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For most of us, the word Inquisition conjures up Medieval Spain and Portugal. However, during the waning decades of the Italian Renaissance and after the pope had returned to Rome, Catholic zeal to combat the Reformation of Martin Luther struck terror for enlightened Italians. Many of them died under the torture from the Grand Inquisitor and his zealot henchmen.
The author begins the story of young Lucia Locatelli and her family in 1571 in Verona. An extremely bright child, Lucia discovers Martin Luther’s hidden doctrines in her father’s study. Fired up by her thirst for learning and unfettered young idealism, her fervor sends her family on a terror-stricken path. Her physician father is branded a heretic and imprisoned. To atone, he is sent to the pestilence-ridden Venice. Eventually, Lucia follows him there in hopes of a new beginning.
Lucia’s Renaissance is told in first-person from the few main protagonists. A relatively uncomplicated read, the novel’s subject is nevertheless terrifying, and I kept reading in hopes of a better outcome for the Locatellis. Wisely, the author did not romanticize those terrible times when a careless word could spell death.
This is C. L. R. Peterson’s debut novel. Hopefully, she will write a more intricate tapestry of those times to showcase her talent and extensive research. As an aside, I did find the extremely large dropped caps irritating on my Kindle. I was also surprised that the one German sentence was mangled. A quick Google search would have given her the perfect “Wer sind Sie?” Other than that, the book was perfectly edited.
© Inge H. Borg
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