Please note: this ebook was provided for me to read and review by Library Thing’s Early Reviewer programme. As always however, you can rest assured that this is an honest review!— Katie Theodorus, Melbourne Australia, for Library Thing
Celestina is sick of working in her grandmother’s bakery and hates her fiery red hair. Rinaldo is a stonemason dreaming of a better life as a fresco artist, and knows Celestina is his muse the moment he first sees her. But Celestina has other things on her mind — she has vowed to catch five witches to free her father’s soul from purgatory. The greatest witchhunter in the world has just arrived in Florence and Celestina sees her chance to fulfill her vow … but something isn’t quite right about him. Will she find out what it is before it’s too late?
Celestina’s Burnings is set against the backdrop of Renaissance Florence, and Pederson brings the art and sculpture, the heat and the crowds to life vividly. I could almost touch the marble statues, and smell the bread from the bakery oven. Amongst it all is a rollicking tale of romance and adventure. The lovestruck Rinaldo will do anything for his muse Celestina, from fighting witches to travelling all the way to Rome to petition the Pope. Meanwhile, Celestina finds that nothing is what she thought it is — not her grandmother, the Monsignor, or her father’s killer: the witch she hated.
I very much enjoyed this historical adventure romance. The characters are well-developed, and I came to feel for them in their trials and triumphs. The world evoked is that of 15th-century Florence in Italy, where the monied elite and the church vied for power, and art and culture were foremost. There are many mentions of famous artists and sculptors sprinkled throughout the book, but you don’t need a degree in Art History (like I do, not to blow my own horn!) to appreciate the atmosphere saturated in the arts. There’s even a cameo from the master Leonardo da Vinci.
Celestina’s Burnings does have some scenes that aren’t suitable for younger readers, so I would recommend it for adult readers rather than young adults. The mixture of fast-paced action, romance and sensuality will have readers racing to the end and wishing for more.
Would I read more by this author? Definitely!
— Library Thing
“Celestina’s Burnings glows …”
Annemarie Schiavi Pedersen has written a glowing novel filled with characters burning with passion and in thrall, desperately transitioning from the witch infested past to an enlightened present. Celestina’s Burnings glows also due to the recreation of medieval Florence, Italy, throughout the novel. Celestina and all the people who love her, work, love, and fight on the streets and environs of this medieval city made this reader feel like I was walking with her, hiding with her, and choosing life and love with her.”
-Kathleen Ripley Leo, Author of The Seamless Universe and Winner of NSDAR Women in the Arts Recognition Award
“… Sensory tale of love, betrayal, and witches.”
“Renaissance Italy comes alive in this sensory tale of love, betrayal, and witches. You can almost smell the loaves of bread Celestina burns in her grandmother’s kitchen, as well as the pyres they’re readying in the streets for the witches in their midst. Celestina wants to help the church cleanse Florence of the devil, but soon becomes a suspect herself. Along the way she meets many types of witches, from the fakes, to the profane, to some that might even be real, including herself. This is a tale for anyone who loves Italy, the Medici family, magic, and the Renaissance, as well as those who enjoy another burning altogether–that of young love. For in the end, her desire for Rinaldo, the stone cutter from the hills above Florence, is the hottest of all Celestina’s burnings.”
– Nicole Sallak Anderson, author of Origins, book one of The Song of the King’s Heart Trilogy