Book Review: The Lady Queen – The Notorious Reign of Joanna I, Queen of Naples, Jerusalem and Sicily by Nancy Goldstone

The Lady Queen by Nancy Goldstone

The Lady Queen by Nancy Goldstone

Life is full of ‘bad days’ – if you think you’re having one of them, or even a calendar full of them, this book might help to put things into perspective.  It’s a portrait of a lady whose days are potholed with treachery from the moment she’s born.

I read this book whilst in Naples, not far from the solid black towers of Castel Nuovo, or il Maschio Angioino (the Angevin Keep), where Queen Joanna (born in 1326 – died in 1382), spends much of her life.

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Book Review: The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante

The last of Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan novels

The last of Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels

This is a story about the dark places, and the fires, inside all of us.  It’s not new, it’s as old as Naples, but it’s told with the energy of possibility and through the eyes of women.

The Story of the Lost Child is the last book in a series of four – the Neapolitan novels.

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I’ve just read the Napoli section of Goethe’s ‘Italian Journey’

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (portrait by Stieler 1828)

There are names I heard at school that are still buried beneath teacher dust. Names I’ve never looked at again – unreachable, academic names.  Goethe was one of them.

Then, a few weeks ago, I bumped into him on the internet and I read his notes on Naples.  They were a happy find.

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