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Pauline Montagna was born into an Italian family in Melbourne, Australia. After obtaining a BA in French, Italian and History, she indulged her artistic interests through amateur theatre, while developing her accounting skills through a wide variety of workplaces culminating in the Australian film industry. In her mid-thirties, Pauline returned to university and qualified as a teacher of English as Second Language, a profession she pursued while completing a Diploma of Professional Writing and Editing. She has now retired from teaching to concentrate on her writing. She has published two books, The Slave, an historical romance set in Medieval Italy and Suburban Terrors, a short story collection
on June 04, 2014 :
Filled with human emotion and intrigue, The Slave is a compelling story of a forbidden love that brings 14th century Italy to life with vibrant authenticity. Montagna has created an atypical love triangle—from which there can be no escape but by death—between Aurelia, daughter of an affluent merchant; Lorenzo, her husband, son and heir from a noble family; and Batu, an Asian slave boy. The fully fleshed characters elicit a wide range of emotions from warmth to loathing and even pity for the antagonist in the depths of his compulsion. The straightforward prose is fluid and descriptive, and forms an atmosphere both brooding and hopeful, tugging the reader in opposite directions and creating a skillful balance of expectancy and despair. I gravitate toward these less popular settings and recommend this book for like-minded readers who crave a refreshing break from everyday historical fiction and a well researched peek at a life worlds away from the courts of England.
(reviewed long after purchase)
on March 15, 2014 :
Here is a beautifully written tale with a riveting story-line depicting fourteenth century Italy in a time of upheaval. It is fascinating and clearly well researched with a sense of history as the characters develop within the confines of their social structure.
The high-born Aurelia, married off by her family to Lorenzo (a man with wild needs), finds her life in turmoil. The Asian slave, Batu, becomes her friend and rescuer but they suffer the expectations of their time. Despite all odds they find their place in a medieval Italian world. The imagery is well-defined and the voice articulate and I was fully involved in the story from start to finish.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)