Asolo, Veneto, Northern Italy, 1504, Cecilia joins the court of Queen Caterina Cornaro and sparks the interest of two men, a wealthy aristocrat and a penniless artist, setting in train a tale of passion and intrigue which throws her into mortal peril. Five hundred years later, Fern visits her aunt in Asolo to find solace from a recent trauma. There, her dreadful dreams of fiery death transform into reality as she slips back in time and sees the world increasingly through Cecilia’s eyes. Soon echoes of the past start to manifest themselves in the present. Can Fern keep out of danger and come to terms with her own past?
I mostly read crime fiction and thrillers but another genre in which I find myself revelling is historical fiction. I've come to know the author Siobhan Daiko and her book 'Lady of Asolo' through THE Book club on facebook where she was giving out review copies.
Lady of Asolo is much more than historical fiction. This book ticked all the right boxes for me: Italy, history, art, passion, intrigue - all things that I love to read and learn about. The author sets the story in Asolo, where she lives, and Venice and it's evident that there is extensive research behind this book.
Is it possible to relive a past life? What about reincarnation? Well that is what seems to be happening to Fern, a British young lady healing from a terrible trauma and on a short vacation at her aunt's in Italy.
1989. All starts when Fern begins to smell the stench of burning when there is nothing on fire and begins to hear whispers in her ear...someone crying 'Lorenza!'. Is she going mad? Or is this some post traumatic disorder? Then suddenly she begins to experience frequent, vivid images of a past life. But not only images, it's as if she's daydreaming. She finds herself in the body of a 16th century lady named Cecilia and seeing the world through her eyes.
These episodes become frequent and Fern relives Cecilia's life, her thoughts, pains and passions. The two women's lives begin to mirror each other through time. But who is Cecilia? What does she want from Fern? Why and how is this happening? And who is Lorenza?
Throughout the book, the author skilfully takes her readers back and forth in time without ever confusing them. Her vivid descriptions made me dream, taking me back to 16th century Italy. I could imagine the aristocrats in their fine garbs, banqueting and dancing the saltarello in Queen Caterina Cornaro's court. I could almost hear the musicians playing their lutes, pipes and tambourines. Not to mention the steamy, mind-blowing sex scenes. OMG! What passion! Siobhan Daiko has a knack for erotic scenes especially those in a past setting. I ended up all sweaty after each love encounter and was afraid the burning passion in these scenes would short circuit my kindle!!
Well, I cannot stress enough how much I enjoyed this book. Now that I've finished reading it, I'm really happy (and sad) as I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED it! I'm so glad I've come to know Ms Daiko and will surely read her other books. If you like me, sometimes wish you're in a time machine to relive the past, I highly recommend you this book.