Historical Fiction

The Ballot Boy

Category:Historical Fiction

Author:Larry Mellman

  • Publisher: NineStar Press
  • Publication Date: February 12, 2022
  • Number of Pages: 383
  • ISBN-10: 1648904688
  • ISBN-13: 978-1648904684

The Ballot Boy by Larry Mellman is a beautiful meld of historical fiction, political intrigue, and a poignant exploration of identity and sexuality in 14th-century Venice. Set against the backdrop of Venice in 1368, the novel follows the journey of Niccolò “Nico” Saltano, a young peasant thrust into the heart of Venetian politics when he is chosen to serve as the ballot boy during the election for a new doge. At the heart of the story is Nico's coming-of-age journey as he struggles with his identity issues and sexuality in a society that condemns those who dare to love differently. His burgeoning romance with Astolfo, the young lord of Castle Moccò, creates the tension that moves the story forward. Nico navigates the dangerous waters of forbidden love amidst political turmoil.

Mellman is a gifted storyteller who immerses readers in the richly detailed world of Venice at a time when war looms on the horizon and treachery lurks in every corner of the doge's palace. Through Nico's eyes, readers witness the ills of Venetian society, where nobles' schemes for power and alliances are forged and broken with alarming frequency. Mellman's prose is lyrical, and the story transports readers to the bustling streets of Venice and the opulent halls of the doge's palace. The novel is filled with absorbing political machinations and gripping suspense. The nuanced exploration of gender and sexuality stands out in this gripping historical tale of romance and intrigue. The relationship between Nico and Astolfo is tenderly rendered, offering a poignant portrayal of love in the face of adversity. The Ballot Boy is fierce and bold yet filled with tender currents that will warm readers' hearts looking for historical romance with intriguing characters and a compelling twist. 

Reviewed By: Daniel Rhodes

Reviewed Date: March 16, 2024

Category: Historical Fiction