The Italian [NOOK Book]


Napoleon has fallen and the Austrian Empire sweeps the continent. Dashing revolutionaries, traitors and spies lurk in every quarter in the turbulent Italy of the 1820s.

Italian patriot Angelo Bartolini is a man of many faces: a devoted son and brother, a noble friend and a stalwart nationalist. As a member of the Carbonari, a secret society dedicated to freeing Italy from Austrian rule, Angelo is a wanted man. But as with all great men, Angelo has a tender side, and his spirit ...

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The Italian

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Napoleon has fallen and the Austrian Empire sweeps the continent. Dashing revolutionaries, traitors and spies lurk in every quarter in the turbulent Italy of the 1820s.

Italian patriot Angelo Bartolini is a man of many faces: a devoted son and brother, a noble friend and a stalwart nationalist. As a member of the Carbonari, a secret society dedicated to freeing Italy from Austrian rule, Angelo is a wanted man. But as with all great men, Angelo has a tender side, and his spirit awakens the passion of the brilliant but shy English painter, Beatrice Fairweather, who now makes her home in the Tuscan countryside.

The Italian is a compelling story of two people who fall in love at the wrong time for all the right reasons. It is a haunting tale of families and war, of missed opportunities, betrayal, tragedy and of a love that knows no end.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Elaine Coffman's (The Fifth Daughter) 19th-century saga, The Italian, highlights the struggle between Italy and Austria in the years following the fall of Napoleon. Angelo Bartolini is a member of the Carbonari, a secret society committed to uniting Italy and freeing it from Austria's control. Though he has dedicated his life to his country and is now a wanted man, he cannot forget his love for Beatrice Fairweather, the shy English painter who captured his heart years earlier. Upon seeing her again, he realizes she is the only woman for him, but with fate and the enemy conspiring against him, he fears he may not have much of a future to offer her. Coffman renders Italy's plight with the exactitude of a historian, but her tendency to intellectualize love will leave readers cold.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781460362174
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 7/15/2014
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 263,351
  • File size: 718 KB

Meet the Author

Elaine Coffman is the New York Times bestselling author of eighteen novels, which have been published worldwide and won numerous awards. She lives in Austin, Texas, where she is working on her next novel. Visit

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Read an Excerpt

The Italian

By Elaine Coffman

Harlequin Enterprises Limited

Copyright © 2002
Harlequin Enterprises Limited
All right reserved.

ISBN: 1551669463

Chapter One

It was early. The streets of the city were dark. Turin was not yet awake. Beyond the river Po, the bony spine of the Alps was barely visible against a darkened sky. Overhead, the steadfast stars still powdered the heavens, for the sun had not yet come to bless the dewy earth with light.

Angelo made his way along the street that was once called Decumanus Maximus, the old Roman road. The long black coat seemed to muffle the tread of his boots upon the ancient paving stones.

He passed along the facade of the buildings that opened onto the square of Palazzo di Città, where the Roman forum and medieval markets had once stood. A sound reached his ears. He paused for a moment near the corner, where the base of the unfinished clock tower waited, its work stopped by the French under Napoleon and never resumed.

The steady clip of hoofbeats cut into the silence. His first thought was that he had been followed. He listened, not moving. He heard it again, and stepped into a doorway darkened by a low overhang. He pressed himself against the door, swallowed by darkness and his coat. His mouth was dry; in spite of his daring, his heart could still pound with fury. His breathing was heavy, almost painful. He drew in another breath and held it until his head began to throb.

The hoofbeats drew closer, and a horse-drawn cart came slowly into view. He heard a clattering and saw the jugs of milk. He exhaled in relief, but he did not dare to move out of the deep shadows. Things are not always what they seem. One move made prematurely could cost him his life.

He was suddenly aware of the tense numbness in his legs and stomach. Perspiration broke out across his forehead. He remained perfectly still. Only his eyes moved as they followed the progress of the cart, until it turned and disappeared into a narrow street.

He did not move. Neither when the cart had passed completely from sight, nor when the steady clip of hooves grew faint. He waited, still as uncut marble, until all was silence.

Slowly, he began to inch his way out of the protective darkness of the doorway. He continued on his way up the street. He kept close to the buildings, his ear finely tuned for the sound of footsteps or the ring of the hooves of another horse.

He was learning a lot about back entrances, side doors, secret passageways and the numerous ways of going to and fro without drawing too much attention. Intrigue was new to him, as were these clandestine meetings, and he was still conscious of the need to look ordinary and up to nothing.

This he found humorous, for the inconspicuous were always those who were up to something.

Nearing his destination, Angelo walked more briskly. The sky over the Alps was beginning to lighten. The mist creeping up from the river Po deepened around him and left a damp sheen on the ancient stones of Turin's streets and buildings.

There must be an easier way to do this, he thought, feeling his bunched-up nerves slowly unknotting, like a raveling sleeve.

These secret rendezvous always made him uneasy, for he never knew if Metternich's spies had somehow learned about them. He knew what would happen if he were caught. If he had been marked as the next target, they would be relentless. They were men who had killed before, and for crimes less than his. Many of those killed were good friends - friends he laughed and drank coffee with one day, and then never saw again.

Some bodies were discovered later, floating downstream. The rest simply vanished. If he had anything to be thankful for concerning the Austrians, it was that Metternich was more concerned about what went on in Milan than in Turin - although Angelo knew that would not always hold true.

He turned the corner and headed down a narrow street. It was dirty and littered - definitely one that was not much used, except by a few resident rats. At the point where the street almost hit a dead end, he paused in front of a battered door.

He knocked softly, three times. He paused, then knocked twice more.

From the other side of the door came the sound of a shuffling gait. Metal scraped as the bolt was thrown.

The door opened slowly. A cool draft passed over him, and Angelo stepped inside. The hallway was narrow and ended with a flight of stone steps that led to the cellar below.

He glanced at the young boy who had opened the door, and saw the face of the country he was fighting to give birth to. Just ahead was the flickering light of a branched candlestick that cast eerie shadows on faded and peeling walls. The printer's mute apprentice stepped into view.

He looked Angelo over carefully before motioning for him to follow.

Angelo fell in step behind him. Halfway down the stairs, he was greeted by the familiar smell of printer's ink. A moment later, he entered the room and saw Lorenzo Spurgazzi hard at work setting type.

"Ciao, Lorenzo."

Lorenzo peered at him through fingerprint-marked glasses and his plain, round face brightened. "Hello, my friend. I was wondering if you were going to bring me some more work to do."

"I am your best customer, am I not?"

Lorenzo wiped his ink-stained hands on a rag. "Of course! Of course! You are my most excellent paying customer, so that makes you my best one."

Ah, Italia, Italia, it always comes back to money, thought Angelo. He gave Lorenzo the update he had written last night - an update on the Austrian situation in Lombardy and Piedmont.

"How soon can you have it ready?"

Lorenzo squinted as he glanced over the page. Angelo plucked the spectacles from Lorenzo's nose and, quickly taking the handkerchief from his own pocket, began to clean them. When he finished he handed them back to Lorenzo. "See if this isn't better."

Lorenzo put the glasses on and his brows shot up like the slanting lines of a steep roof. "Much better," he said, looking as happy as a man in new corduroy. He glanced over the paper. "I can have them tomorrow...late. A hundred and fifty copies, as usual?"

Angelo nodded. "I will send Nicola to pick them up."

"He is a good man."

"And a good friend," Angelo said. Lorenzo's gaze returned to the paper in his hand, and he read, "'Italians! Free and independent we shall seal the peace of brotherhood with our own hands."'

He shook his head in a way that was both thoughtful and sad. "God willing, that will be true. You have a knack for expressing yourself and lighting a fire in the hearts of all those who read your notices."

"Unfortunately, my knack for setting fires extends into the Austrian camps, as well."

"You know you are plotting against the most powerful man in Europe. Metternich holds the fate of the world in his hands. His spies are everywhere. You must be very careful."

Angelo said with a grin, "Of course I will be careful. I am young and not yet married - therefore I have plans that do not include death or imprisonment."

Angelo left as he had come, quietly and quickly. Only this time, he took a different route through the dark streets of Turin. As he walked, the tension in his body began to subside.

He was glad the worst was over. The thought had no more than entered his mind, when he rounded the corner and came face-to-face with a detachment of Austrian hussars. He knew by their slow pace that they were on patrol.

Either that, or they were looking for him.


Excerpted from The Italian by Elaine Coffman
Copyright © 2002 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2003

    Can't stop reading !!

    I thought I would never find another author I really like for historical romance. When I took a chance and pick this book up. I found this one and now I have to buy them all !!

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    strong historical romance

    With the fall of Napoleon, Europe is carved up by the superpowers. Especially winning at the peace is the Austrian Empire, which includes the Italian peninsular as part of its vast holdings. By 1829 Italy is a hotbed of revolutionary activity led by the Carbonari whose goal is a free united country. The members must be extremely careful to avoid exposure as Austrian spies and their Italian supporters abound everywhere. Years ago Angelo Bartolini and Beatrice Fairweather fell in love, but she returned to England. Now Beatrice, an artist, lives in Tuscany while Angelo is a key player in the Carbonari movement. When these former lovers meet again, the sparks are even greater, but the coming revolution and betrayal will make it impossible for a relationship to flourish between them, but then again love has attained the impossible before. THE ITALIAN is a strong historical romance filled with vivid descriptions of Italy in the decade following the Congress of Vienna of 1815. As a backdrop to a wonderful star-crossed love story, readers obtain a taste for the fine arts, the political intrigue and espionage that seeps into every niche and cranny, and a close up look at life in an increasingly fervent era where danger is everywhere. The lead couple is a delight as they struggle between love and mistrust. Though fans who prefer blood and guts action need to go elsewhere, those readers who take pleasure in a warm picturesque cozy will want to peruse Elaine Coffman¿s leisurely look at this period. Harriet Klausner

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