In May of 1608, the Duke of Mantua will throw the most spectacular wedding extravaganza in history. But it will all be ruined unless twelve-year-old Franni can keep a very big secret.
Franni and the Duke, a middle-grade novel, sets a fictional mystery against a specific historical backdrop. It takes place during rehearsals for Arianna, an opera by the great composer Claudio Monteverdi. When Franni and her older sister Alli run away to Mantua, they both find work in Monteverdi’s company. A messenger from the north announces that the next duke of the town of Bergamo is missing, and he may well be in Mantua. Alli notices that Luca, a singer she’s in love with, fits the missing Duke’s description. Although Franni thinks Luca is a pompous idiot, she promises for Alli’s sake to keep Luca’s secret safe and protect him from bounty hunters and Bergamo’s rival family. She does this with the help of the company’s set designer, a worldly wise and world-weary dwarf named Edgardo, who is not exactly what he seems.
“What an exciting story that is full of so much beautiful and powerful imagery, you feel as though you are living right in Mantua!” – Verified Amazon customer review