The Leaning Tower of Pisa is the unusual focus of this
story. Sam found that her husband was seeing a younger
woman; well how could he expect her to stay the same with
three toddlers? Michael went off to Italy and Sam now gets
a phone call to say he's been taken ill; she needs to go.
The SECRETS OF THE TOWER await.
Sam is a former journalist and her husband is in the
reality TV show business. Michael had a stroke while
researching a documentary on the Leaning Tower, and Sam
finds him in hospital. With no kids to mind, she fills
by strolling around the venerable city.
The scene shifts to Pisa in 1171, when an architect's
family is busy and prosperous. Berta lives in a tall tower
house, and handsome Lorenzo, a sea trader, wins her
father's approval. Unusually Berta's father has seen that
she is well educated, not just marriage bait to secure
links with merchant families. Some of the methods employed
by Lorenzo to stock his warehouse seem questionable to
modern eyes, but at this time of crusading and enslaving,
bit of looting here and there went unremarked. Wedding the
pair seems like an excellent idea. Art, glassware,
jewellery and gowns pass through the home. The surrounding
marshes, however, breed bad air, and malaria is inflicted
on townsfolk in summer; also, sea crossings are dangerous.
Life is not carefree.
Through Berta's eyes we see the construction of the new
Duoma or cathedral, with its tall white campanile or bell
tower. Through Sam's eyes we see that tower today. She
continues her husband's researches into the Renaissance
building period, coming across Berta's home and her
portrait, thus linking the two tales. The exciting,
intricate design of the Tower has not been claimed by any
architect - can Sam discover the visionary responsible?
The details of Renaissance life in the bustling city are
vivid; we can almost taste the marzipan and figs. Just as
strongly we feel the pride, jealousy and desire among the
characters, from manipulative women to skilled architects
and working people willing to do anything that will bring
their family more money. The modern story is quieter, but
none the less realistically drawn. Debbie Rix explains the
evidence to back the version of events that she has
invented and she clearly has a remarkable feeling for the
people and place of her story. SECRETS OF THE TOWER is one
for those who enjoy historical intrigue and women's
fiction, as well as containing adult romance themes. The
author's father was an architect, and a reader interested
in this topic would find this lavishly painted novel the
basis of fruitful discussion.
A richly drawn and absorbing novel of passion and power,
love and redemption that will captivate fans of Victoria
Hislop, Tracy Chevalier and Kate Furnivall.
Two women, centuries apart, bound together by the secrets
of one of the most iconic buildings ever created.
Pisa, 1999:Sam Campbell sits by her husband’s hospital
bed. Far from home and her children, she must care for
Michael who is recovering from a stroke. A man she loves
deeply. A man who has been unfaithful to her.
Alone and in need of distraction, Sam decides to pick up
Michael’s research into the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Immersing herself in the ancient city, she begins to piece
together the mystery behind the creation of the tower, and
discovers the woman that history forgot…
Pisa, 1171:Berta di Bernardo, the wife of a rich merchant,
sits in her chamber, dressing for a dinner party. A
gathering that will change the course of her life and that
of a young master mason, Gerardo, forever.
A strong, intelligent woman, Berta’s passion for
architecture draws her to Gerardo. As she embarks on a
love affair, her maid Aurelia also becomes spellbound by
the same man. Yet for Berta, her heart’s desire is to see
the Tower built, and her determination knows no bounds…