“My uncle the goldsmith died less than an hour ago but the Plague Doctor is already at our door…” After the bubonic plague takes his parents, 10-year-old Tonino is apprenticed to his uncle in a small goldsmith’s studio perched on a bridge. But as the Black Death reaches its hand into his uncle’s workshop, young Tonino is faced with making a choice to survive. From the author of The Gondola Maker and Made in Venice comes a short tale of pestilence, Venetian artisanship, and the will to live.
Where would you rather be? Lonely and fog-bound in an ancient English castle, or sitting under the stars with friends on a magical Mediterranean island? Magdalena Mountjoy, furious with her impossible husband, the rakish Valdemar, doesn’t hesitate when she has the chance to run away to Aeolus, a jewel of an island off the coast of Sicily. Yet every Eden has its serpent. As friends and relations arrive to share the bliss, fleeing from their own problems with life and love, Magdalena begins to wish herself back at Mountjoy Castle. Meanwhile Dido, once a dancer and now a nanny, listens to her voices and foretells just where this of complex dance of love and betrayal will end for her companions as they enjoy the idyll of an Italian summer. Love conquers all—but will it this time?
It’s time for 24-year-old Amber MacLean to face the music. After a frivolous six months of backpacking through New Zealand, Australia, and Southeast Asia, she finds herself broke on the Mediterranean without enough money for a plane ticket home to California. There are worse places to be stuck than the gorgeous coastline of southern Italy, but the only job she manages to secure involves teaching English to two of the brattiest children she’s ever met. It doesn’t help that the children are under the care of their brooding older brother, Italian ex-motorcycle racer Desiderio Larosa. Darkly handsome and oh-so-mysterious, Derio tests Amber’s patience and will at every turn—not to mention her hormones. But when her position as teacher turns into one as full-time nanny at the crumbling old villa, Amber finds herself growing closer to the enigmatic recluse and soon has to choose between the safety of her life back in the States and the uncertainty of Derio’s closely guarded heart.
Since she was a child, Meg has dreamed of taking a promised trip to Florence, and being able to finally step into the place captured in a picture at her grandmother’s house. But after her grandmother passes away and it falls to her less-than-reliable father to take her instead, Meg’s long-anticipated travel plans seem permanently on hold. When her dad finally tells Meg to book the trip, she prays that the experience will heal the fissures left on her life by her parents’ divorce. But when Meg arrives in Florence, her father is nowhere to be found, leaving aspiring memoir-writer Sophia Borelli to introduce Meg to the rich beauty of the ancient city. Sofia claims to be one of the last surviving members of the Medici family and that a long-ago Medici princess, Nora Orsini, communicates with her from within the great masterpieces of the Italian Renaissance. When Sophia, Meg, and Nora’s stories intersect, their lives will be indelibly changed as they each answer the question: What if renaissance isn’t just a word? What if that’s what happens when you dare to believe that what is isn’t what has to be?
Tag is a medical slave, doomed to spend his life healing his master’s injured gladiators. But his warrior’s heart yearns to fight in the gladiator ring himself and earn enough money to win his freedom. Lucia is the daughter of Tag’s owner, doomed by her father’s greed to marry a much older Roman man. But she loves studying the natural world around her home in Pompeii, and lately she’s been noticing some odd occurrences in the landscape: small lakes disappearing; a sulfurous smell in the air. . . . When the two childhood friends reconnect, each with their own longings, they fall passionately in love. But as they plot their escape from the city, a patrician fighter reveals his own plans for them — to Lucia’s father, who imprisons Tag as punishment. Then an earthquake shakes Pompeii, in the first sign of the chaos to come. Will they be able to find each other again before the volcano destroys their whole world?