Filamena Ziani is the much younger sister of the most famous courtesan in sixteenth-century Venice, Tullia Ziani. Orphaned as an infant, Filamena has come of age bent like a branch to her sister’s will, sheltered and lonely in the sumptuous but stifling confines of their palazzo by the sea. Then a dark-haired stranger offers a gift that will change the course of her life forever: a single ripe plum, and an invitation to walk along the lover’s path, wherever it may lead.
This moving tale of forbidden love is a feminist epic told in multiple layers. Through a novel combination of Filamena’s narrative, famous allegorical love stories from history and mythology, and letters to and from Filamena that must be opened to be read, Filamena’s path is beautifully described and finally stunningly revealed.