This afternoon I heard the truck rumble—quick knock—truck rumble that tells me the UPS guy has left me something. I sprinted to the front door because, unlike the USPS, UPS only brings good stuff. It was a padded envelope with the return address of Pocket Books.
Huh. Could they possibly be taking a page from “Minority Report” and rejecting authors before they even know they’re going to submit?
It was a book. A very pretty hardcover book called The Rossetti Letter by Christi Phillips, tagline “A novel of seventeenth-centure Venice and a modern woman’s search for a courtesan’s secret history”. Release date: March 6, 2007.
Huh. I have no idea why I received this, but I feel special now. And honestly, this is a book I wouldn’t have picked up, even from my library—Venice isn’t really my cup of tea, and I haven’t been reading a lot of non-romance historical fiction lately. But since Pocket ever so kindly sent it to me for some reason, I’ll read it and blog about it as soon as I’m done.
Here’s the description from the Pocket site, and it’s available for pre-order on Amazon (click on the title two paragraphs up):
In this captivating debut, Christi Phillips blends fact and fiction, suspense and sensuality into a vibrant, richly imagined novel in which a modern historian uncovers a courtesan’s secret role in a shocking conspiracy of seventeenth-century Venice.
Claire Donovan always dreamed of visiting Venice, though not as a chaperone for a surly teenager. But she can’t pass up this chance to complete her Ph.D. thesis on Alessandra Rossetti, a mysterious courtesan who wrote a secret letter to the Venetian Council warning of a Spanish plot to overthrow the Venetian Republic in 1618. Claire views Alessandra as a heroine and harbors a secret hope that her findings will elevate Alessandra to a more prominent place in history. But an arrogant Cambridge professor is set to present a paper at a prestigious Venetian university denouncing Alessandra as a co-conspirator — a move that could destroy Claire’s paper and career.
As Claire races to locate the documents that will reveal the courtesan’s true motives, Alessandra’s story comes to life with all the sensuality, political treachery, and violence of seventeenth-century Venice. Claire also falls under the city’s spell. She is courted by a handsome Italian, matches wits with her academic adversary, bonds with her troubled young charge, and, amid the boundless beauty of Venice, recaptures the joy of living every moment….
Layering wit and warmth into her portraits of two very different yet equally dynamic heroines, Christi Phillips shifts effortlessly between past and present in a remarkable novel that is at once a love story, a mystery, and an intriguing historical drama. Filled with beautifully rendered details of one of the world’s oldest and most magical cities, The Rossetti Letter marks Phillips’s debut as a writer of extraordinary skill and grace.
Pocket, March 2007
Hardcover, 400 pages