Eight Strings – female masquerades as a male to perform in a male only puppet theatre
Eight Strings tells the story a young woman in late 19th-century Venice who becomes a man to join the male-dominated world of the theater as a puppeteer—in the vein of Sarah Waters. Ever since her grandfather introduced her to eight-string marionettes, Francesca has dreamed of performing from the rafters of Venice’s popular Minerva Theater. There’s just one problem: the profession is only open to men.
When her father arranges to sell her into marriage to pay off his gambling debts, Francesca flees her home. Masquerading as a male orphan named Franco, she secures an apprenticeship with the Minerva’s eccentric ensemble of puppeteers. Amid the elaborate set-pieces, the glittering limes, and the wooden marionettes, she finds a place where she belongs—and grows into the person she was always meant to be: Franco.
The past threatens to catch up with Franco when his childhood friend Annella reappears and recognizes him at the theater. Now a paid companion to an influential woman, Annella understands the lengths one must go to survive, and she promises to keep Franco’s secret. Desire sparks between them, and they find themselves playing a dangerous game against the most powerful figures of Venice’s underworld. With their lives—and the fate of the Minerva—hanging in the balance, Franco must discover who is pulling the strings before it’s too late.
Rich in historic detail and imbued with sharp social commentary, Eight Strings is a gorgeous, spellbinding debut that celebrates love, life, and art in all its forms.
Available from Simon & Schuster
About the Author
Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist based in Toronto with a focus on tourism, lifestyle, entertainment and community issues. He has written several travel articles and has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He’s willing to take on any assignments of interest, attend parties with free booze, listen to rants, and travel the world in search of the great unknown. He’s eager to discover the new, remember the past, and look into the future.