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Book Commentary/Review – THE CONTESSA’S VENDETTA by Mirella Patzer February 10, 2013

Posted by rwf1954 in book review, books, historical fiction, medieval period, Mirella Patzer.
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The Contessa’s Vendetta by Mirella Sichirollo Patzer is a well-crafted story of love-betrayed, revenge-realized, with twists and turns for readers who will know where they are going, but will not get there along the path they expect. The novel is great escapist entertainment, giving readers a completely convincing immersion into an exotic past time and place.

The main character is the good-hearted but also naïve and gullible Contessa Carlotta Mancini. She is sauntering through her comfortable life when she contracts the plague. In a matter of hours, she is given up for dead and buried in the family crypt. The only problem is—she is not dead! She extricates herself from her internment and returns to her home only to discover that her husband and best friend are not and never have been the loving companions she thought they were. In fact, both of these characters, the closest companions of her life, are quite despicable creatures, who have been betraying the contessa for years with casual malice. This allows readers to enjoy what the countess hatches to right the wrongs.

Two quirks of fate give Countess Carlotta her chance to take her time with her plot to carry out her vendetta. Her ordeal with the plague has changed her appearance enough to disguise her from those who knew her before, and she stumbles onto the resources needed to execute her plan. As Countess Carlotta’s plan evolves, readers will turn pages to find out exactly how she will enforce her revenge. And the unredeeming nature of the countess’s husband and best friend magnifies as the story unfolds, goading readers into wishing for the revenge to pay off. With the craft of a story-teller in command of her art, Patzer masterfully weaves the deeper discovery of the natures of these characters into the approaching moment of the contessa’s final justice.

The Contessa’s Vendetta climaxes with the full blossoming of Contessa Carlotta’s revenge. But the ending leaves us asking if anyone really won, or if Contessa Carlotta simply lost less severely. With this question reverberating, Patzer’s novel concludes with a deeper question—does revenge, even a just one, ever really balance the scales?


Book Commentary/Review – The Pendant by Mirella Patzer November 7, 2010

Posted by rwf1954 in book review, books, historical fiction, medieval period, Mirella Patzer.
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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!

The Pendant

The Pendant