Image of The Scarlet Contessa: A Novel of the Italian Renaissance


Image of The Scarlet Contessa: A Novel of the Italian Renaissance

In her fascinating novels Kalogridis focuses on the intrigues, passions and history of the Renaissance, drawing readers into the events that shaped the era through the lives of remarkable women. In a time when women quietly obeyed, Caterina Sforza forged her own destiny, choosing her lovers and fighting battles. In Kalogridis’ hands, she comes alive as an extraordinary woman ahead of her time.

Daughter of the Duke of Milan, she is the beauty of the family. She is spoiled and indulged. Her lady-in-waiting, Dea, grows up with Caterina, becoming her closest friend and ally as they each marry and forge new lives. Dea’s astonishing gift for reading triumph cards (aka tarot cards) guides them along their perilous life journeys. Dea is alongside Caterina as she struggles to control her lands and titles. She stays by her even as loved ones are murdered, and even on the battlements of the Fortress of Ravaldino, where Caterina strives to stave off Cesare Borgia’s siege. Later Dea is taken captive and tortured, but remains faithful to Caterina. As Cesare’s prisoner, Dea finally understands her heritage and the place she and Caterina hold in history. (ST. MARTIN'S, Jul., 512 pp., $25.99)
Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin