The blurb (from Amazon)
Francesca Felizzi, former mistress of the Duke of Ferrara, is now an aspiring courtesan. Astonishingly beautiful and ambitious, she revels in the power she wields over men. But when she is visited by an inexperienced young man, it becomes horribly clear to Francesca that despite her many admiring patrons, she has never truly been loved. Suddenly, her glittering and sumptuous life becomes a gaudy façade. And then another unexpected encounter brings with it devastating implications that plunge Francesca and her two young daughters into the sort of danger she has dreaded ever since she began to work the streets all those years ago.
Francesca is a very well regarded courtesan in Naples, 1564.
Her encounter with a young virgin called Gianni has an effect on her that takes her by surprise and her usual confidence and professionalism begins to crumble.
She is asked to accompany one of her clients to a lavish event posing as his widowed cousin in place of his wife who prefers not to attend. Francesca sees this as another transaction and a one off, but a chance meeting with Gianni's father could see her deception exposed and change her life forever.
I have to say this novel has been on my shelf for a while.
There is a slow start that did not hold my interest, initially, but I did feel this was not one to give up on completely but one to put back on the shelf for a later date.
So glad I did. When I re-read from the beginning, the story took a little while to get going. Once Francesca met Gianni I was compelled to read on and see how this meeting would affect her future.
4.5 out of 5 for me. I loved it!