ElizaBeth Gilligan's MAGIC'S SILKEN SNARE is set in 1684, in a mythical place called Tyrrhia. Tyrrhia is fashioned after Sicily and has given refuge to many of the persecuted races of the day: Romani, Jews, Huguenots etc. But it's a very fine balance that the White King must keep between all the factions.
The heroine, Luciana, is a woman of two worlds. She is Romani, one of the wandering folk, but has been raised in the gadje world since her mother had remarried a gadje husband. When she died, Luciana chose to stay with her beloved half-sister, Alessandra, but she is Romani through and through. Her grandmother is the Romani Queen, and she has inherited the responsibilities of the gypsy silk holdings. Her husband, Stefano, Duca di Drago, brother to the White Queen, is away fighting the Turks. Theirs is a love match that has been hammered by long separations due to duty and is estranged at the moment.
When Luciana receives word that her sister Alessandra is dead under questionable circumstances, thought to be suicide, she knows it's not true. A Romani would never willingly die indoors. Alessa had also been accused of killing Capitano de Montago, the man she loved. To further distress Luciana, she receives word that Alessa's body has been stolen from her crypt. As a sister and under orders of her Romani Queen, she leaves for the royal court to follow Romani vendetta--to bring justice to her sister. She is soon joined by her husband.
I might as well let you know right now, the book is thick <g>. I know that can be intimidating, but it's well worth reading. In all honesty, I've only read a few books set in Italy around this time and have avoided them ever since. So much intrigue and back biting. Well this also has a lot of intrigue and backbiting <g> but also great characters, good love story, unusual plot, and ghosts and magic. I really enjoyed this book, so I have to say...what a difference a good author makes!!
I consider this romantic. The conflicts between the h/h were very realistic and had been exacerbated by long separations in the past, but their unswerving love is easily discernible to the reader and the misunderstandings aren't prolonged. The villains are discovered in the end but the story is far from finished. The author gives you a real feel for the period with her use of some Italian and Romani words without ever making it boring.
I highly recommend MAGIC'S SILKEN SNARE. My only complaint with this book is the name. Between an unknown author, a time period I avoid, and a title like MAGIC'S SILKEN SNARE, it's lucky this book didn't pass me by. I'm glad it didn't. :-) --Linda (26 Apr 04)