I know it’s a bit of a long time until November, when my new novel is due to be published, but I felt that it was time for the book to have its first airing on the website.   

It is going to be called THE GIRL WITH THE PAINTED FACE and it’ll be on the shelves from 21st November 2013.  This is a story about a troupe of travelling actors, and the troubles that befall  them over a few difficult months during 1582.

The book is set in Emilia Romagna, in Italy, and as the novel opens, seventeen-year-old seamstress Sofia Genotti is on the run, falsely accused of theft. Penniless and desperate to avoid the perils of whoredom, she is introduced to a troupe of actors, who ask her to join them as costume mistress. Within weeks, though, she is asked if she would care to learn how to act.  She is delighted with this idea, as acting will surely bring her closer to Beppe Bianchi, the young man who plays the anarchic character, Arlecchino (Harlequin), for the troupe.  And, as the two become steadily closer, Sofia is sure that she has never been happier. 

But her happiness does not last long – after a fêted performance at an aristocrat’s castle, she is accosted by the owner … and the following morning the man is found dead.  Sofia finds herself faced with another accusation – this time, one of murder.

Who was the dead nobleman, and how did his secret past lead to his death? A tale of blackmail, violence and sexual jealousies will reveal the true killer and the redemptive power of theatre will triumph.

Over the weeks between now and publication, I’ll tell you more about the theatrical traditions of the time – those of Commedia dell’Arte – and more about the research I did for the book,  which has included practical drama workshops, a lovely day helping set up the set for a Commedia show, and several failed attempts to learn how to juggle!

Posted in General | Written By July 14, 2013

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