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Alyssa Palombo Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Violinist of Venice (2015) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence (2017) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Spellbook of Katrina van Tassel (2018) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Borgia Confessions (2020) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Alyssa Palombo is a historical fiction author from Buffalo New York that is best known for her debut novel “The violinist of Venice.” Palombo went to Canisius College in New York, from where she minored in music and majored in creative writing and English. As a classically trained mezzo-soprano that also plays the piano, she loves incorporating her music into her novels. When she is not writing, you can find her reading, traveling or dreaming of the next destination, attending a concert, hanging out with friends and cracking nonsensical inside jokes, and planning for the next holiday. Palombo also loves French fries and is a self-proclaimed metalhead with too many pajamas, hoodies, sunglasses but never enough novels to read. Alyssa is the author of bestselling historical novels including her debut “The Violinist of Venice,” “The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel,” “The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence” and “The Borgia Confessions.”

Alyssa has always wanted to be an author as she loved reading ever since she first went to school as a child. This love of reading is what led to her interest in authorship as she would go on to write a novel when she was in high school. She queried a few agents but no one thought it was worth it, given that it was horrendous. Alyssa still has the manuscript for that first novel she ever wrote and several others tucked away in her drawer. As such, she always knew that her destiny was to publish and write professionally. However, just like many other authors, she had her doubts and thought of canning her debut novel several times. Despite several rejections, she kept at it until an agent finally agreed to sell it to a publisher. Palombo has said that her biggest influences in her writing journey include Philippa Gregory and Sarah Dunant. These two novelists write historical fiction wrote novels that she thought were sensual, vivid, meticulously researched and beautiful in how they told their stories. Another of her literary heroes is Ann Patchett who she met when she came to her college and gave a talk on creative writing to her undergraduate class. Needless to say, Alyssa was star struck and sometimes finds inspiration from her novels in writing her own.

As an author, she is drawn to write about Italy since she finds the artistry, politics, history and the country as a whole to be fascinating. Alyssa Palombo also includes a lot of music in her novels and in her first novel she wrote about Vivaldi. The debut was written at a time when she was taking a minor in music and was undergoing something of a renaissance that mirrored that of her hero Vivaldi. Alyssa often asserts that she did not choose Vivaldi but rather that he chose her given that she had a dream about the period and the artist, which gave birth to “The Violinist of Venice.” The first chapter of her debut novel is thus inspired by her dream. She has also been influenced by other composers and artists of the period including Simonetta Vespucci, and Botticelli. She thus uses the history, politics, and artistry of the time to write most of her historical fiction novels. For the content of her novels, she often travels to the locations that are the home environment of her characters, where the historical events she is writing about happened. According to Alyssa, Italy is a great place to set her novels given that a lot of historical places such as Venice retain a lot of their history. Moreover, there are not many places with so beautifully preserved architectural and historical sites. Apart from visiting the places where her novels are set, she also reads a lot about the government, culture, and history of the cities and of the artists and composers on whom her novels are based.

“The Violinist of Venice” is the story of Antonio Vivaldi the priest and composer, his secret wealthy mistress and their passion for each other and music. Adriana d’Amato is a typical Venetian especially by the standards of most ordinary 18th century Venetians. She loves to play the violin but her father is a wealthy businessman and does not want her playing or cultivating her gift for the instrument. Not one to be deterred, she starts sneaking out of the palace to go take her lessons from Antonio Vivaldi, the virtuoso pianist and violinist. However, what had begun as stolen lessons soon turns into a consuming and passionate love affair. Her father wants her married to a prominent and wealthy member of the patrician class in Venice. He is a charming and handsome man that anyone could love but she doesn’t. She does not understand what makes Vivaldi so irresistible when their illicit relationship is forbidden by society and church alike. There is no escaping the fact that once she gets married their affair will have to come to an end. However, what she never anticipated is that Vivaldi her lover may be forced to choose between his music and her. Their lives will forever be haunted by the choices they make.

Alyssa Palombo’s “The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence” is the story of Botticelli. The story starts by introducing Simonetta Cattaneo, a beautiful girl that has all manner of suitors asking for her hand in 15th century Italy. But when the well-educated, young and handsome Marco Vespucci makes his proposal, she immediately says yes. In addition to his other positive attributes, he belongs to the favored circle of the Medici family and hence has influence as well. Even before they get married, she finds herself right in the glittering circles of philosophers, politicians, artists, and poets. Her beauty enthralls the men of Florence most of all Giuliano de’ Medici, a rakish member of the Medici family. The fact that she is an ardent reader of poetry and is well educated makes her more fashionable and desirable. However, it is her friendship with Sandro Botticelli, a young painter that makes her feel most alive. Immediately after she wins the crown of most beautiful woman in the city and meets the painter, he invites her to pose for him. She is still learning how to navigate the Florentine society, her marriage and the politics of desire and beauty. It is not long before their sessions turn to passion and intimacy that results in “The Birth of Venus,” a masterpiece of ever Botticelli produced one.

“The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel” opens to Ichabod Crane arriving at Sleepy Hollow, a spooky little village where he has just been posted as a schoolmaster. Through their shared love of music and books, Katrina Van Tassel and Ichabod are immediately attracted to each other as they become fast friends and soon lovers. Ichabod acknowledges that he has nothing to offer Katrina, since he is a wandering school teacher with little social capital. On the other hand, Brom Van Brunt the suitor that her father prefers but she hates has everything he needs. But then romance turns into a passion as Katrina and Ichabod start a secret affair, sneaking off into the dark woods to have their alone time. But in the mid of all this, they pray that they will not sight the Headless Horseman, a legend in Sleepy Hollows folklore. Everything is fine until Ichabod suddenly goes missing on Hallows Eve, leaving his partner in a perilous position with no one to help her. Katrina enlists the help of Charlotte Jansen her friend that is also believed to be a witch. She seeks to know the truth about Crane’s disappearance and asks her friend to investigate using her supposed magical powers. What they unearth leads to Katrina questioning everything she ever knew about the Headless Horseman myth.

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