I hesitated to request this book when I saw the title.. I do not really enjoy romantic novels and particularly dislike the “rural romances” so popular at present. However, I was intrigued, I did request a copy and found it a most absorbing read.
There is a brief and teasing introduction by one of the principal protagonists in the story. Marco – Italian anthropologist, charming, ambitious, and obsessed with a necklace centuries old. He admits that, unlike this perfect artifact, he is flawed, a rough diamond and with imperfections. He explains how ‘all it took was one link to unclasp the chain, to set everything unravelling. Piece by piece.’
Marco is married to Sarah, a fellow archaeologist, and together they have travelled the world and created an international reputation in their field. Currently working in Florence, they are thrilled at the unexpected prospect of finding one of the greatest undiscovered historical treasures … the historically famous San Gennaro necklace.
It is Sarah who discovers it, but her joy and triumph fade as she sees Marco passionately kissing another woman. Shattered by this revelation, she drives off wildly into the night…….and crashes.
Her next moment of awareness is when she awakens in hospital, but with no memories of the previous night’s events. She has no recollection of the accident, her husband’s betrayal or of her discovery of the necklace.
From there,the story unfolds through the eyes of those intimately involved..
Sarah, Marco, their son Daniel, daughter Emily and Marco’s mistress Sofia.
Marco is shocked when he goes to retrieve the necklace where he and Sara safely stored it and finds it has disappeared.
This becomes a complicated but enthralling tale involving treachery, infidelity, kidnapping, and finally resolution. We leave Sarah back in her home land of Australia, working as an archaeologist and musing upon the whole series of events which have finally taken her back to her origins.
There is an interesting Authors’ Note, in which Lexi Landsman explains the history of the San Gennaro necklace. Created in 1679 to honour the patron saint of Naples, San Gennaro, an intricately woven treasure by a master goldsmith, it consists of 700 diamonds, 276 rubies and 92 emeralds and is considered to be one of the world’s most precious pieces of jewellery.
The book is also a gem… beautifully written, riveting, and with interesting and complex characters. Warmly recommended.
(The Good Life on 3MDR 97.1 FM, streaming on http://www.3mdr.com Live to air every Monday 3.00-5.00 P.M.)
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