Book Review: Secrets of the Tower, by Debbie Rix

Two women, centuries apart, bound together by the secrets of one of the most iconic buildings ever created.


Pisa, 1999
Sam Campbell sits by her husband’s hospital bed. Far from home and her children, she must care for Michael who is recovering from a stroke. A man she loves deeply. A man who has been unfaithful to her.

Alone and in need of distraction, Sam decides to pick up Michael’s research into the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Immersing herself in the ancient city, she begins to piece together the mystery behind the creation of the tower, and discovers the woman who history forgot…

Pisa, 1171
Berta di Bernardo, the wife of a rich merchant, sits in her chamber, dressing for a dinner party. A gathering that will change the course of her life and a young master mason, Gerardo, forever.

A strong, intelligent woman, Berta’s passion for architecture also draws her closer to Gerardo. As she embarks on a love affair, her maid Aurelia also becomes spellbound by the same man. Yet for Berta, her heart’s desire is to see the Tower built, and her determination knows no bounds…


Huge gratitude to the lovely Kim at Bookouture for providing me with a review copy of Secrets of the Tower, in exchange for an honest review.

While Sam sits by her unfaithful husbands bedside in Pisa as he recovers from a stroke, she grows lonely and restless, away from her children and the role of Mother that has been all-consuming in recent years. She decides to busy herself by continuing on with Michael’s research about the Tower of Pisa, most specifically: who really designed it? And what did the widow Berta di Bernardo have to do with it?

The story floats effortlessly back and forth in time between Sam and Berta’s stories, and both had me in absolute raptures. I sympathised with Sam, and was proud to see her uncovering leads and making discoveries, earning her confidence back after many years of taking the back seat, but oh! how I loved the story of Berta, Aurelia and Gerardo.

Debbie had me completely transported back to twelfth century Pisa, and I loved every second of it. The drama, secrets, and scandal, the lust, the love, the heartbreak, I was mesmerised from cover to cover.

What I loved most is how much you can tell Debbie has truly invested herself in this story. At the end of the book, she explains how much of it was based on fact, which I love her all the more for, as it was so interesting to know how the idea came about – it almost made me believe it could all be real! Debbie obviously has a true passion and dedication to the history in this story, and has gained enormous respect from me for that.

This book is so soundly structured and beautifully written that it is difficult to believe that such a piece could be a debut – I’m already excited to think of what Debbie will provide us with next.

Rating: star-ratingstar-ratingstar-ratingstar-ratingstar-rating

Release date: 20 March 2015
Publisher: Bookouture
Amazon UK
Amazon US

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