During the 1527 sack of Rome, the well-known courtesan Fiammetta Bianchini and her business partner Bucino escape to Venice, but not without battle scars. In the business of beauty, nothing less than perfection will do and it takes some time and ingenuity for the two to rebuild. Discussion of the “profession” is frank, but not gratuitous. Renaissance Venice makes an intriguing backdrop and Dunant explores the fringes of Venetian society where one’s fate can rise and fall as quickly as the tides of the city. What I liked best about this book was the characters whose perseverance and wit help them to rise above their lot in life.
Listen to a discussion with the author on NPR.