Thursday, July 29, 2021

The Devil's Tune by Fran Kempton - Book Tour

The Devil’s Tune

Carlo Gesualdo, prince, composer and murderer has his wife and her lover killed in Naples in 1590. The wife's maidservant,Laura Scala, witnesses the events and vowes to avenge her mistress.

The princess, Donna Maria d'Avalos, rescued Laura in Sicily after she had been raped at the age of thirteen. Laura devotes her life to her saviour and after the murders she spends years of her life trying to be revenged on the musical prince.

The scene moves from Sicily to Naples and Venice, back to Naples and finally to the New World. Laura believes she is carrying a curse. Everyone she becomes involved with appears to suffers misfortune and death.

A Jewish girl in the Venetian ghetto is kidnapped and sold into the Sultan's harem, Laura's daughter is placed in an orphanage without her knowledge, the artist Caravaggio uses Laura as a model and meets a tragic end.

Three beautiful pearls given to Laura by her mistress play a part in the story. Is Laura really cursed - or is it her connection with the murderous prince who dabbles in the occult?

A gypsy woman is burned at the stake, a Venetian gondolier meets a mysterious fate and Laura becomes a skilled herbalist and poisoner by default before the story ends in the New World. The background to these  events is the strange and compelling music of Gesualdo.


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Laura is in Venice where she finds a job as maid to a wealthy girl in the ghetto- Sarah da Costa.

     “As I looked around the small room, scattered with costly gowns, I was transported back to Naples, to Donna Maria’s spacious chamber, seeing her nibbling almond biscuits while I re-arranged her clothes and her embroidered slippers, placing pot pourri in burgundy silk bags around the chamber. Sarah’s masks lay untidily on the floor. Donna Maria had always lived behind a mask. The mask was her own face and personality, changed whenever it was necessary.

    In my mind’s eye I could see the cedar press and smell the scent of strawberries that wafted from my lady’s skin when you drew close to her. I remembered how she would wriggle her bare feet in the sunlight, admiring her slender ankles as they peeped coyly from her skirt. Pain gripped my heart for a moment until I came to my senses, aware that Sarah da Costa was looking at me in alarm.”

Author Bio –
Frances Kempton  is a reclusive writer fleeing from  the clutches of Jane Austen.

She has an obsession with Italy. This is the first book in an Italian trilogy

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