The Doge’s Daughter
After reading Gabriella West’s short story, The Doge’s Daughter, the reader may need a cold shower or a cigarette. Venice, 1600s. West has given us a periodic piece that, though boldly sad, rings true for the way innocent boys with falsetto voices were treated during this time. Just read Anne Rice’s Cry to Heaven for a more heavier look at the world of the castrati.
Young Piero is swept away from his poor family, chosen for the royal court choir. Soon, he is also chosen by the Doge’s young daughter who is about to be married off to a prince. And while the prince is away, his wife will play and she wants Piero to be her lover. Both explore new and exciting realms of their sexuality, as Piero becomes comfortable in matters of his own heart.
West has true talent for creating strong characters, giving them life on the page just as disturbing and true as our own situations that we find ourselves in sometimes. This rings very true in one brief encounter that Piero has with a male visitor to the castle as they discuss their tastes for male or female lovers, ultimately leading to a “satisfying” conclusion for Piero.
A touch of history, a naughty erotic relationship between three partners, and an exploration of a boy and girl gracing into adulthood and love, West treats her adult readers to a hot and worthy read!