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In 15th century Venice, Caterina struggles against the inevitability of an arranged marriage to a man old enough to be her father. Powerless, she is consumed by dread as the process spins out of control. The betrothal fails. A letter meant to manage future suitors goes astray. Out of the violence of the Balkans comes Rade, a lawless, charismatic Slav. Having won the letter―containing a belief that the soul's beauty is reflected in the beauty of the face―in a card game, he sees it as the hand of fate.
Though scarred, Rade attempts through the artifice of a lifelike mask, to enter her world of mercantile wealth. To protect Caterina, her father negotiates a lengthy agreement. The mask, meant to be a temporary ruse, becomes, of necessity, permanent. To further complicate the situation for Caterina, a new love interest appears. From fairs to shipwrecks, bull-baiting to rescues, noble house to villa in the hills, the time arrives when Rade is hopelessly entangled in her life. Desperate, he finds he can no longer continue the deception. A choice must be made.
About the Author: Leigh Grant has degrees in art history and fine art. She attended Hollins University and Pratt Institute and studied and lived in Paris and London. A former illustrator, with a number of books to her credit, Grant is currently an appraiser of fine art. As a writer, she is fascinated by the Italian Renaissance and the Venetian Empire. She has two children and lives in Norwalk, Connecticut.