Customer Reviews for

In the Company of the Courtesan

Average Rating 4
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Renaissance Venice through the eyes of a courtesan's companion

Sarah Dunant recreates the Renaissance past very effectively. Beginning in a Rome in turmoil, she carries the reader quickly to Venice, where the protagonist - the loyal servant and companion to an expert courtesan - shows the reader both the atmosphere of La Serenissi...
Sarah Dunant recreates the Renaissance past very effectively. Beginning in a Rome in turmoil, she carries the reader quickly to Venice, where the protagonist - the loyal servant and companion to an expert courtesan - shows the reader both the atmosphere of La Serenissima and the action surrounding his Lady's entry into Venetian society through the eyes of a little person (dwarf). Characters are well drawn, and the reader continues to wonder what will become of the Lady Fiametta as she navigates the complicated and sometimes treacherous Venetian world. However, the action is rather slow from time to time - what carries the reader on those pages is Dunant's talent for describing character, appearance, and place. It's a good, escapist read that unfolds at a leisurely pace.

posted by cats_cradle_books on June 29, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

At first, it looks like an interesting read, but the story told from the dwarf's point of view flattens the story....

I chose to purchase this book because it took place in Venice and was interested in reading about life back in the 1500's. There were no elements in the story to keep me interested (element of suprise, romance, mystery, twists and turns,). Disappointed in this book as...
I chose to purchase this book because it took place in Venice and was interested in reading about life back in the 1500's. There were no elements in the story to keep me interested (element of suprise, romance, mystery, twists and turns,). Disappointed in this book as it was not what I thought it would be and it says on the cover it is a "New York Times Bestseller." Not much action taking place from the Courtesan's standpoint. The story revolves mostly around the dwarf's and La Draga's issues. If you are really interested in reading the book, borrow it from the library......

posted by historicalfiction_fan on March 20, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2009

    I LOVED this book!

    Have yet to read Dunant's more modern books, but have read all of her historicals and LOVE them all. Her use of language is elegant, her characters original, and I always learn about the time and politics, which is a lovely bonus. Company and Sacred Hearts are my favorite.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2008

    A succulent morsel.

    A beautifully written story, richly layered with atmospheric details of 16th century Rome and Venice. Well fleshed out characters that come to life on the page. I am now a fan of Ms. Dunant's work and look forward to reading The Birth of Venus.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2014

    Loved it!

    .

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2013

    Very enjoyable read

    Fans of Sarah Dunant will not be disappointed. She has a wonderful way of evoking the flavor of the times she writes about, and her characters are full of life. Engrossing story...she is one of my favorite authors.

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  • Posted October 14, 2011

    Loved it!

    I read this when it first came out and I absolutely loved it! It drew me in from the first chapter!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2007

    A reviewer

    this book had me enthrall. the writing is just spectacular. Sarah Dunant's intricate research on the subject of Venice really payed off, and she uses her great discriptive abilities to emphaisze that research. she paints Venice as a city built on pleasure appeased. her characters fit perfectly into their atmosphere. i'm the sort of person who finds herself flipping unconsciously to the end pages of a book, but though i knew the ending, it still managed to surprise me, and i have no regrets as to picking up this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2007

    Fantabulous!!!

    I absolutely loved this book the story was completely mesmerizing. I read every page with great interest. I thought it was interesting that some people have described this book as pornographic. It was NOT! The title indicates the book is about a Courtesan. What did they really think they were going to read about. Mrs. Smith as a Librarian. Wonderful period piece. I'm off to get The Birth of Venus.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2007

    Mysterious, sunsual, and historical

    From the first page to the last I found this work to be a masterpiece of intrigue, and historically acuarate-Dunants hostorical novels are some of the best, only 2 unfortuneatley.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2006

    Loved it!!

    This was my first exposure to Sarah Dunant, and I was very impressed with this story. It grips you from the very beginning: Rome is being sacked, the barbarians are flooding into the city, and a lone courtesan and her household gamble their lives on her beauty and wit. I just visited Italy this summer and felt a real connection between her descriptions of the cities and their actuality. As for those who felt the book was vulgar, it is a story of a courtesan who trades her flesh for money. That is the reality of it, and there exists a certain vulgarity in that type of lifestyle. If you find the idea of sex for sale overwhelmingly offensive, you should pick up a different book. However, the book is in no way pornagraphic. All and all an incredibly well developed story line that is both intriguing and heart breaking.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2006

    Wow.

    Sarah Dunant's second novel is even more captivating than her first. She takes as inspiration Titian's famous painting, 'The Venus of Urbino', and spins a tale centered around its sensuous and beautiful subject, whom she calls Fiammetta. Most of the story is told from the perspective of Fiammetta's dwarf Bucino, who acts as companion, pimp, business manager, and friend. The two escape the sack of Rome in 1527, carrying a few jewels with them to help them get started in Venice. With Bucino's cleverness and Fiammetta's beauty and skill as a courtesan, their fortunes are soon restored. But there is more than one snake in their Garden of Eden, and this makes up the remainder of this superbly-told story. This is a character study as much as anything else, particularly of misshapen Bucino - brilliant and educated, yet doomed to a lifetime of disrespect and mockery from most of the world. A few recognize and respect his intelligence and wit, and these characters are well-developed. The themes of mistrusting those we should trust, and learning to love too late, make this a vivid and tragic tale. Ms. Dunnant's imagery of 16th-century Venice is so powerful that I felt I was there on its canals, in its piazzas, tiny alleys and fabulous palaces. Now I'm hoping to make a return visit to this queen of cities in the near future! Excellent storytelling - I recommend it highly.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2006

    If you enjoy historical novels . . .

    You will love reading this one. You do not need to know anything about 16th century Italy--the author is generous, but not over the top on that aspect. The bawdiness makes this worth reading! Fiannetta, the courtesan is smart and refined, but loves to share with those in her life, what goes on behind the bedroom door. Bucino, the pimp and narrator, is someone I would want for my best friend. Enjoy this one for what it is.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2006

    Amazing!

    I wasn't sure what to expect from this book but it was impossible to put down! Fabulous plot, interesting, well developed characters, and a real sense of Venice a long time ago.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2006

    Compelling Company to Keep

    I loved Sarah Dunant¿s first foray into Renaissance Italy and not surprisingly I love IN THE COMPANY OF THE COURTESAN. It¿s told from the viewpoint of Bucino Teodoldi, who is a dwarf. He is also the partner but not paramour of Fiammetta Bianchini, a Roman courtesan. Together they escape the 1527 ransacking of Rome and must build a new life in Venice. How they do this and their all-too-human relationship to each other is the center of the story. The history is truthfully portrayed, but these characters, which are fictional, seem as real as the historical characters of the writer Pietro Aretino and the painter Titian. The function of historical fiction is to take you to a specific time and place. This book does it with style to spare. It¿s a compelling and engrossing read. Highly recommended. If I could I¿d give it 10 stars, I would. ¿ Leslie Strang Akers

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2006

    A Spectacular Historical Fiction Novel!

    I found out about this book from a friend, and I enjoyed every minute of it! I had read 'The Birth of Venus' by the same author and enjoyed it, but this one was much better. I enjoyed being swept up into the plot and watching the character's develop as the book went on! A must for anyone who likes to read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2006

    Oh, my goodness!!!!

    I highly recommened this book I read it in two days I could not put it down, I expected a lot of sex scenes, there were not many at all but this book went so much deeper.This book was not smut at all, it was more a literary success. A true page turner, the author should feel proud.

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    Posted December 30, 2009

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    Posted February 23, 2011

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    Posted April 5, 2011

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    Posted May 13, 2010

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    Posted September 11, 2010

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