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The Brightest Star

Emma Harcourt



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01 July 2022
A thirst for learning and a passion for astronomy draw an extraordinary young woman deep into the intellectual maelstrom, political complexities and religious extremism of Renaissance Florence. This beautifully crafted novel will appeal to readers of Karen Brooks' The Good Wife of Bath and Pip Williams' Dictionary of Lost Words.

1496 It is the height of the Renaissance and its flowering of intellectual and artistic endeavour, but the city state of Florence is in the grip of fundamentalist preacher Friar Girolamo Savonarola. Its good people believe the Lord speaks through him, just as certainly as the Sun circles the Earth.

For Leonarda Lunetta, eldest daughter of the learned Signore Vincenzio Fusili, religion is not as interesting as the books she shares with her beloved father. Reading is an escape from the ridicule flung her way, for Luna is not like other girls. She was born with a misshapen leg and that, and her passion for intellectual pursuits alters how society sees her and how she sees the world.

Luna wants to know, to learn, to become an astronomer who charts the night sky - certainly not the dutiful, marriageable daughter all of Florence society insists upon. So when Luna meets astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus, she is not surprised that his heretical beliefs confirm her view that the world is not as it is presented - or how it could be. These dangerous ideas bring her into conflict with the preacher Savonarola, and her future is changed irrevocably as politics, extremism and belief systems ignite in a dangerous conflagration.

Luna is a woman born out of time, the brightest star of her generation, but can she reconcile the girl of her father's making with this new version of herself? And if she does, will Renaissance Italy prove too perilous and dark a place for a free-thinking woman?

Imprint:   HARPER360
Country of Publication:   Australia
Dimensions:   Height: 235mm,  Width: 155mm,  Spine: 30mm
Weight:   487g
ISBN:   9781489249166
ISBN 10:   1489249168
Pages:   400
Publication Date:  
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Emma Harcourt is an author, researcher and journalist. She began writing historical fiction while completing the Faber Academy Writing a Novel course and now spends all her available hours either researching history or writing about it. As a young adult she travelled to Florence to learn Italian and fell in love with the place. From there she moved to London where she lived for ten years before eventually returning to Australia to raise her son. She's now based in Sydney with her teenage daughters. When she's not writing or researching history, you'll find her reading in her garden. Emma is the author of critically lauded, internationally published bestseller The Shanghai Wife. Her second book, The Brightest Star, is set in Renaissance Florence. Photo: Noel Mclaughlin

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