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Posted May 18, 2001
A Riveting Story
I read this book during a trip to Italy in order to get a feel for the country and its history. Even though the novel is long, it is very fast-paced and you can read it quickly. Like many 19th century novels, it has a number of side stories, but is basically very plot-driven. It is melodramatic in the same way as Hugo's Les Miserables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. The historical events of 1628, particularly the plague of that year in Milan, are meticulously researched and detailed. The fictional story seems to be something of a mechanism to discuss the real issues of Italian politics of the 17th century. The part about the weird nun is taken from a true story. I immensely enjoyed this book and am writing this review because the previous reviewer seemed to think that this was only a book for Italians and not foreigners. I completely disagree with that assessment and would recommend this to anyone who enjoys 19th century novels, particularly those of Hugo, Walter Scott, Dickens, or Hawthorne.
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Posted August 15, 2011
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