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In Small's latest ambitious romance, Bianca, beautiful daughter of a Renaissance Florentine silk merchant, is forced to marry the father of her brother's friend to repay a family debt. She is horrified by his depraved erotic appetites, which Small renders in explicit detail, and her mother helps her escape. She is sent to a villa in a tiny town, where she meets Amir, a Turkish prince, and falls in love. Her husband has been searching for her and ends up murdered on the road outside her villa. Bianca then runs away with the prince despite her family's objections. She enjoys life in his harem, but intrigue and danger happen there, too. The vivid historical detail and the tender emotion between Bianca and her prince add depth to this sweeping and tumultuous story that crosses some bondage and sadomasochistic aspects, in keeping with the Fifty Shades of Grey craze, and classic historical romance. Fans of Thea Devine will enjoy this, as well.--Alessio, Amy Copyright 2010 Booklist

Publishers Weekly
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Renaissance Florence and Ottoman Turkey collide in the overwrought first Silk Merchant's Daughters historical. Bianca Maria Rose Pietro d'Angelo, the 15-year old jewel of Florentine society, is bewildered when her father marries her to Sebastiano Rovere, a prominent lawyer two decades her senior, to save the family's reputation. Sebastiano rapes Bianca on her wedding night and displays other shocking depravities. She eventually escapes, staying hidden while demanding an annulment and becomes friends with Amir ibn Jem, an antiques merchant and the grandson of the Ottoman sultan. After Sebastiano's death, Bianca and Amir want to marry, but the Pietro d'Angelos can't accept a Christian woman marrying a "heathen" and separate them. The lovers run away to Constantinople, where Bianca adjusts (with superhuman speed) to harem life and Turkish politics. Exquisite historical detail brings every moment vividly to life. Small describes violence as intimately as passion, and readers may hurry past the scenes of brutality while lingering over Bianca and Amir's tender love scenes. Agent: Ethan Ellenberg, the Ethan Ellenberg Agency. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.