With Miranda in Milan, debut author Katharine Duckett reimagines the consequences of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, casting Miranda into a Milanese pit of vipers and building a queer love story that lifts off the page in whirlwinds of feeling.
After the tempest, after the reunion, after her father drowned his books, Miranda was meant to enter a brave new world. Naples awaited her, and Ferdinand, and a throne. Instead she finds herself in Milan, in her father’s castle, surrounded by hostile servants who treat her like a ghost. Whispers cling to her like spiderwebs, whispers that carry her dead mother’s name. And though he promised to give away his power, Milan is once again contorting around Prospero’s dark arts.
With only Dorothea, her sole companion and confidant to aid her, Miranda must cut through the mystery and find the truth about her father, her mother, and herself.
“Love and lust, mothers and monsters, magicians and masked balls, all delivered with Shakespearean panache.” —Nicola Griffith, author of Hild
“Miranda in Milan is somehow both utterly charming and perfectly sinister, and altogether delightful. A pleasure for any lover of romance, myth, and magic—whether or not they're fans of the Bard.” —Cherie Priest, author of Boneshaker and I Am Princess X
At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
Prospero's daughter, Miranda, navigates a haunted-house landscape of witchcraft, secrets, and abuse in Duckett's gothic debut, a Tempest sequel that falls short of its progressive aims. Miranda is shunned for a ghostly resemblance to her mother, Beatrice, and her marriage to Ferdinand is delayed. She lurks, isolated, in Milan's castle until she falls in love with Dorothea, a Marrakech-born servant and witch. Together, they unravel the mystery of Prospero's exile and face his web of violent lies. Despite poetic prose, the narrative bogs down under arbitrary trauma-logic: circumstances and characterization both Shakespeare's and Duckett's warp to emphasize Miranda's helplessness and desperation, yet a bit of minimal effort undoes the entire purportedly terrifying scheme. Dorothea is a perpetually patient and brown-skinned caretaker-lover for hapless white Miranda, and their off-puttingly unequal romance undermines the book's postcolonialist talk; Miranda's eventual moral growth can't erase the exploitation of bedding the maid. Half rescue fantasy and half violent Gothic, this disturbing story forgets there's more to love than being deemed not a monster.
Fantasy with romance and gothic elements
In Shakespeare’s The Tempest, the character of Miranda is something of a cipher – a pawn who exists only in other people’s image of her and plans for her. Duckett’s novella images her after her father’s return to Italy, as she begins to shake free of being a silent pawn and ask some hard questions: like what actually happened to her mother and what is lurking in the tunnels beneath the castle? She makes an uneasy alliance (and finds the possibility of romance) with a serving woman who has her own reasons to distrust the power structures in Milan. There are elements of almost gothic-style horror as well as mystery and the romance sub-plot. The fantasy elements drive the plot, but also provide a positive resolution that would not have been available in a purely historic setting.