The Girl with the Painted Face by Gabrielle Kimm
This was an entertaining if bizarrely far-fetched story about a young girl joining a group of travelling players in Emilia Romagna, northern Italy in 1582. I started reading this whilst I was in Venice for Carnevale, which was quite apt as the traditional costumes worn for Carnevale are closely associated with the characters of the Commedia dell’Arte – Harlequin, Columbine etc. The storyline was, as I’ve said, rather far-fetched – a girl is wrongly accused of robbery, runs away, is given money by assorted kind people, joins a group of players, one of whom is a drug addict who puts the girl in danger, whereupon she is wrongly accused of murdering an aristocratic drug dealer (who a) has impregnated a woman who’s married to someone else and b) has a gay lover as well, and the players are banished from Emilia Romagna … er, but everything turns out all right in the end! I’ve read books by Gabrielle Kimm before, and she doesn’t usually come up with quite such OTT storylines, LOL. And I do wish that people wouldn’t write whole books in the present tense. However, this was nevertheless very readable, and the scenes with the travelling players were particularly interesting. Not bad at all.
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