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    A poignant, beguiling historical fiction!

    In a 16th century Italian village, status and property are valued above all else. The station you’re born into is the same one you’ll pass onto your children, whether you’re deserving or not. Antonius is poor but has a special gift for reading thoughts. He’s always tried to keep it to himself but when the village’s seer holds a competition for an apprentice, Antonius jumps at the chance and secures the head apprentice position while the Comte’s son, Nichola, is the understudy apprentice. Even though Antonius’ gift is stronger, the seer appoints Nichola as an apprentice to appease his patron, Comte Valperga. As both young men learn under the tutelage of Savinus, the seer, they vie for the affection of Giulia, his beautiful daughter. The rivalry heats up between the two apprentices. Nichola cheats, robs and sneaks his way into Giulia’s heart while Antonius loves her from afar. Savinus advises Antonius to wait to confess his true feelings until Nichola’s true nature is revealed. But jealousy and deceit rule a heart and he’ll do whatever it takes to make Giulia his. Will Giulia choose the right man, or will it end in a disastrous climax? A poignant, beguiling story dealing with matters of the heart: family, falling in love and following your heart. This is the kind of historical fiction I love most, where the author transports me to a time and place I’ve never been. Kate Murdoch’s lyrical narration reminds me of Gabriel García Márquez. She describes the nuances of Medieval Italy without being heavy-handed. There’s almost a poetic nature to the story and its characters. I loved it! Disclaimer: I received a copy from the publisher in the hopes I'd review it. Favorite Character/Quote: Antonius. I love how he didn’t let his station in his life and/or other people’s views dictate his life. He’s a gifted young man and through hard work and perseverance, he can have everything he’s ever wanted. He leaps off the page and he’s my favorite character. My Rating: 5 stars

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