A House Near Luccoli

A House Near Luccoli

by DM Denton


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Over three years since the charismatic composer, violinist, and singer Alessandro Stradella sought refuge in the palaces and twisted alleys of Genoa, royally welcomed despite the alleged scandals and even crimes that forced him to flee from Rome, Venice, and Turin, his professional and personal life have begun to unravel again. He is offered, by the very man he is rumored to have wronged, a respectable if slightly shabby apartment and yet another chance to redeem his character and career. He moves in to the curiosity and consternation of his caretakers, also tenants, three women whose reputations are of concern only to themselves.
Donatella, still unmarried in her mid-thirties, is plainly irrelevant. Yet, like the city she lives in, there are hidden longings in her, propriety the rule, not cure, for what ails her. She cares more for her bedridden grandmother and cats than overbearing aunt, keeping house and tending to a small terraced garden, painting flowers and waxing poetic in her journal.
At first, she is in awe of and certain she will have little to do with Stradella. Slowly, his ego, playfulness, need of a copyist and camouflage involve her in an inspired and insidious world, exciting and heartbreaking as she is enlarged by his magnanimity and reduced by his missteps, forging a friendship that challenges how far she will go.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780985778972
Publisher: All Things That Matter Press
Publication date: 08/27/2012
Pages: 204
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.43(d)

About the Author

I am a native of Buffalo, New York. My writing life began as a child retreating into the stories and poems that came to me, always believing that writing was the love I would keep and that would keep me. Early on I developed an interest in history, especially European history, while my participation in and appreciation of music was encouraged through memories shared about my maternal grandmother, who was a concert pianist in Chicago in the 1920's. My early pursuits also included drawing and painting-and acting, which I eventually gave up, admitting that my inclination for drama was better written than acted out, my imagination more consistent than my courage.
My educational journey took me from Theater Arts and Communication at SUNY Brockport, to a History and Literature major at Daemen College (formerly Rosary Hill College) in Amherst, NY; culminating in a dream-fulfilling semester at Wroxton College, England (run by Fairleigh Dickinson University, New Jersey), not far from Stratford Upon Avon, Warwick, Woodstock, Oxford, as well as the picturesque Cotswolds. Not least because of a fateful encounter, I impetuously stayed in Wroxton for sixteen years-a yellow-stoned village with thatched cottages, a duck pond, and twelfth century church and abbey turned Jacobean manor house. I lived, for better or worse, right off the pages of Fielding, the Brontes, Austin, Hardy, DH Lawrence, and even Dickens, surrounded by the beautiful hills, woods and fields of the Oxfordshire countryside, and all kinds of colorful characters. This truly turned out to be a life-changing experience that resonates in my personal and professional endeavors to this day.
I returned to the US in 1990, to a rural area of Western New York State where I still reside in a cozy log cabin with my beloved mother and cats. I have been employed in a variety of "day jobs" from retail to media consulting, as a volunteer coordinator for Western New York Public Broadcasting, and presently with a career transitioning company in Williamsville, NY. In addition to writing, music, and art, I am passionate about nurturing nature and a consciousness for a more compassionate, inclusive, and peaceful world.
Please visit my website, where you can contact me: http://dmdenton-author-artist.com, and blog featuring my poetry and artwork: http://bardessdmdenton.wordpress.com/

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A House Near Luccoli 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Mirella More than 1 year ago
A House Near Luccoli is a character-driven novel about the flamboyant Baroque composer, Alessandro Stradella. Recognized as a genius, he is wildly eccentric and irresistibly charming. His bold, gregarious personality, eccentric manner, and ungodly manners both endear and repel. When he flees Venice after a scandalous affair, he arrives in Genoa. He moves into to an apartment in the same house where the unmarried, youthful spinster Donatella. She is thrilled when he hires her as his copyist. Donatella soon succumbs to this enigmatic man his fascinating life and work. The more she is drawn into his life, the more she must struggle to maintain her own identity. Author DM Denton writes with verve and great style. In Alessandro and Donatella she has recreated the romance between them with vivid believability. The 17th century is a period of extremes – lavish wealth and devastating poverty, lofty heights and dire circumstances. As the story unfolds and more of each character is revealed, I got a strong sense of the times, its foods, clothing, music, and art. Alessandro is a lovable rogue, a bad boy who never seems to learn from his mistakes. Ultimately, it all catches up to him in a tragic ending.  I always enjoy novels of unique historical settings with lesser known heros and heroines of the times. This is one such novel. Very well put together and researched. Highly recommended.  
lastshadetree More than 1 year ago
A House Near Luccoli DM Denton In “A House Near Luccoli,” DM Denton successfully blends the lives of a fictional female character with an existing historical figure to create a tale that is both believable and moving. The 17th-century Italian composer Alessandro Stradella is well enough known to those of us in the early-music field, although his works are under-appreciated today. However, in the Wikipedia article’s words, “He enjoyed a dazzling career as a freelance composer, writing on commission, … producing over three hundred works in a variety of genres.” When the story begins, Stradella has already committed a serious crime, bedded too many women, fled several cities in disgrace, and survived a near-fatal attack. He has also written quantities of amazing music, much of it sacred. Donatella, the fictional character, is hardly his type. And yet, a most unusual relationship, largely built on mutual respect, slowly evolves. Denton demonstrates the depth of her research and her immersion in the period by depicting in detail a 17th-century household’s furnishings and daily rituals. The thoroughness of the description is especially appropriate since the no-longer-young Donatella is a virtual prisoner inside her own house. We can visualize the furniture, the food consumed, and the scrubbing, dusting, and scouring that go on in the dark, slightly musty and scruffy rooms off the staircase and hallways. We see the practical kitchen, and even a small walled garden, scented by citrus trees. Denton’s subtle rendering of the “pecking order” in a class-conscious society is quite stunning, from the lowest of the servants, to fish sellers, to Donatella herself, to Stradella and the musicians he directs, and upward to the top-tier nobility. Of course, dominating each social class from low to high is the inevitably superior male. The members of these separate classes often rub shoulders, although they usually remain mindful of their pre-ordained positions in life. Now we come to the crux of why Donatella’s character is so interesting, and from the outset, we are spared the typical feminist-heroine of historical fiction, annoyingly spunky and incongruously stuck in a period costume. True to her century, Donatella is not in an upwardly mobile social position, to say the least. She is not particularly beautiful, or, at her age, marriageable. She is not wealthy or a noblewoman. Rather, she is in stasis, genteelly trapped, living under the thumb of an authoritarian aunt while caring for her aged grandmother, her cats, and a scrappy household. When Stradella appears on the scene, she begins to use talents she hardly knew she had, and without guile or flirtatiousness, she fascinates the libertine composer through her goodness and honesty. In spite of his bad-boy reputation, Stradella treats this modest woman, a hidden romantic, with unusual deference. The long sentences made up of multiple clauses separated by many commas bothered me at first, and occasionally I had to reread them to grasp the content. But after a while, I fell under the spell of Denton’s unique style. The overall effect is gauzy, like peering into another era obscured by the haze of centuries. But upon closer examination, I sensed steely precision. These sentences and paragraphs are a paean to Italian baroque architecture—outwardly flamboyant, but powerfully robust, the clauses curling back upon themselves. Her collage-like cover illustrations also embody the delicacy and strength of
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Imagine yourself a woman caring for a beloved grandmother and under the thumb of a domineering aunt. Imagine yourself in Genoa in the late seventeenth century, a woman circumscribed by being a woman in an era when a woman's single role was to get married and have children. One of the most reliable story plots begins like this: A stranger comes to town. And so begins Diane Denton's novel. The stranger is Stradella, famed Baroque composer, a roue driven from other towns and settling here, in a house with three women and a sexy young servant. Which one will bed him? Will he seduce rich women and make himself persona non grata here as well? Or has he come here to make, not mischief, but music? Will the sound of that music spill down into the grandmother's bedroom, a private concert, and will Stradella somehow come to know that Donatella, the thirtiesh spinster, is musically trained and could be of great help to him? I love historical novels and any story that features a genius and the person who stands behind the genius: a muse, an amanuesis, a lover. Back in late seventeenth century Genoa, inevitably, that person would have been a woman. When Stradella, the feted Baroque composer, takes up residence in her house, Donatella is drawn to him as a moth to flame. The minuet of their attraction and our curiosity about whether the famous Stradella will recognize her gifts kept me reading from the first page to the last. The sentences in this poetic and evocative novel will echo long after you finish the story, but like poetry, you may find yourself slowing down to savor the whispers and stand, for just a minute, at the open window. If you like THE GIRL WITH THE PEARL EARRING (book or movie), you will love this book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I follow Author DM Denton on her blog, so I'm very familiar with her beautiful and poetic writing. Reading A House Near Luccoli was a  romantic and lovely experience. I wasn't knowledgeable of Alessandro Stradella, but reading this wonderful book gave me a clear window into  his life. What remarkable visuals DM Denton paints with her words, taking us back to the 17th century. Not only was the story compelling, reading of the the relationship between Stradella and Donatella, but her book was also an interesting cultural experience. If you're looking for a book  that you simply can't put down, then I highly recommend this historical novel, A House Near Luccoli.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A House Near Luccoli by D.M. Denton is a fictionalized account of the last year in the life of little-known Italian Baroque composer and performer Alessandro Stradella. Told through the eyes of one of his fellow lodgers, A House Near Luccoli is a portrait of the complex love Stradella inspired in others, as well as a celebration of his love for beauty and music. Meticulously researched, with great attention to historical detail, A House Near Luccoli is marked by poetic prose and literary flair, in a style very consistent with its subject matter. The trenchant and lovely dialogue is matched by passages of lyrical description that often leave the reader breathless. The book is a frequently beautiful, heady read by an author in firm control of the story, and possessed by a tireless ability to bedazzle. A House Near Luccoli inspires interest in the time period and culture of this under-appreciated composer. It is to this book and its author that I owe thanks for my introduction to Stradella’s music, a source of inspiration that has become part of my daily ritual. 
Kim_Z_Rendfeld More than 1 year ago
Beautifully Written Story with an Atypical Heroine You can’t help but like Donatella, the heroine of this novel. Having had her heart broken in the past, she remains unmarried in her mids-30s, past her prime by the standards of this era, yet she is not bitter. In fact, she is a sweet woman with the soul of an artist. She cares for her grandmother, a former opera singer who encourages her granddaughter to take more chances with her artistic aspirations. But with a domineering aunt and in a restrictive society, Donatella has slipped into complacency. Enter Alessandro Stradella, a talented middle-aged musician and composer with a well-earned bad boy reputation. The reader will enjoy watching Donatella develop from a star-struck admirer to Stradella’s friend. Will she let go of the inhibitions that imprison her? Exactly how far does her relationship with Stradella go? You will have to read the book to find out. Stradella was a real-life Baroque composer who is little known today. The heroine and the story are invented but very believable, and I was drawn in to her story and her world. Perhaps this is what Stradella’s life in Genoa was like. The author’s writing is elegant, revealing the soul of a poet. Her prose, the heroine, her re-creation of 17th-century Genoa, and the tale make this novel a joy to read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I won a book from Diane Denton A House near Luccoli. I couldn’t have imagined how romantic and poetic the story would be. I know Diane is a brilliant artist and poet, because I follow her blog and website. So reading the story, you feel as if you’re there, in 17th Century Genoa. It’s a love story between Donatella who is in her mid-thirties and unmarried, she lives with her aunt and gran, who is called nonna. Nonna is bed ridden, but she still instigates for Donatella to become Allesandro Stradella’s copyist. This gives her chance to get close to him. She’s not the only one to fall in love with the musician, he seems to have all the ladies under his spell, even Gran, and a Princess. Diane sets the scene with the winding alleyways, and carriages, boats in the harbour and a Carnival. You would need to love all things Italian, Classical music and romance to enjoy this book. I’m new to Classical music, but it’s hypnotic, just like Diane’s book. She says that her mother has read the book three times. I’ll be reading it again, as the rhythm of it is beautiful.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ingebrita More than 1 year ago
“She might have found comfort in making the most of it, like her cats sharing the day's last sunlight, one small splash from the sea's horizon to the edge of the carpet's shore.” A House Near Luccoli is full of such lovely and lyrical prose which gently transports the reader to 17th century Genoa, Italy. Taking in the author's wonderful words, one can almost smell the gardens and sachets, taste the food and wine, feel the summer heat, see the musical notes being carefully transcribed, the sunshine glittering on the ocean, and hear the exquisite music. About a year ago we went to a concert, The Passion of the Italian Baroque, at the Amherst Early Music Festival, and heard beautiful performances with various combinations of the viol, violin, violone, recorder, flute, two oboes, cello, and three harpsichords. And a soprano sang along on a couple of pieces. Memories of the sound of that baroque music made reading the story of the colorful composer Alessandro Stradella and the restless Donatella all the more vivid in my mind.
DBennison More than 1 year ago
From the opening lines, this beautifully written historical novel effortlessly transports the reader into the very real world of the `forgotten' 17th century composer, Stradella, and his relationship with the vividly imagined fictional protagonist, Donatella. In turns moving and exhilarating, sad and joyous, the author moves dexterously from scene to scene: from exquisitely rendered intimate and searching conversations between Stradella and Donatella to the pace and excitement of the final scenes at the Carnevale, leading to a dénouement that is both an ending and a beginning. The novel has no longueurs or loss of pace; its skilfully constructed momentum makes for a compelling read. Accurately rendered historical details (the novelist's light touch belies the in-depth research that she must have undertaken) and convincing characterisation and plot development lie at the heart of this fascinating and rewarding novel. And as with any skilled writer and artist, the author provides insights not only into a long-neglected musician and the specific time in which he lived, but also addresses questions that are as relevant today: what it is to be gifted and what it is to be ordinary, and the hopes, disappointments, griefs, yearnings and joys that are the markers of what it is to be human. This novel would make a great film! I hope the author receives the recognition she deserves for this impressive achievement and I sincerely hope she continues to write.