Top positive review
4 people found this helpful
A fascinating story, told with elegance, excitement and insight
on 8 December 2013
Gabrielle Kimm's latest visit to 16th century Italy is a terrific story, told with all her cinematic descriptiveness and her scrupulous research. She brings to life the world of the Commedia dell'Arte with the same attention to detail that she used to describe fresco painting in her first novel, His Last Duchess, and she manages to make it both instructive and entertaining, so that the reader discovers the fascination of the history at the same time as being gripped by the immediacy of the plot.
And the plot of The Girl with the Painted Face is gripping. It's a thriller as well as being a romance, and the "whodunnit" element is handled deftly. Kimm creates memorable characters, all of whom from the main protagonists to the smallest walk-on, are rounded and interesting. Without giving away the plot, she even manages to make a memorable personality out of a crowd! She writes evocative descriptions of place, completely immersing the reader in the scene. Of the many vivid pictures, I would single out the descriptions of the Comacchio and of the grounds of the Castello Estense in the snow. Beautiful.
This is entertainment of a high order, well written, well plotted, finely balanced - and a thoroughly page turning read. I actually couldn't put it down!