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   The Etruscan

The Etruscan

Author: Lappin, Linda Set In . . .
 Europe, Italy, Tuscany
Genre: Mystery
Time Frame: 1920s
Published: 2004
"Haunting...vivid...entrancing!" Kirkus. "Gorgeously detailed, wickedly fun," Prairie Schooner.
In Lappin's prize-winning, literary gothic tale, the tantalizing love story between American heroine Harriet Sacket and the enigmatic Count Federigo, self-proclaimed Etruscan spirit, is played out in 1922 against the backdrop of eerie Etruscan tombs, boar-infested woods, and elegant Tuscan villas. The Etruscan recounts the adventures of Harriet Sackett, trouser-wearing American photographer who travels to Italy to photograph Etruscan tombs for the Theosophical Society.  Here she falls in love with the charismatic Federigo del Re, occultist , amateur archaeologist, and shape-shifter, but her increasing fascination with the man will leave her on the brink of collapse. The story is told from the viewpoint of Harriet's English cousins, Stephen and Sarah, whose own dark secrets are revealed as they read the diary Harriet has kept of her obsession, trying to understand what has transpired. As the unraveling of Harriet's mind is revealed, so too are the secrets of Harriet's family- secrets which are no less disturbing than those revealed in her diary. The mystery at the heart of Harriet's experience draws the reader on: who is Federigo del Re, the man she calls "her secret sun"? Noble lover, unscrupulous conman, Etruscan ghost, village shaman, or simply the product of Harriet's delusion? Lappin keeps the suspense pulled taut till the very last page. Readers traveling to Italy this summer or just lounging at home dreaming of Tuscany can lose themselves in the Etruscan woods of Lappin's lush landscapes.
What Readers Are Saying:
"Think Fifty Shades of... but fifty times better written," Margaret Bramley,
"Pan dances more deeply in The Etruscan than he does in Lawrence's Etruscan Places" Mel Ulm, The Reading Life.
"I was enthralled by Lappin's Italy... and by that god/demon/boar that flits through its landscape" Nina Auerbach, critic, author of Our Vampires, Ourselves
"Reminiscent at times of John Fowles' The Magus" A.E. Stallings
From the book  
"The road to the tombs skirted a field of shriveled sunflowers, an army of nodding heads on stalks, bowed and blackened, awaiting harvest. There were no houses out this way, only wide expanses of tawny stubble, alternating with strips of freshly ploughed clay. Here and there on a hilltop, a dead oak or cypress punctuated the empty sky where hungry crows swooped low. 
Grazing in the quiet meadows were flocks of dirty sheep. Their bells tinkled as they turned their heads to stare at me. A solitary traveler on the road, an alien by local standards: a tallish woman, no longer young, wearing a pair of moleskin trousers and rubber boots; a rucksack swinging on my shoulders. The black felt hat pulled low over my forehead concealed my cropped blonde hair. When working or traveling, I always dress in men's clothes. To those placid sheep I probably looked like a walking scarecrow. ..
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