Two women, centuries apart, bound together by the secrets of one of the most iconic buildings ever created.
Sam Campbell sits by her husband’s hospital bed. Far from home and her children, she must care for Michael who is recovering from a stroke. A man she loves deeply. A man who has been unfaithful to her.
Alone and in need of distraction, Sam decides to pick up Michael’s research into the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Immersing herself in the ancient city, she begins to piece together the mystery behind the creation of the tower, and discovers the woman that history forgot…
Berta di Bernardo, the wife of a rich merchant, sits in her chamber, dressing for a dinner party. A gathering that will change the course of her life and that of a young master mason, Gerardo, forever.
A strong, intelligent woman, Berta’s passion for architecture draws her to Gerardo. As she embarks on a love affair, her maid Aurelia also becomes spellbound by the same man. Yet for Berta, her heart’s desire is to see the Tower built, and her determination knows no bounds…
I would like to say a big thank you to Bookouture and NetGalley for allowing me to read this magnificent book in exchange of an honest review.
Well, what can I say about this book? I love history, I love Italy, I love the Italian language and I love reading a good book with strong, believable characters. This book simply had the right mixture of ingredients for me. It is beautifully written with the past blended in nicely with the present. I couldn't ask for more.
Who was the original designer of the famous tower of Pisa? There has always been a mystery shrouding the real identity of the architect who designed this famous landmark. And it's around this mystery that the author has skilfully weaved this great story - a story of love, dreams, rivalry and jealousy, using both fictitious and real historical characters.
The chapters take us back and forth in time from the 1990s to 12th century Pisa, unraveling the story of two determined women separated by over 800 years but with one common interest - la Torre.
1999. Sam Campbell's husband, Michael, a producer of documentaries, suffers a stroke in Italy, while working on a film about the leaning tower of Pisa's extraordinary design and history. She finds him in hospital unable to complete his project. Being an ex-reporter herself she's mystified by this beautiful engineering feat, and intrigued by its mystery, she decides to take on the investigation where Michael had left it. As Sam begins to dig deep into the tower's mysterious history, the author takes us back in time to 1171. Who was Berta di Bernardo? Who was Gerardo di Gerardo? What key role did these people play in the history of the Tower of Pisa?
Thanks to the author's vivid descriptions, I was taken back to medieval Pisa. I could clearly visualise the tower houses, the dark, dangerous alleys and the galleys travelling up and down the Arno river. I could almost see Berta, the strong-willed, red-haired 'signora' in her regal silk and brocade dresses and the tower taking shape in the Piazza del Duomo.
Even when I was not reading, I kept on thinking of the characters. When I finished it, I ended up actually missing them. If you, like me, love good, well-balanced historical fiction novels based on true facts, then I highly recommend you grab this book and read it. I am now looking forward to read more books by this author. Well done Debbie Rix!!