… ‘which was stronger, [Catarina’s] pain or her love for Ivano’
The House of Serenades by Lina Simoni is like a finely woven Italian tapestry. The threads weave in and out of the plot, sometimes woven in golden and crimson hues, at others, in the blackest of black. The interplay of tragic love story and wasted lives is high drama with dark secrets and hidden abuses. The story is at one a catalogue of attitudes to women and the treatment of women in early 20th Century Genoa. Women of the upper class families are chattels to be bought and sold, to gain fortunes and alliances for their houses. Virginal daughters and sisters are fodder in the war of class, status and wealth. It is not only fathers and brothers being unkind to wives, sisters and daughters but it is women being unkind to women--be they mothers, daughters or aunts. This is a surprising story that invites reflection--what is, what could have been and what should have been. Throughout, the music of another century both seduces and repels with overtones of Wuthering Heights.