, and Annie’s dark past seems far behind her.

With the coming of summer Francis whisks Annie off to Florence and installs her in the Villa Camellia, his luxurious house in the hills above the city. There she discovers the delights of the Renaissance city, and Francis paints her as Mary Magdalene, the original fallen woman. Living as Francis’s wife, Annie learns more of his dark sexual appetites, but nothing of his history. Yet all seems well until a young colourman comes to the villa to supply Francis with the paints he needs. Annie is drawn to the young man, and they form a friendship of honesty and equality, through which she realises how little she actually knows of her benefactor Francis. The new acquaintance upsets the equilibrium of the villa and dark undercurrents of jealousy emerge, prompting Annie to examine her circumstances. Did Mary Jane really take her own life or was there more to the story? What brings the young colourman to the Villa Camellia, and what is his business with Francis? What takes Francis into Florence every night alone? And what is the significance of the alabaster jar which Francis protects with his life?

A dark and sexual tale spanning Victorian London, Florence and Venice, Crimson and Bone is the story of what happens when love goes wrong.

 Soon!

 Soon!

  •  Buy Crimson and Bone on Amazon.co.uk

 

 

The Venetian Contract

VENICE, 1576 – Five years after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire at the Battle of Lepanto, a ship steals unnoticed into Venice bearing a deadly cargo. A man, more dead than alive, disembarks and staggers into Piazza San Marco. He brings a gift to Venice from Constantinople. Within days the city is infected with bubonic plague – and the Turkish Sultan has his revenge.

But the ship also holds a secret stowaway - Feyra, a young and beautiful harem doctor fleeing a future as the Sultan’s concubine. Only her wits and medical knowledge keep her alive as the plague ravages Venice.

In despair the Doge commissions the architect Andrea Palladio to build the greatest church of his career – an offering to God so magnificent that Venice will be saved. But Palladio’s own life is in danger too, and it will require all skills of medico Annibale Cason, the city’s finest plague doctor, to keep him alive.

But what Annibale had not counted on was meeting Feyra, who is now under Palladio’s protection, a woman who can not only match his medical skills but can also teach him how to care.


Daughter of Siena

“The rich heritage of Siena is shown in all its facets, with scenes moving from formal staterooms and candle-lit cathedrals to dirty stables and macabre dungeons. The rich apricot silk gown on the cover reveals only part of the tale. Like the Palio itself, The Daughters of Siena is an exciting entertainment steeped in local color and years of cultural traditions.”

- Sarah Johnson, Reading the Past


 

The Botticelli Secret

“Marina Fiorato has proved herself the master of mystery and queen of historical fiction with The Botticelli Secret.”
- Danya, Night Owl Reviews Staff


 

Kit: The double life of Mistress Kit Kavanagh

DUBLIN 1702 Irish beauty Kit Kavanagh has everything she could want in life. Newly married, she runs a successful alehouse with her beloved husband Richard. The wars that rage in Europe over Spain’s throne seem a world away.

But everything changes on the night that Richard simply disappears. Finding the Queen’s shilling at the bottom of Richard’s tankard, Kit realizes that her husband has been taken for a soldier.

Kit follows Richard’s trail across the battlefields of Italy in the Duke of Marlborough’s regiment. Living as a man, risking her life in battle, she forms a close bond with her wry and handsome commanding officer Captain Ross.

When she is forced to flee the regiment following a duel, she evades capture by dressing once more as a woman. But the war is not over for Kit. Her beauty catches the eye of the scheming Duke of Ormonde, who recruits her to spy upon the French. In her finery she meets Captain Ross once again, who seems just as drawn to the woman as he was to the soldier.

Torn between Captain Ross and her loyalty to her husband, and under the orders of the English Crown, Kit finds that her life is in more danger now than on the battlefield.

Of all the dangers that she faced, the greatest was discovery’

The real Kit Kavanagh

 

 

 

Beatrice and Benedick

For centuries the characters Beatrice and Benedick, from William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, have beguiled audiences. Their names have become synonymous with lovers who trade insults in order to hide their deeper feelings.  This novel imagines what really happened at their first youthful encounter, and how, despite their war of words and long separation, Beatrice and Benedick were finally reunited.

MESSINASICILY 1588 - Beatrice of Villafranca is brought to live at the court of her uncle Leonato, to be a companion for his daughter Hero. That same summer the young Spanish lord Don Pedro visits for a month-long sojourn with his regiment. In his company is the young soldier Benedick of Padua.

Benedick and Beatrice begin to wage their war of wit, but their words mask their true feelings and the two fall deeply in love. But the pair are cruelly parted by misunderstanding and slander. Heartbroken and careless of his life, Benedick sails to England on the ill-fated Spanish Armada under the command of his princely friend Don Pedro. Beatrice returns to her Villafranca castle, and an unwanted betrothal to the Veronese count Paris. Benedick must fight for his life on board ship while Beatrice fights for her freedom from an arranged marriage.

From the point of view of Beatrice and Benedick we hear the lovers tell their own story, taking us from the sunlit southern courts of Sicily, to the crippled Armada on the frozen northern seas, to the gorgeous Renaissance cities of theVeneto.

Beatrice and Benedick – we know how it ended. But how did it begin?

 

The Venetian Bargain cover

The Venetian Bargain

VENICE, 1576 – Five years after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire at the Battle of Lepanto, a ship steals unnoticed into Venice bearing a deadly cargo. A man, more dead than alive, disembarks and staggers into Piazza San Marco. He brings a gift to Venice from Constantinople. Within days the city is infected with bubonic plague – and the Turkish Sultan has his revenge.

But the ship also holds a secret stowaway - Feyra, a young and beautiful harem doctor fleeing a future as the Sultan’s concubine. Only her wits and medical knowledge keep her alive as the plague ravages Venice.

In despair the Doge commissions the architect Andrea Palladio to build the greatest church of his career – an offering to God so magnificent that Venice will be saved. But Palladio’s own life is in danger too, and it will require all skills of medico Annibale Cason, the city’s finest plague doctor, to keep him alive.

But what Annibale had not counted on was meeting Feyra, who is now under Palladio’s protection, a woman who can not only match his medical skills but can also teach him how to care.

Read the Booklist review here

 

 The Madonna of the Almonds

“I enjoyed the Glassblower of Murano very much but I liked this one even more… vibrant with colour… a simply gorgeous book.”
- Random Jottings


The Glassblower of Murano


 

“Fiorato captivates her reader as surely and intricately as the beautiful city of Venice enchants her characters. A fascinating tale of mystery and dedication, of love and betrayal.”
- Kate Furnivall, author of The Russian Concubine.