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The Maiden of Florence

Katherine Mezzacappa

June 11, 2024

Giulia is an orphan who has been cloistered since she was a baby. In 1584, the powerful Medici family demands a test of virility from the Grand Duke of Mantua before his marriage to Eleanora de Medici. Giulia, who knows nothing about the world of men, is offered a dowry and husband in exchange for one night with the prince. She doesn’t know what that night entails, or that the lecherous minister who arranges it will never set her completely free. The Maiden of Florence (Fairlight Books, 2024) is based on a true story.

Katherine Mezzacappa is an Irish author currently living in Carrara, northern Tuscany. She holds a BA in History of Art from UEA, an MLitt in English Literature from Durham and a master’s in creative writing from Canterbury Christ Church University. Her debut novel (writing as Katie Hutton), The Gypsy Bride, made the last fifteen in the Historical Novel Society’s 2018 new novel competition. Her short fiction has been short- and longlisted in numerous competitions, and she has been awarded residencies at Cill Rialaig Artists village by the Irish Writers Centre in 2019 and at Hald Hovedgaard by the Danish Centre for Writers and Translators in 2022. When she is not writing, Katherine volunteers with a second-hand book charity of which she is a founding member. She also sews dresses and is learning Irish and German.

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