Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Review: In the Company of the Courtesan by Sarah Dunant

Title: In the Company of the Courtesan
Author: Sarah Dunant
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Harper Collins
Published: 2007
Pages: 385

Rating: 3 out of 10

I could find little to enjoy about this book. It is the tale of a famous Roman courtesan and her pimp (who also happens to be a dwarf) when they are forced to move to Venice and try to "start up business" there.

I simply could not like the narrator, Bucino. Was he in love with Fiametta or not? With his attitude toward her, and toward life in general, he came across to me as a bitter know-it-all.

The story of an important side character, a crippled young blind woman called La Draga, was far more interesting. The girl, whose name is really Elena, is a renowned healer, and many view her to have prophetic or witch-like powers. She is clever, resourceful, and wise. Whenever she was mentioned, I would hope that this time she would stay longer. But sadly, she was not the focus of the story.

The climax of the book involves her, but even so, I disliked it strongly. It seemed not to be a climax at all, simply an event. A large event, yes, but did it wrap up anything in the story at all? No. It barely even had to do with the story, in fact.

This was my second of Sarah Dunant's books, and I can't seem to like her writing style, her characters, or her work in general.