Look what arrived in my mailbox during the last fortnight!
Two books by great Aussie authors and a musical treat.
BITTER GREENS by Kate Forsyth
Charlotte-Rose de la Force has been banished from court by the Sun King, Louis XIV, after a series of scandalous love affairs. She is comforted by an old nun, Sœur Seraphina, who tells her the tale of a young girl who, a hundred years earlier, is sold by her parents for a handful of Bitter Greens …
After Margherita’s father steals a handful of greens – parsley, wintercress and rapunzel – from the walled garden of the courtesan, Selena Leonelli, they give up their daughter to save him from having both hands cut off.
Selena is the famous red-haired muse of the artist Tiziano, first painted by him in 1513 and still inspiring him at the time of his death, sixty-one years later. Called La Strega Bella, Selena is at the centre of Renaissance life in Venice, a world of beauty and danger, seduction and betrayal, love and superstition.
Locked away in a tower, growing to womanhood, Margherita sings in the hope someone will hear her. One day, a young man does …
Three women, three lives, three stories, braided together to create a compelling story of desire, obsession, black magic, and the redemptive power of love.
FIVE BELLS by Gail Jones
On a radiant day in Sydney, four adults converge on Circular Quay, site of the iconic Opera House and the Sydney Harbor Bridge. Crowds of tourists mix with the locals, enjoying the glorious surroundings and the play of light on water.
But just as Circular Quay resonates with Australia’s past, each of the four carries a complicated history from elsewhere. Each person is haunted by past secrets and guilt. Ellie is preoccupied by her sexual experiences as a girl, James by a tragedy for which he feels responsible, Catherine by the loss of her beloved brother in Dublin, and Pei Xing by her imprisonment during China’s Cultural Revolution.
Told over the course of a single Saturday, Five Bells describes four lives that come to share not only a place and a time but also mysterious patterns and ambiguous symbols, including a barely glimpsed fifth figure, a young child. By nightfall, when Sydney is drenched in a summer rainstorm, each life will have been transformed by the events of this day.
And for a bit of fun, I bought myself a fantastic album “Some Nights” by a band aptly called Fun. This is a feel-good album with anthemic tunes and a great percussive beat.
Mailbox Monday is currently being hosted by Anna from Diary of an Eccentric.