With the aid of her mother, Bianca flees her dark, cruel union, seeking shelter in a seaside villa. It is the shocking murder of her husband that allows her to find the possibility of love at last. But Florentine society would never approve of the man she’s chosen: Prince Amir, grandson of Memhet the Conqueror.
Two passionate lovers...two different cultures...two worlds determined to keep them apart...
In “Bianca” by Bertrice Small, Bianca Pietro d’Angelo is known throughout Florence for her exquisite beauty. Even though she is only fourteen, men come from all through the town just in hopes to catch a glimpse of her. However, her father is a very successful silk merchant who plans to see his daughter married to a man with wealth and a worthy reputation.
Bianca knows that her family will seek a suitable husband for her, but she believes that she will not be married right away. Unfortunately, the time comes sooner than she thinks. A very prominent lawyer, Sebastiano Rovere, is blackmailing Bianca’s father. Sebastiano promises to keep secret the indiscretions of his son and Bianca’s older brother in exchange for the lovely girl’s hand in marriage. Even though Bianca’s mother is against this, she cannot go against her husband’s orders. She attempts to stall the wedding as long as she can.
Sebastiano is a very disreputable man, but his formidable connections keep him out of trouble. Once married, Bianca suffers greatly at Sebastiano’s hands. He is very brutal and makes her perform horrible acts. When her mother learns of the horrors her daughter has endured, she helps Bianca escape. In order to keep her far away from Sebastiano, Bianca is sent to live in a secluded villa with only a few servants. Over time, she learns that she has a neighbor and is quite curious about him.
When she finally meets Prince Amir and they begin to spend time together, she begins to realize what true love is. She receives news of Sebastiano’s death and her parents expect her to return to Florence for another arranged marriage. Bianca is determined not to be forced into another marriage, so she makes plans to leave with Prince Amir to his country, Turkey.
Bianca’s family does not want her to marry Prince Amir because he is considered an infidel and they do not believe this union should take place. They send her to live with her grandfather in Venice in hopes that he can arrange a marriage for her. Prince Amir vows to find Bianca and make her his wife. When a ‘kidnapping’ takes place, this is the perfect opportunity for the two lovers to be together. Bianca enjoys her life with her new husband, but has to get used to being his third wife which is the customs of his land. They also have to be aware of a very jealous wife of the Sultan who wishes to have all of the Sultan’s eligible heirs removed except for her son.
This was a very good story; however, it was very disturbing to read of such acts done to a fourteen-year old girl. I realize the custom in Florence in the 1400s was for girls to be married at that age. Even though Bianca suffered and was expected to do the bidding of others, she survived a very strong woman who became in charge of her own life. Determined not to be forced to marry, she risked her family’s love by disobeying them and marrying Prince Amir. I think secretly her parents were proud of her but I feel her mother was jealous because Bianca succeeded in doing she never could and that was to marry for love.
Book Disclosure: A book was provided by the publisher.