Authors: Bertrice Small
Tags: #Historical Romance, #Love Story, #Romance, #Italy, #England, #Medieval Romance
|The Silk Merchant's Daughters |
|Tags:||Historical Romance, Love Story, Romance, Italy, England, Medieval Romance|
In this sweeping new series of Renaissance Italy, Bertrice Small does it again with all the passion and historical splendor that has captured the imagination of her legion of fans….
After her two elder sisters become the scandals of Florence, Lucianna Pietro d’Angelo is in the difficult position of finding a wealthy man who will have her for his wife. She has little choice but to accept the proposal of an aging bookseller - a not entirely disagreeable union in which Lucianna comforts the dear man in his final years. When he passes away, she inherits his shop and, with it, a sizable fortune.
Lucianna is content with comfortable widowhood - until Robert Minton, Earl of Lisle, visits her bookshop. The Englishman is not only dashing and handsome - he’s a trusted courtier of Henry VII.
The Pietro d’Angelos cannot deny the spark of attraction between their daughter and the earl, so they scheme to send her to London.
There, Lucianna steps out of the shadow of her quiet Florentine life, pursuing a love of which she never dreamed and rising in London society all the way to court of the new Tudor king.
“THE REIGNING QUEEN OF THE HISTORICAL GENRE,”*and Her Novels
“Bertrice Small creates cover-to-cover passion, a keen sense of history, and suspense.”
“Ms. Small delights and thrills.”
“An insatiable delight for the senses. [Small’s] amazing historical detail . . . will captivate the reader . . . potent sensuality.”
“[Her novels] tell an intriguing story, they are rich in detail, and they are all so very hard to put down.”
—The Best Reviews
“Sweeps the ages with skill and finesse.”
Affaire de Coeur
“[A] captivating blend of sensuality and rich historical drama.”
“Small is why I read historical romance. It doesn’t get any better than this!”
“Small’s boldly sensual love story is certain to please her many devoted readers.”
“[A] delight to all readers of historical fiction.”
“[A] style that garnered her legions of fans. . . . When she’s at the top of her form, nobody does it quite like Bertrice Small.”
—The Romance Reader
“Small never ceases to bring us an amazing story of love and happiness.”
—Night Owl Romance
THE SILK MERCHANT’S DAUGHTERS
THE BORDER CHRONICLES
A Dangerous Love
The Border Lord’s Bride
The Captive Heart
The Border Lord and the Lady
The Border Vixen
Bond of Passion
THE FRIARSGATE INHERITANCE
The Last Heiress
THE O’MALLEY SAGA
All the Sweet Tomorrows
A Love for All Time
This Heart of Mine
Lost Love Found
SKYE’S LEGACY SERIES
Just Beyond Tomorrow
THE WORLD OF HETAR
A Distant Tomorrow
The Twilight Lord
The Sorceress of Belmair
The Shadow Queen
Crown of Destiny
MORE BY BERTRICE SMALL
Love Wild and Fair
A Moment in Time
To Love Again
Love, Remember Me
The Love Slave
A Memory of Love
New American Library
Published by the Penguin Group
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First published by New American Library,
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Copyright © Bertrice Small, 2013
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LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOGING-IN-PUBLICATION DATA:
Lucianna: the silk merchant’s daughters/Bertrice Small.—First Edition.
pages cm.—(The silk merchant’s daughters)
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
For Marilyn, Candy, and Bernadine.
Thanks for being such good friends.
rianna Pietro d’Angelo had been amazed at how easily her third daughter, Lucianna, had accepted her parents’ wishes. Orianna had not wanted any of her four daughters married to ordinary men. She wanted men of titles and wealth. The eldest, Bianca, had run off with a Turkish prince and was no longer spoken of within the family. The second, Francesca, had been left widowed with two children, and refused to accept a second husband. God only knew how she was raising her son, the young Duke of Terreno Boscoso, without the strong influence of a husband. But Francesca was so headstrong.
And now here was Lucianna. Her dower portion was down to virtually nothing with the sudden competition from Milan in the silk trade, which had affected Giovanni Pietro d’Angelo’s own silk business. At sixteen, she was already in danger of becoming an old maid, and then there was the youngest sister, Giulia, already fourteen, who would also be in need of a husband very shortly. Giulia now preferred to be called Serena, which was her second name. She thought it more elegant.
Their financial situation known, there had been few offers for the beautiful Lucianna. Several, even given the family’s straitened circumstances, were considered unsuitable. One, however, came from a wealthy bookseller, Alfredo Allibatore. He was quite elderly, with a grown son who helped his father manage their business, which consisted of bookbinding as well. Under normal circumstances, even Signore Allibatore’s son would have been considered too old for Lucianna.
But the bookseller was the most respected in the city, and known as a good man. There was simply no other choice.
Told of her impending marriage, Lucianna accepted her parents’ decision meekly and agreed. Orianna didn’t know whether to be stunned or relieved, but Lucianna assured her parents she completely understood her situation, and thanked them for finding her a decent husband. A meeting was arranged between the prospective bride and her elderly groom.
Alfredo Allibatore, while pleased, was still curious why such a lovely young woman would accept his suit. Once they were alone, he asked her, and Lucianna told him quite candidly.
“I am sixteen,
. I must marry or enter my mother’s favored convent. I have no mind to be a nun.”
“I am old. I cannot service you as a proper husband would. There will be no children of our making, Lucianna. Can you live such a life, my dear?”
“Yes, I can,” she told him. “In your house I will be the mistress. I will not have my mother, good woman she is, fussing over my unmarried state.” She smiled at him. “With the example of my two older sisters before me, I am not eager to allow passion to rule my life. I prefer a quieter existence,
. I hope you are not offended by my candor. It is my one fault, I fear, and you should be warned of it if you are to take me as your wife.”
He chuckled. “I find your candor refreshing,” he told her. “I believe that we shall do very well together, Lucianna.”
They were wed two weeks later. There was no need for a long engagement, and they were happy together. Lucianna kept Alfredo’s home beautifully. She was good company, intelligent, and amusing. His two daughters were nuns, and they did not see them after the wedding. His son and daughter-in-law were relieved to have someone taking care of their elderly parent. They welcomed Lucianna warmly. And three years later, at the age of nineteen, Lucianna became a widow when her elderly husband died a peaceful death while holding his wife’s delicate hand.
The estate had been divided fairly. The shop and some coin had been given to her stepson. He was pleased. His two sisters received a stipend for their convent, and Lucianna became a very rich woman with a house and a great deal of gold coin. And she followed the directive of her sister Francesca. She quickly disabused her mother of any ideas of remarriage until it was her choice to do so and she did the choosing.
“At this moment I choose not to remarry, Mama,” she told Orianna. “I would like to enjoy the freedom that being a respected and respectable widow has brought me. I need no passion or the drama it brings into one’s life. I thank you for your concern and your good thoughts, however.”
“Let her be,” Giovanni Pietro d’Angelo said. “She is not her sisters. When she is ready, it will be the right man, and she will quickly learn that passion has a place in her life.” He put a comforting arm about his wife’s shoulders. “After all,
, you did.”
“Gio!” she scolded him gently, but she knew he was right. Despite her reluctance to marry him all those years ago, he had become a very good husband to her, and she was finally ready to admit to her good fortune. He was a patient and wise man. They had done well together.