A brightness long ago

4.5 stars

An outstanding historical fiction/fantasy.

Wow. This is a beautifully written book that will stay with you. How have I never read this author before?? Once I finished I immediately looked up the author’s other books and intend to read them as soon as possible.

I don’t even know how to explain this book. I wouldn’t really categorize this a fantasy book, although it has certain qualities found in them. It is also not a true historical fiction book either, as the countries and characters aren’t based on real people or places. The book description states that the world the author created evokes early Renaissance Italy and I would agree. The book is a wonderful blend of several genres and while it may initially seem like a quiet story about unrelated events and characters, a common theme slowly emerges.

Do the little, impulsive choices you make every day alter your fate? Can the decision you make to go left instead of right change the course of other’s lives? The story begins with Danio Cerra recalling his early life and the people he met along the way. His father was a well-known tailor and his connections allowed Danio to attend a prestigious school. His intelligence and skill earned him a place at the court of a Count, who he quickly learned is a horrible, evil man. Danio’s fate changes when he recognizes a woman, Adria, who is brought to the Count’s chambers to “entertain” him. Guessing her intention, Danio does not warn the soldiers guarding the Count, and allows events to play out. That decision will change the course of his life, as well as the lives of those he encounters along the way.

Danio’s later decisions bring him into the spheres of a variety of characters, some who are important, influential people and others who are just trying to survive the times. The events and people at first don’t seem to be related, but as you continue to read a common theme emerges. It took me a little bit to get into this book, but once I did, I couldn’t put it down. I highly recommend you read this book.

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.