The Irish Signorina: Divertimento

Julia O'Faolain, Author Adler & Adler Publishers $15.95 (186p) ISBN 978-0-917561-12-2
A finalist for England's Booker McConnell Prize, O'Faolain (The Obedient Wife) writes with sensuous elegance and an awareness of human fallibility. Her new novel begins when a young Irish woman, Anne Ryan, arrives at the Florentine villa of Marchesa Niccolosa Cavalcanti. Anne's late mother had been a hired companion to the Marchesa's daughter, also now dead, which is why the guest accepted the invitation from the old and ailing lady. Longing for a romance of her own, Anne mainly wants to find out more about the affair between Mrs. Ryan and Cosimo, the Italian she had talked of often and wistfully. Guido, the Manchesa's married son, pursues Anne and she falls in love with him, ignoring warnings from Niccolosa. These and other arresting characters in the novel become embroiled in situations arising from political and familial intrigue. O'Faolain's tart, taut prose will mesmerize readers, but they could be frustrated by the rather ambiguous conclusion. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/01/1986
Release date: 05/01/1986
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 190 pages - 978-0-571-25590-0
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