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In the Company of the Courtesan
In the Company of the Courtesan
Author: Sarah Dunant
My lady, Fiammetta Bianchini, was plucking her eyebrows and biting color into her lips when the unthinkable happened and the Holy Roman Emperor's army blew a hole in the wall of God's eternal city, letting in a flood of half-starved, half-crazed troops bent on pillage and punishment. — Thus begins In the Company of the Courtesan, Sarah Dunant's e...  more »
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ISBN-13: 9780812974041
ISBN-10: 0812974042
Publication Date: 2/6/2007
Pages: 392
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.

3.8 stars, based on 232 ratings
Publisher: Random House
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio Cassette
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

Munro avatar reviewed In the Company of the Courtesan on + 95 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 7
Thoroughly enjoyable read. Set in Venice in the mid 1500's, while it is a Historical Novel, it is basically fact based, and therefore an excellent window into the Venice of old. I could not put it down!
reviewed In the Company of the Courtesan on + 27 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 7
A beauty of a book! I liked this better than Dunant's The Birth of Venus. She has a wonderful descriptive talent. Her characters are so well developed and real, you are sad to let them go at the end. I could feel and smell the fog through her words: "Outside the city is changing. While we have been talking of God's laws and secrets of the earth, a cold fog has come rolling off the sea, pushing through the alleys, sliding over the water, rubbing up against the cold stone. As I walk, the street falls away behind me, the shop's blue awning lost within seconds. People move like ghosts, their voices disconnected from their bodies; as fast as they loom up, the disappear again. I can barely see the ground under my feet or tell if the gloom is weather or the beginning of dusk." Loved it, loved it, loved it.
reviewed In the Company of the Courtesan on + 146 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
I thourghly enjoyed this book. The historical part was right on! I love books that show me a glimpse of a life so different from my own. A religous war, a dwarf and a Courtesan, who could have thought of a better mix?
Spuddie avatar reviewed In the Company of the Courtesan on + 412 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
Story of Fiammetta, a courtesan who left Rome after it was sacked by the Spanish and Germans, and moved back to her hometown of Venice with Bucino, a dwarf serving as her companion and assistant. At the ripe old age of 21, having been a whore for six years and now in her prime, Fiammetta seeks to rebuild her house and her power base in 1520's Venice. Once again, the author uses her verbal paintbrush to unveil a unique portrait of the city, the times, the people, the mood of the era and makes you wish you were there despite the unpleasant side of it all. I enjoyed this book quite a lot, but it didn't quite have the magical sparkle that The Birth of Venus had.
mizparker avatar reviewed In the Company of the Courtesan on + 87 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
I'm a big fan of historical fiction, and really liked Dunant's "The Birth of Venus." This one took me a few more pages to get into than the other, but I really ended up enjoying it. It follows a prostitute's fleeing to Venice after the sack of Rome with her dwarf friend, who manages her affairs. She goes back to her mother's house, where she discovers that her mother has died. In order to survive, she must build her client base back up, and many adventures ensue. The story is written from the dwarf's point of view, and is quite engaging. I will be seeking out more of Sarah Dunant's work.
Read All 42 Book Reviews of "In the Company of the Courtesan"

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reviewed In the Company of the Courtesan on + 37 more book reviews
An excellent portrayal of life in medieval Italy and, for the most part, historically accurate.
reviewed In the Company of the Courtesan on
What a fun story! I love finding a book that's new and different and this had adventure and history and sex and human relations. It was a great read about a time period I was interested in but it also had a lot of twists and turns I didn't expect.
reviewed In the Company of the Courtesan on + 14 more book reviews
Great story about a "little Person" and his whore! Loved it!
reviewed In the Company of the Courtesan on + 2 more book reviews
This was not as well written or as interesting as The Birth of Venus. It is a book that show an interesting time in Venice, and the characters are reasonably well drawn. I found them not at all sympathetic but not sorry I finished the book.
surfwidow avatar reviewed In the Company of the Courtesan on + 36 more book reviews
I enjoyed this tale of a courtesan and her dwarf in Venice in the early 1500s. I appreciate Dunant's research and found the time period fascinating. Almost as good as The Birth of Venus.
AnnieTea avatar reviewed In the Company of the Courtesan on + 25 more book reviews
This book surprised me in that it gives you a new historical view of an old profession as well as having a tale of the lives of those living in Venice during the 1500's.
reviewed In the Company of the Courtesan on + 174 more book reviews
This is a historical fiction tracing a courtesan going from success to poverty and working her way back to success. A courtesan and her dwarf business partner are ripped off and thrown into poverty. They move and make peace with someone she formerly had a grudge with and he set her up in Venice to meet people of money. She becomes well known and they are living happily ever after until the dwarf notices a valuable book is missing and recognizes their healer was a person in their household when they were robbed and is sure she did it. He ransacks her house while she is gone looking for the book and does not find it. He does take away some small objects which he drops and is unable to retrieve because they have fallen in the water. Later the objects are found and cause her house to be ransacked by the local law and she is accused of being a witch. Turns out she did steal from them - ruby - way back when, but she did not take the book.
reviewed In the Company of the Courtesan on + 12 more book reviews
This book has many strengths. The setting is evocative and seemingly well-researched, but not particularly attractive in the mind's eye. My expectations were more along the lines of sumptuous fabrics, rich wines, and languid encounters. In actuality, the book's courtesan is down on her luck, and any interaction we have with her day to day life is narrated from the 'behind the scenes' perspective of her partner in crime.

There is an interesting subplot to follow, and unexpected twists keep the book from becoming boring, but it wasn't the escapist fiction I was expecting.


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