He could be Dante. She, Beatrice. And that, the garden of temptations. All seemed possible at that moment when Giordana came down to the garden and walked towards him. Her skirt rocked the flowers. Time seemed to stop when they stared at each other, immune to the world around them. They held hands, captive to each other, in a France that would soon completely burn. They started walking. Simone smiled. Giordana had placed between her hands the reddish leaf from the Oaktree.

Patricio Sturlese

Martinvast, France, 1788. Simone Belladonna has been given a mission, an order by the Royal Library of Paris. He must verify the authenticity of a first edition of Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy, dated 1472, that Madame d’Estaing has inherited from her deceased husband.
 
The appraiser, an experienced “counterfeit hunter,” from whose scrutiny nothing escapes, discovers much more in the cellars of the castle where the widow stores the book. Licentious practices were carried out there: obscene gatherings based on Dante’s nine circles of hell, the objectives of which are even darker: to lay a trap for Queen Marie Antoinette and finish off the Bourbon monarchy once and for all.
 
Overnight, and on the eve of a revolution that will change everything, Belladonna finds herself immersed in a conspiracy among the highest circles of politics and French society, with no defense but her own ingenuity and courage.

This is the fourth book of the Argentinian writer Patricio Sturlese, published on March 2019 and it’s considered a Historical Fiction and Suspense & Thriller book. Sturlese is a best-seller author from the gothic genre. He studied theology and philosophy at the Máximo de San Miguel School in Argentina where he started out his career as a writer.

The book has romance, mystery, historical fiction, even real-life characters are involved in it. The book spins around the Divine Comedy and it even brings in details from Alexander Dumas’ book The Count of Monte Cristo. It’s amazing how Sturlese tied it all together. The story definitely keeps you on your toes, keeps you guessing what the next move might be and who will win this fight – yes, there is fighting involved in it too.

I heard a lot about this book before it came out, being from a best-seller author and many people I know that read some of his previous books. I was sure anticipating an exciting book. Sturlese delivered in an amazing way. I expected to read the book in the course of one month but I ended up finishing it in less than 2 weeks. It was captivating and thrilling; however, it didn’t become a favorite of mine.

I give the book a 4-star rating. It’s a fantastic story but I was not a fan of the explicit manner of writing that Sturlese has. Some details were, to my liking, too sexually explicit and I prefer to do without them. I don’t think it’s scandalous or anything like that, it adds to the narrative and in this case, provided context but for that reason, I’m not giving it a full 5-star review. Not that I’m some kind of important person to be giving out reviews but I still want to give my opinion and thoughts.

I have been looking for this book in English but unfortunately, I believe it’s only available in Spanish. I hope that it gets translated soon so more people can enjoy it. If you are interested, you can get a copy from Barnes&Noble or Amazon. You can get either the paperback edition or in your Kindle or Nook.

Recently, I added two more of his books to my collection – shocker, me buying more books. I hope to read them both soon. Also, I wanted to mention that I proudly own a signed copy of the book. I went to the book presentation at my local library and had my copy autographed. I like to brag about it.

Keep the passion for reading alive. I read somewhere that every time you watch a reality show on TV, a book commits suicide. So please, help keep books alive and read them!


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