Book Commentary/Review – The Pendant by Mirella Patzer November 7, 2010Posted by rwf1954 in book review, books, historical fiction, medieval period, Mirella Patzer.
Tags: book commentary, book review, books, historical fiction, medieval history, Mirella Patzer, The Pendant
Mirella Patzer’s The Pendant is a sensual, energetic love story, set in 1270 Italy. Patzer creates vivid images of the characters and the places where the events of the novel occur. And she does not sanitize the brutality of this time period for modern sensibilities.
The story gets off to a quick start, immersing readers immediately. Amoro of Genoa hears the deathbed request of his wounded father; he is to marry the daughter of their mortal enemy, Contessa Morena Monterossa of Portovenere. This immediately creates two huge problems for Duke Amoro—the contessa does not wish to marry her family’s enemy, and she is promised by her father to another nobleman, Ernesto of Savona, in a written marriage pledge. But Duke Amoro has sworn to his dying father that he will marry the contessa, to bring an end to the destructive feuding between Genoa and Portovenere. So he resorts to a common tactic of the Middle Ages—bride kidnapping. This tactic does not make a good first impression on the contessa, and the story is off and running.
The Pendant has plenty of conflict to drive the dramatic action of the book. We have Duke Amoro, whom we discover is a good man, lustful and impulsive, but with compassion for the people around him even when the power of his position does not require he have such compassion. We also discover that Ernesto of Savona is a truly evil man, irresponsible, lacking any semblance of a conscience, selfish, committed to enforcing the marriage commitment to bolster his deteriorating financial situation. Amoro and Morena discover Ernesto’s direct role in their recent family tragedies. This seems to make Morena’s choice for a husband obvious. But by that time, Ernesto has gained the upper hand, and exploits his advantage in particularly cruel and vicious ways.
The Pendant will have readers cheering for the good guys and boo-hissing the bad guys. Readers will wonder how Amora and Morena can possibly extricate themselves from their adversities, and will read ahead frantically to find out. And, the earthy, unflinching descriptions of the romantic elements will bring some boiling of the blood to readers as well!