The Prince of Cups

Gayle Feyrer, Author Dell Publishing Company $5.5 (471p) ISBN 978-0-440-21777-0
Life in 15th-century Italy was no slice of panforte--at least as Feyrer portrays it in this strong debut romance. Reading her tarot cards, Mama Lucia tells her great-granddaughter Veronica not to worry: times may get tough (murder, betrayal, attempted rape), but there's a tall, dark Prince of Cups in her future. So, despite all manner of Machiavellian intrigue (some provided by Machiavelli himself), everything will turn out well. Red-haired Veronica, a wild gypsy who loves books (and is clairvoyant to boot), is forced to wed an impotent simpleton. Her lascivious father-in-law keeps trying to deflower her, and followers of the Dominican reformer Savonarola threaten to stone her unorthodox family (including her Uncle Daniele, a homosexual painter). Meanwhile, courtier and self-made merchant, Antonio di Fabiani, is making his way from Lucrezia Borgia's bed to Florence in order to sort out his various family tragedies. While dallying with a courtesan who doubles as a hit woman for Cesare Borgia, he spies Veronica, who's disguised as a boy. Antonio fights against it, but Veronica is his destiny. There's a long way to go, filled with decadent historical characters and lots of local color, before the lovers can ride off into the tramonto. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/29/1995
Release date: 06/01/1995
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