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The Cardinal's Snuff-Box   By: (1861-1905)

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The Cardinal's Snuff-Box by Henry Harland is an exquisitely written and captivating novel that enchants readers from beginning to end. Set in the late 19th century, the story takes place in Rome, where a young American artist named Hugh Mainwaring finds himself entangled in a web of mystery and romance.

Harland's prose is nothing short of lyrical, painting vivid descriptions of the stunning Italian landscape, the historical monuments, and the intricate details of the characters' lives. The author's ability to transport readers to the heart of Rome effortlessly enables them to experience the ambiance and culture of the city through his elegant storytelling.

The plot itself is ingeniously crafted, blending elements of romance, mystery, and suspense. As Hugh becomes acquainted with a fascinating group of individuals, including the enigmatic Cardinal Bonpre, the story takes an unexpected turn filled with secrets and hidden desires. Harland skillfully keeps readers guessing until the final chapters, building a satisfying crescendo of intrigue and revelation.

One of the most remarkable aspects of The Cardinal's Snuff-Box is its memorable cast of characters. Each one is meticulously developed with intricate backstories and distinct personalities. From Hugh's unassuming charm to the complexities of the Cardinal's nature, Harland creates a rich tapestry of individuals that readers cannot help but become emotionally invested in.

Furthermore, the novel delves into profound themes such as love, faith, and the conflict between worldly desires and religious devotion. Harland masterfully explores the depths of human emotions, leaving readers pondering the complexities of love and the choices we make in pursuit of happiness.

However, it is worth mentioning that some readers might find the pacing of the story to be slower than expected. Harland takes his time to build suspense and unravel the layers of the plot, which may not appeal to those seeking a fast-paced read. Nevertheless, for those who appreciate atmospheric storytelling and elegant prose, the slower pace only adds to the allure of the narrative.

In conclusion, The Cardinal's Snuff-Box by Henry Harland is a compelling literary gem that transports readers to a bygone era. With its beautiful prose, enthralling plot, and well-crafted characters, this novel is a must-read for anyone seeking a captivating blend of mystery and romance. Harland's ability to evoke emotions and create a sense of time and place makes this book truly unforgettable.

First Page:


By Henry Harland


"The Signorino will take coffee?" old Marietta asked, as she set the fruit before him.

Peter deliberated for a moment; then burned his ships.

"Yes," he answered.

"But in the garden, perhaps?" the little brown old woman suggested, with a persuasive flourish.

"No," he corrected her, gently smiling, and shaking his head, "not perhaps certainly."

Her small, sharp old black Italian eyes twinkled, responsive.

"The Signorino will find a rustic table, under the big willow tree, at the water's edge," she informed him, with a good deal of gesture. "Shall I serve it there?"

"Where you will. I leave myself entirely in your hands," he said.

So he sat by the rustic table, on a rustic bench, under the willow, sipped his coffee, smoked his cigarette, and gazed in contemplation at the view.

Of its kind, it was rather a striking view.

In the immediate foreground at his feet, indeed there was the river, the narrow Aco, peacock green, a dark file of poplars on either bank, rushing pell mell away from the quiet waters of the lake. Then, just across the river, at his left, stretched the smooth lawns of the park of Ventirose, with glimpses of the many pinnacled castle through the trees; and, beyond, undulating country, flourishing, friendly, a perspective of vineyards, cornfields, groves, and gardens, pointed by numberless white villas... Continue reading book >>

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