Review: A House Near Luccoli

A House Near Luccoli: A Novel of Musical Intimacy & Intrigue in 17th Century Genoa by DM Denton (All Things That Matter Press, 2012)

Every facet of this book is wrapped in beautiful language. The plot and setting, characters and pace, all live within layers of poetry:

“…Nonna blamed a tendency to malinconia on her granddaughter’s English side with too much rain in her blood. As if climate could be inherited…” (pg 20)

“She wanted to show ability beyond the ladylike diversion of scribbling thoughts or painting in a journal, obsessing over the responsibility for something greater than nothing better to do.” (pg 35)

“She hoped they would be early or late to avoid scrutiny, but they were on time for her to be judged as an unescorted woman passing through a hall made for giants…” (pg 71)

I know very little about classical music or opera, and even less about 17th century Genoa, so the book unfolded for me as a lovely riddle. Musical terminology and Italian words added ambience, even as I stumbled over their strangeness. Scenes hid behind place names, ambled through unfamiliar streets and landmarks. But the story never failed me. I never felt forced out of the plot or detached from the characters.

The book’s “Intimacy & Intrigue” are subtle, a veiled background of motive. The settings are lush, the characters complex, and the pace measured. It’s an intricate portrait of loneliness, of the fragile passions that inspire music.

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I can’t resist adding a photo. These doves, lit by the setting sun, reminded me of musical notes.