THE VIRTUAL ITALY BOOK FESTIVAL day seven: Le Marche #ItalyBookFest
Today we’re discussing two fabulous books set on the lovely Adriatic coast.
I’m so excited to be joined by Charlotte Betts author of The Dressmaker’s Secret which sounds a fabulous read. She’s here to tell us a bit about the book and Pesaro, in which the story’s set. Over to you Charlotte!
The Dressmaker’s Secret
Italy, 1819. Emilia Barton and her mother Sarah live a nomadic existence, travelling from town to town as itinerant dressmakers to escape their past. When they settle in the idyllic coastal town of Pesaro, Emilia desperately hopes that, this time, they have found a permanent home. But when Sarah is brutally attacked by an unknown assailant, a deathbed confession turns Emilia’s world upside down.
Seeking refuge as a dressmaker in the eccentric household of Princess Caroline of Brunswick, Emilia experiences her first taste of love with the charming Alessandro. But her troubling history gnaws away at her. Might she, a humble dressmaker’s daughter, have a more aristocratic past than she could have imagined? When the Princess sends her on an assignment to London, she grasps the opportunity to unravel the truth.
Caught up in a web of treachery and deceit, Emilia is determined to discover who she really is – even if she risks losing everything . . .
The factual events of Princess Caroline’s extraordinary life framed the plot for my fictional heroine, Emilia. The story opens in Pesaro, a small seaside town, where Princess Caroline, lived then, first at the Villa Caprile and then at a substantial farmhouse, grandly renamed the Villa Vittoria.
Pesaro is lapped by the Adriatic Sea on one side – making it a popular beach destination – and hugged by steep hills to the city’s north and south, allowing for a mild climate year-round.
I’d researched the history of Pesaro before my visit and it felt immediately familiar when I arrived on a hot June day. I walked in the unspoiled nature reserve of Monte San Bartolo overlooking the sea and searched for the Villa Vittoria, where part of the story is set, ambled around what was left of the ancient town walls, dipped my fingers in the red granite fountain in the Piazza del Poppolo and swam in the Baia Flaminia where Caroline liked to bathe.
All the while I had the feeling that Princess Caroline was looking over my shoulder and smiling at the places where she had been happy.