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The book is written as a journal composed by Isabella Francavilla, until recently Marchesa of Termolí, in her convent cell, where she has been placed in solitary confinement until she confesses to and seeks absolution from her unspecified sin. In her journal, she traces her life from the time she was playing games of ‘Heroes and Maidens’, in the innocence of childhood, with her cousin Alfonso, to whom she was betrothed in infancy. These are the roles they will play all their lives, Alfonso as the Hero, while Isabella, intelligent, articulate, and soon acquiring literary prowess, vows never to succumb to being the Maiden chained to the rock waiting for rescue. Her journal takes us through her desperate attempts to produce an heir and be a good wife to Alfonso, only to be abandoned by him while he leads a life of warring and womanising.
Born in Cambridge as a war child, I have led a variegated and muddled existence, having studied at Liverpool University during the Beatles years, worked as a clinical psychologist More...
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