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Celestina’s Burnings

Annemarie Schiavi Pedersen

Against the canvas of Renaissance Italy, the tables turn on Celestina the witch-hunter as, one by one, family and societal secrets become revealed in what IndieReader calls a “grand and engaging rich historical adventure worth savoring.” Annemarie Schiavi Pedersen evokes a Florence of inquisitors, seductresses, starry-eyed artists, and shaven-headed young men in the streets. “Philippa Gregory-esque” — Kirkus Reviews

It’s 1491 in Florence, Italy. Celestina DiCapria’s father was killed by a witch. As Celestina’s mourning period ends, a call goes out to the people to launch a crusade against witches. Bonfires are erected to burn them, and club-wielding youths fill the streets. Celestina joins with gusto, to get vengeance on the woman who killed her father.

She meets Rinaldo SanGiorgio, an art-loving stonecutter, and he falls for her. Their relationship is strained, however, when the crusade against witches expands against beautiful works of art — works that Rinaldo believes represent the very soul of Florence. Celestina is willing to sacrifice such things on the altar of revenge, but then she’s accused of witchcraft by the leader of the hunt, Friar Thane Brucker, after she refuses to burn an old woman alive. Will Rinaldo be able to save her?

“An engagingly ornate tale of an Italian witch scare.” — Kirkus Reviews

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