There is a really great book series that I have read countless times. I have probably read this series more than the Harry Potter series and that is saying something. It's the Stravaganza Series by Mary Hoffman. They actually have a few things in common with the Harry Potter series. They were originally printed in the United Kingdom and have magical elements to them.
In this YA series, teenagers living in Barnsbury, England are chosen by these talismans that if they fall asleep holding them, will transport them through time and space to a country called Talia in the 16th Century. Talia is actually based on 16th century Italy but in this alternate universe, Remus defeated Romulus and the capital of Talia is therefore Remora instead of Rome.
If you know anything about the Medici family in 16th century Italy, you will see their parallels in the Chimici family of Talia. Both of these families are interesting in their own right so if you know nothing about the Medici you are in for a treat. Google them and see what you can learn about them. They were a fearsome family politically but they were also patrons to the arts because the 16th century was also the time of the Renaissance.
There is just so much I could share about this series but what I think I love most about it is that you feel like you are part of the story. It is told in third person and you get to see multiple points of view. It switches from following the main character (which changes with each book), to following the Duchessa of Belleza and all the intrigue that surrounds her, to following the other stravaganti (travelers between the worlds), to even following the Chimici's plots against the Duchessa and Stravaganti.
With these multiple points of view you get to know all of the characters as well as the world of Talia and it's culture. You get to be in on everything and learn along with the teenagers from present day England. You get to know the customs of this alternate universe that is and is not the Italy of our world back in the 16th century. It is the most wonderfully crafted world I have ever had the privilege of living in and I that plus the characters is why I have gone back to this series over and over again.
I was finally able to purchase the whole series and am re-reading them for the umpteenth time. I'm loving every minute of it. So if you're looking for something to read, I definitely recommend checking out this series.
Keep on Creating,
K. A. Jairl
P.S. Have a great Memorial Day weekend!
K. A. Jairl
My name is Kim and I'm glad you stopped by. This is where I post my triumphs and my downfalls as I fight the good fight of being a writer mom everyday.