Celestina's Burnings



Love Burns. So Do Witches.

Italy, 1491. When Celestina DiCapria, at the end of her requisite year-long mourning for her murdered father, hears the bell of Montanina ring not for death but for the youth of Florence to rise up against the plague of witchcraft, she puts aside her dreams of adventure and a hunky scalpellino to answer the call. The formidable Austrian Friar Thane Brucker and his holy army are Celestina's path to vengeance on finding the witch who killed her father and left his soul to rot in purgatory.

Rinaldo SanGiorgio, a rock cutter from the hills above Florence, yearns to break free from his family's quarry and paint frescos. When he finds his muse in Celestina, he vows to help with her fight--until the fervent religious mob destroys the art he loves. Rinaldo is torn between saving the Renaissance's greatest art and his greatest love.

But when Celestina is herself accused of witchcraft, Rinaldo realizes flesh and bone are more important than plaster and pigments. Can Celestina and Rinaldo overcome the secrets and lies of a jilted lover, a lustful friar, a powerful monsignor, and an overprotective nonna before Montanina rings for her?

Product Details

Literary Wanderlust
Publish Date
January 01, 2020
5.0 X 8.0 X 0.83 inches | 0.01 pounds

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A young woman caught up in a medieval witch hunt becomes one of the accused in Pedersen's debut paranormal historical romance.

It's 1491 in Florence, Italy. One year ago, Celestina DiCapria's father was killed by a witch. Just as Celestina's period of mourning ends, a call goes out to the people of the city to launch a crusade against every local witch. Bonfires are erected to burn them, and the club-weilding youths fill the streets. Celestina, who works in her grandmother's bakery, joins the persecution with gusto, as it gives her the chance to get vengenance on the woman who killed her father. She meets Rinaldo SanGiorgio, and art-loving stonecutter, and he falls for her. Their relationship is strained, howerver, when the crusade against witches expands to include beautiful works of art--works that Rinaldo believes represent the very soul of Florence. Celestina is willing to sacrifice such things on the altar of revenge, but then she's accused of witchcraft by the leader of the hunt, Friar Thane Bruchner, after she refused to burn an old woman alive. Will Rinaldo be able to save her? Pedersen's prose evokes a Florence of inquisitors, seductresses, starry-eyed artists, and shaven-headed young men in the streets. The style of the book is a bit more high-flown and romanticized than the Philippa Gregory-esque fare that currently dominates modern historical fiction ("Her heart, which is only this morning suffocated under a cloak of darkness, lightened with purpose"), but this approach to the subject manner feels appropriate. Pedersen's version of a combustive, witch-mad Florence makes for a wonderful setting, and Celestina is a believably conflicted, if not very complex, protagonist. Those who are looking for a fun, extravagant read will enjoy this late-medieval adventure.

An engagingly ornate tale of an Italian witch scare.

--Kirkus Reviews