by Sarah Dunant
This wonderful historical novel brings to life 16th century Venice. The two main characters are an unlikely duo of refugees from the Holy Roman Emperor's attack on Rome: a dwarf and a beautiful courtesan. They have had to leave everything behind as they flee for their lives. Reestablishing themselves in Venice is daunting but they use influential connections, jewels, and a touch of sorcery to build new lives that are richer because of the people they meet and come to rely on.