The King’s Courtesan


One afternoon an old woman by the name of Signora Ginori receives a visitor. Her unexpected guest carries secrets meant only for the grave, not the spotlight. Some secrets cause a ripple if unearthed. Others, like Signora Ginori’s, could affect an entire country, if not history itself. She was born Isabella Di’Lorini, but her tombstone will read Francesca Ginori to protect those she loves most. From poverty to a beloved of the Italian royal house, she bravely faced revenge from a jealous queen. The life of a courtesan is fraught with danger amongst moments of simmering passion. Isabella was different from other courtesans because she held the heart of a king in her hands and a threat to the monarchy.

Often historical romance balances a love story choked by war and draped in political skirmishes. Ms. Tisdale took a different route with her epic 1700’s tale. Like a plume of smoke on a windless day, this novel will rise above others of its genre with her unique voice. Dialogue foreshadows danger and pleasure. Characterization endears one to the protagonists and despair when the heroine comes face to face with her enemy. Two secondary characters are particularly interesting and it is a shame more of their story wasn’t shared except at its tragic end. The curse mentioned at the beginning of the story which stirs anticipation doesn’t hold the power it should when revealed. 

“The King’s Courtesan” terminates without the happiest of endings. It is genius in its execution because it lingers in a reader’s mind with what could have been, but will never be.

Sloane Austen