So here I am back with a different set of balloons. Now readers, this is NOT YOU. This is for Noelle Clark, my last guest, pertying as we speak with her official release for Let Angels Fly. All right so maybe I should send her these instead..I do accept it. I’m just reminded here of my own little shindig and how I squinted at the PC the following morning to be greeted by an email from Antonia Van Zandt–very nice, very cheerful –about doing promo. Do I write? I asked myself. Book? What book? Ou est le disprins…..?
Anyway the hot air balloon now hovers over Genoa. If Ottoman Dandy is reading this post he already got the low down on why I chose Genoa as the setting for The Unraveling of Lady Fury. But Mr Shey doesn’t and I don’t want him looking blank. that is even blanker than he sometimes does, the next time someone asks him.
On the subject of a location, to paraphrase the lady herself on the subject of finding someone to father the heir, I could have put a pin in a map and chosen a location. Anyone remember this?
I could have sworn Genoa was a port in this game but hey, I am probably mistaken. Marseilles was. Cadiz too, Putting that aside I’ve brought along the gal herself, plus an interviewer to tell you about the sights and give you the lowdown on her Genoa. Interview her myself? Are you kidding?
You can see she’s been busy though, launching a series of Where Am I Now? postcards, though I’m not really sure she should be showing this one unless she wants the answer to be at the end of a rope.
Lady Fury’s Genoa.
Q. So Fury, I may call you that?
Q. Lady Fury, we’ve had some tremendous posts in this tour. Cambodia and of course Antonia gave us Sisi’s Vienna. is this to be similar?
Fury. Well, I should very much like to speak of the famous English poets and writers who made Italy their home, round about the time I was living there myself, part of a sort of émigré community, featuring a large proportion of…well you’ve seen the pictures haven’t you, of my potential ‘helpers’? But I thought I was here to show you the sights?
This one , down at Porto Antica, the harbour area, is very nice.
Q. Fury, if you can’t behave yourself any better than Shehanne, here, then maybe it would be a mistake to continue.
Fury. Sorry, but she was the one who mentioned the handsome Italian organ grinder down on the harbour there. So far we’ve had a picture of everyone else.
Q. There are none of Thomas.
Fury. Hardly surprising when he looked like this. Do you want Shehanne arrested, the things she sometimes tries to google?
Q. The other picture above is of the landmark Lanterna lighthouse?
Fury. Well if you’re not meaning immediately -indeed..yes…. And here is the odd boat. It was absent from the above as Flint probably stole it.
The harbour was of course a place I spent a lot of time, especially when Flint decided to get awkward Oh, and this is the stunning interior of the cathedral.
Shehanne had some line about the villa being a place at the mercy of cicadas and church bells. Obviously my head quite rung a lot of the time, rather like hers the other week.
Q. And you were in the cathedral a lot?
Fury. Er no. No Shehanne never chose Genoa because of that although given her obsession with pirates, she did want an old sea port, rich in history. And she is very partial to the Med. The light, the color, the heat, the people. Also it was very necessary the dowager toad– that is my mother-in-law.–didn’t turn up on the doorstep. So Shehanne told me anyway.
But we started with the poets and writers and really, being a woman myself I want to talk about Mary Shelley, who actually stayed for a time in Shehanne’s home town, of Dundee. Then a place of book shops, radicalism and whaling ships. Not only did she stay but Frankenstein was in many ways born there when Mary saw these totally crumpled by icebergs ships return, having been locked for months in ice…sound familiar as the opening of this book anyone?
People may know about how her son died in Rome in 1819 and her husband, the poet Percy Shelley drowned off the coast of Livorno afew years later.
Not so commonly known is that after his death, Mary lived for a year with Leigh Hunt and his family in Genoa, where she often saw Byron and transcribed his poems. She resolved to live by her pen and for her son, but her financial situation was precarious–something I can completely identify with.
I don’t think there’s any doubt that one Dundee girl to one Dundee visiting girl, the roving lifestyle of Mary was probably what inspired Shehanne to write a book set in just such a one in Genoa.
“Have it your own way, madam. You always do. But I’m not thinking of Lady Margaret. I’m thinking of you.”
“Then don’t. You know I don’t require it.”
“I’m thinking you should just tell that old toad where to stuff her money. You could find a protector here in Genoa. A woman like you.”
A woman like her? Fury met her reflection in the not yet paid for glass. And what was that exactly? Long ago she’d stopped wondering, buffeted by fortune’s changing winds. Forced to snatch what she could to survive. Always knowing one false foot would bring her down. However, she was certain of one thing.
“I don’t want a protector.” It was after all what Thomas had been to start with. Now look at her, without a penny to her name. Again. “I’ve had my fill of them. I want to guarantee my future. The future of…” her voice trailed off, her eyes dulling in the glass. “Well, anyway, things that are dear.”
Susan knew the dire nature of her predicament. When Thomas had first taken Fury to meet his mother, the dislike had been instantaneous. It had flourished down the years, until now, it consumed her.
Fury imagined that at night, Lady Margaret lay awake thinking of new ways to torture and humiliate her. But poisoning Thomas’ father against her? Cajoling him on his death bed into insisting Thomas must provide an heir, before succeeding to the dukedom? Well, it was one blessing at least that Lady Margaret lived in England and Fury here.
“You know what I must guarantee, and why.”