The Word Association

Marina Fiorato

Marina Fiorato Marina Fiorato is half-Venetian. She was born in Manchester and raised in the Yorkshire Dales. She is a history graduate of Oxford University and the University of Venice, where she specialized in the study of Shakespeare’s plays as an historical source. After University she studied art and since worked as an illustrator, actress and film reviewer. She also designed tour visuals for rock bands including U2 and the Rolling Stones. She was married on the Grand Canal in Venice and lives in North London with her husband, son and daughter.
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Latest book: CRIMSON & BONE was published in hardback in the UK on April 18th 2017 by Hodder & Stoughton

Marina Fiorato London 1853 On a freezing January night a lone figure steps on to the parapet of Waterloo Bridge, determined to end it all. She is Annie Stride, a penniless prostitute with nothing to live for. As she falls forward into space, a hand catches at her arm. Her rescuer is Francis Maybrick Gill, a talented young Pre-Raphaelite artist. Recognising her fabulous beauty Francis makes Annie his muse, and his paintings of her as the fallen women of history transform his fortunes and hers. He and Annie become the toast of London. Nothing, it seems, can touch the golden couple, and Annie’s dark past seems far behind her. With the coming of summer Francis whisks Annie off to Florence and paints her as Mary Magdalene, the original fallen woman. Living as Francis’s wife, Annie learns more of his dark sexual appetites, but nothing of his history. Yet all seems well until a young colourman comes to the villa to supply Francis with the paints he needs. Annie is drawn to the young man, and they form a friendship of honesty and equality, through which she realises how little she actually knows of her benefactor Francis. What takes Francis into Florence every night alone? And what is the significance of the alabaster jar which Francis protects with his life?

A dark and sexual tale spanning Victorian London, Florence and Venice, CRIMSON & BONE is the story of what happens when love goes wrong.


1702 Irish beauty Kit Kavanagh has everything she could want in life. Newly married, she runs a successful alehouse with her beloved husband Richard. The wars that rage in Europe over the Spanish throne seem a world away. But everything changes on the night that Richard simply disappears. Finding the Queen’s shilling at the bottom of Richard’s tankard, Kit realizes that her husband has been taken for a soldier. Kit follows Richard’s trail across the battlefields of Italy in the Duke of Marlborough’s regiment. Living as a man, risking her life in battle, she forms a close bond with her wry and handsome commanding officer Captain Ross. When she is forced to flee the regiment following a duel, she evades capture by dressing once more as a woman. But the war is not over for Kit. Her beauty catches the eye of the scheming Duke of Ormonde, who recruits her to spy upon the French. In her finery she meets Captain Ross once again, who seems just as drawn to the woman as he was to the soldier. Torn between Captain Ross and her loyalty to her husband, and under the orders of the English Crown, Kit finds that her life is in more danger now than on the battlefield.


For centuries the characters Beatrice and Benedick, from William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, have beguiled audiences. Their names have become synonymous with lovers who trade insults in order to hide their deeper feelings. This novel imagines what really happened at their first youthful encounter, and how, despite their war of words and long separation, Beatrice and Benedick were finally reunited.

MESSINA, SICILY 1588 - Beatrice of Villafranca is brought to live at the court of her uncle Leonato, to be a companion for his daughter Hero. That same summer the young Spanish lord Don Pedro visits for a month-long sojourn with his regiment. In his company is the young soldier Benedick of Padua. Benedick and Beatrice begin to wage their war of wit, but their words mask their true feelings and the two fall deeply in love. But the pair are cruelly parted by misunderstanding and slander. Heartbroken and careless of his life, Benedick sails to England on the ill-fated Spanish Armada under the command of his princely friend Don Pedro. Beatrice returns to her Villafranca castle, and an unwanted betrothal to the Veronese count Paris. Benedick must fight for his life on board ship while Beatrice fights for her freedom from an arranged marriage. From the point of view of Beatrice and Benedick we hear the lovers tell their own story, taking us from the sunlit southern courts of Sicily, to the crippled Armada on the frozen northern seas, to the gorgeous Renaissance cities of the Veneto.



BEATRICE AND BENEDICK was published in hardback by Hodder & Stoughton on 8th May 2014 and in paperback on 16th April 2015


1576. A Turkish ship steals into Venice bearing a young and beautiful stowaway. Feyra, a gifted harem doctor, has risked her life to bring a vital message for the Doge. But time is short and she has many enemies... Feyra is not the only stranger in Venice. The ship carried a deadly cargo: a man more dead than alive a 'gift' from the Turkish sultan. Within days the city is infected with bubonic plague. In despair the Doge commissions the great architect Andrea Palladio to build a church so magnificent that God will save Venice, and commands the city's finest plague doctor to keep the architect alive to fulfil his work. But Dr Annibale Cason has not counted on meeting Feyra. Now in hiding, she can not only match his medical skills, she can also teach him how to care.

The book was published in the US by St Martin’s Press in April 2014 as THE VENETIAN BARGAIN


BEATRICE AND BENEDICK (Hodder & Stoughton 2014)


DAUGHTER OF SIENA (John Murray, 2011)



THE GLASSBLOWER OF MURANO (Beautiful 2008). Foreign rights to Germany – Goldman/Limes, Spain – Santillana, Holland – Artemis, Poland – Przedsiebiorstwo, Serbia – Media II, Greece – Minoas, Romania – RAO, Portugal – Porto Editoro, Turkey – Arkadas Yayineri, Russia – Exmo,Brazil – Editora Pruma, Norway – Vega, Croatia – Profil, Czech – Jiri Cerny, Korea – Moonhahsoochup, Vietnam – Le Chi Culture, Hungary – Nouvion Trade (option publishers).