For fans of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue and Mexican Gothic, a novel set in 18th-century Venice at a prestigious music school, about two girls drawn together by a dangerous, magical wager.

by Julia Fine
Flatiron/St. Martin’s Press, June 2023

What do you want most? What will you pay for it?
Venice, 1717. Before she meets Maddalena, fifteen-year-old Luisa has only wanted one thing: to be the best at violin. She aspires to join the highest ranks of Ospedale della Pietà’s illustrious girls’ orchestra, to no longer be just an orphan but a star, a protégé of the great Antonio Vivaldi. Luisa is good at violin, but she is not the best. She has peers, but she does not have friends. Until Maddalena.
Sent to the Pietà to be reformed until the rumors about her noble family have passed, Maddalena is unlike anyone Luisa has met. Clever, reckless, and passionate, Maddalena can promise the world to Luisa, and when she does, their fates intertwine. But Maddalena has made a dangerous wager with something deep in the waters of Venice, and there will be a price to pay.
Heady, sumptuous, and utterly enthralling, Maddalena and the Dark is the love story between two girls and the boundless desires that might ruin them.

This is a novel for readers of historical fiction and fans of stories about the complexities of female friendship. Set in 18th-century Venice, with opulent palazzos, world-class concerts, atmospheric canals, and romantic gondolas, this is the kind of transporting historical fiction that readers will want to lose themselves in. The author brings to life a fascinating piece of Italian history with the Pietà, a girls’ orphanage renowned for also being one of the premier music schools in the world, where Vivaldi himself was a teacher and patron. And at the heart of this novel is a fierce, messy, passionate relationship between two teenage girls.

Julia Fine is the author of What Should Be Wild, which was shortlisted for the Bram Stoker Superior First Novel Award and the Chicago Review of Books Award. Her second novel, The Upstairs House, is forthcoming from Harper in 2021. She teaches writing in Chicago, where she lives with her husband and children.

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