I’ve read a lot of historical novels over the last few years but I have to say that hands down, this one is at the top of my list. … I had a hard time putting [this] book down. If you’re looking for historical fiction that is different, provides a new perspective and a much needed change of venue – this is your book. Tinney does a wonderful job of demonstrating how minor, insiginificant acts can have far reaching consequences while weaving a great tale grounded in historical events. This is a must read.
Sandra Alvarez at medievalists.net
The story of the origins of the infamous centuries-old antagonism between the Guelf and Ghibelline factions of Florence has been told over the years, but the details have never seemed so interesting. Tinney Sue Heath has taken the outlines of that conflict and turned them into a full-fledged and fascinating story of thirteenth-century Florence…
I was pleased to see how Heath manages to work Corrado into every phase of the conflict, from the initial insult to the ill-fated wedding to the final all-out assault. By concentrating on Corrado’s….point of view, the story is made all the more urgent and immediate…
Heath also does a gorgeous job of describing both the people and the scenery in her tale. Under her pen, Florence comes alive in all its squalor and glory…I can’t recommend this book enough.
Cas O’Connor, Renaissance Magazine, Issue #95
This novel set in the 13th century shines a bright light on rival families in medieval Florence, Italy…..Heath imbues Corrado with a sense of humor in a story rich in detail – food, music, and clothing – as she narrates the consequences of what should have been a harmless prank.
Historical Novels Review
From other authors:
I absolutely inhaled this book. The setting (early 13c Florence) was what compelled me to pick up the book, but from the first page, I was hooked. The narrative voice is wonderful, perfectly suited to a wry performer like the Fool, and more than once I laughed out loud.
But the subject matter is grim, and the eye-for-an-eye (or maybe, death-for-an-eye) world of warring families and vendettas was wonderfully rendered. The historical detail was just right, enough to bring you into the world and make it seem real and familiar, and the mystery was excellent. I had to read “just one more chapter” and stayed up way past my bedtime to see what happened to these characters I had become so fond of. Highly enjoyable, a wonderful read!
Julie Rose, author of Oleanna and The Pilgrim Glass
Modern urban hipster vibe. Even though the novel is set in 13th century Florence, it has a very modern, or perhaps I should say, timeless vibe…The protagonist is a low-key, self-deprecating hipster with that downbeat sense of humor…The author does a great job recreating pre-Renaissance Italy, but the same story could take place in any country during any era. It’s a story about “little people” getting caught in the schemes of “people with surnames.”
Marina J. Neary, author of Wynfield’s Kingdom, Wynfield’s War, Brendan Malone: The Last Fenian, and Martyrs and Traitors: A Tale of 1916
A Thing Done is an atmospheric tale of 13th century Florence with all of the intrigue and subterfuge the setting infers. The main character, Corrado, is a fool by profession and an unwilling participant in the scheming of the nobles who employ him. He unwittingly sets off a vendetta that will eventually affect the entire population around him and hit much closer to home than he can imagine.
Heath’s fluid writing style keeps the book moving at an enjoyable pace, allowing the story to unfold in its own time and achieving a delicate balance that never seems to lag or feel rushed. It serves to effectively deliver an emotional read that engages the reader and gives a satisfactory conclusion, although I was sad for it to come to an end. I highly recommend this book to lovers of historical fiction in an uncommon setting who crave an exciting and memorable read.
Ginger Myrick, author of The Welsh Healer, El Rey, Work of Art, and others.
…in this novel she brings this history alive, in a way that only a Renaissance reenactor and Florence aficionado can. While the history is accurate, she had to create the characters, and these characters will live on for you after reading this book. The detail of the history is vivid and the story compelling. You will find yourself caring deeply about the man continually referred to as “fool,” which you might become incensed by except that she doesn’t ever let you forget you’re in Florence in 1216.
Monette L. Bebow Reinhard author of Felling the Sons and Mystic Fire
A Thing Done will take the reader back to 13th century Florence… it is apparent the author has done her research down to the details of daily life. She provides us with real medieval characters and doesn’t shrink from the harshness of their lives. All the characters, even the ones the author invented, come across as real people and are three-dimensional. Highly recommended.
Kim Rendfeld, author of The Cross and the Dragon
I’ve just completed my read of A Thing Done and have closed it with a sigh of satisfaction. Corrado is the most engaging protagonist I have read for some time. There is nothing brash, foolish or ugly about his persona and I found I very quickly wanted to protect his back. He is such a creature of the time – a lower class individual at the mercy of the Machiavellian nobility. The easy brutality and questionable morality of the times is salty, frequently horrifying. Under those circumstances, Corrado has a strength of character that is entirely believable. … Heath depicts a very real Florentine setting with subtlety. …Most highly recommended.
Prue Batten, author of Gisborne: Book of Pawns and The Chronicles of Eirie series
An engrossing read with a likeable protagonist set in 13th century Florence. Well-reasearched and readable without the History and the times intruding as lectures.
Donald Platt, author of Rocamora, House of Rocamora, and A Gathering of Vultures
Taking as her starting point a series of real life events in medieval Florence, Ms Heath has succeeded in breathing life into a lost time. Rarely have I read a book where the historical setting is so well portrayed, from the wooden rails on which to hang cloaks to the bread trenchers (at times flying through the air, trailing gravy behind them), the clothes, the torches that illuminated the halls, the smoky tallow candles, the wax tablets and their leather envelopes (which made me think of iPads in their leather cases).
This book heaves with historical detail such as the description of the celebration of Good Friday and Holy Saturday, days when the church bells hung silent, or of the rowdy and boisterous Florentine markets, complete with rag-sellers and mercers. What makes this so impressive, is that all this historical information is imparted in passing: a hand grabs a bread trencher, someone sticks a wax candle onto the candle prick, a man collects his cloak from the wooden bar, someone tries to peer through the half open shutters , notes are scribbled on torn pieces of parchment, people munch hot chick-pea fritters…
All in all, A Thing Done is a delicious dive into the past. Ms Heath’s writing allows us to taste, smell, even touch that distant age, to feel we are walking side by side with Corrado through the alleys of Florence. It is with some regret that I close the book once I’m done, but I hope Ms Heath is already working diligently on a next book – I for one will definitely buy it!
Anna Belfrage, author of A Rip in the Veil, Like Chaff in the Wind, and The Prodigal Son
I was so pleased to read Tinney Sue Heath’s medieval tale, A Thing Done! … A Thing Done is so well-detailed without being overly so, historically accurate and yet imaginatively inventive, socially thought-provoking, thrilling and humorous! It’s a well-done novel that deserves accolades as well as readers who will appreciate its delightfully fun adventure and endearing characters.
Erin Al-Mehairi at her blog, Oh for the hook of a book
Author Tinney Heath has really created a compelling story – one that gripped me and captured my interest from the opening lines of the book to the very end. Of course, I love any novel with an Italian setting and this book definitely does not disappoint. Strong writing, rich details, and undeniably compelling characters made this book truly stand out. I loved the hero and the way he was unavoidably drawn into the vendetta. I loved how the author weaved fiction with fact to make a fabulous story. I highly recommend this book!
Mirella Sichirollo Patzer at her blog Great Historicals
Do you love the internecine, flamboyant world of Dante’s Florence? Knightly honor manipulated by a deadly woman sound like a great starting place for a plot? Then you’ll enjoy Tinney Sue Heath’s A Thing Done.
She’s narrated her tale of family feuding, jealousy and betrayal through the eyes of Corrado, a Jester-for-hire. He’s an outsider to the political machinations and maneuvering of the nobility. In fact, his personal history, as the reader finds out, makes him want to avoid the “people with surnames.” But that doesn’t stop the arrogant knights from forcing him into their service and gradually winding him into complicity with their schemes.
Heath portrays the details of the local tavern with its sour wine and games of wager played for raisins, the meager foods Ghisola prepares with great skill, the role of the church, and the street celebrations with communal cooking and revelry. You’ll also hear about the clothes and feasts of the nobility, but I enjoyed hearing about the less commonly told side …
Heath has vividly captured the insidious effects on society when one class of people feels justified in unlimited use of their influence, power and money. While the context is distinctly Florentine and this is definitely a historical fiction lover’s novel, the theme strikes me as entirely applicable to contemporary America. You’ll enjoy the exciting plot twists and well-developed characters while at the same time having plenty to think about.
Judith Starkston at Judith Starkston’s Blog and at Poisoned Pen Press Blog
Highly recommended for those who love a historical fiction that reaches out of the ordinary … It will elevate and illuminate you.
Deborah/The Bookish Dame at A Bookish Libraria
In 1216 Corrado, a fool, finds himself mixed up in a feud that’s about to much worsen amongst the more powerful families in Florence, and he’s being paid tempting sums to help in this worsening. A wedding is set to be the flash point, and our fool (by this stage working for both factions and knowing far too much) is hoping his death at the hands of whichever faction first discovers his treachery will at least be a quick one. Ms Heath puts no feet wrong in her presentation of a Florentine society both familiar and a bit different, due to being an earlier time than we’re used to reading about. The details of the travelling players’ lives are sure-footed, sharp and authentic too, with telling detail around their instruments, performance rituals and repertoires. And Florence is not floridly, or self-consciously, described, it’s just all around. If you don’t know Florence you might crave a bit more description, but if you’ve read a bit of Florence-set fiction you’ll be happy not to have, say, the history of the Duomo retold, yet again. And it’s all based on real events, which were the origin of the famous Guelf/Ghibelline conflict. Corrado himself is a perceptive fool, and verily nobody’s fool. An intelligent and involving read. And a firm recommendation.
Jeff Cotton at FictionalCities
‘It was a fool that began it, but it took a woman to turn it murderous.’
The opening lines of this novel A THING DONE by Tinney Sue Heath are more profound and poignant than you can imagine when you first start to read. It is only as you progress through this well-crafted novel that you begin to realise the web of intrigue which forms from those opening lines.
We are in Florence, Italy, in the year is 1216, and the protagonist, the Fool, is our commentator and guide through the remembered events. Tinney Sue Heath has a wonderful way of placing the reader beside the Fool… this Fool has much time to observe those ‘people with surnames’ as the upper class were referred to. He observes in detail, their lifestyle, their homes, and their flamboyant clothes. For the reader it fills the imagination cinematically, and adds layers of texture to the story…
Tinney’s knowledge of the history of this time in Florence is as though she had gone back in time herself. Her descriptions of the buildings and their proximity to each other lays before you a town plan that can be seen in your mind’s eye. The people, the smells, the sights, all come to life through the telling…
I like the cover to this book. It has a shadow of a Jester/Fool set against castle walls. The Fool in the story lives in the shadows while he observes all that is going on around him. The title A THING DONE seemed to me to be abstract until I read the translation of a poem at the beginning of the book by Dante Alighieri, Inferno 28.103-108 quoting ‘… “A thing done has an end to it”, which was an evil seed for the Tuscan people.’
A THING DONE has a surprising ending with no loose ends. It is a truly fascinating read, an intriguing read, and an eye-opener to how life was lived in 13th Century Florence.
Louise Rule on The Review Blog
I found myself unable to put the book down for very long stretches because I just had to find out what would happen next.
A Book Geek
A Thing Done gets thumbs up for a compelling, empathetic main character and a good story that gets pretty intense at its climax…
Jenny Q at Let Them Read Books
…an excellent transformation of the bare bones of a story in the chronicles into a lively novel.
Warren Public Library blog, Warren, Vermont
Ms. Heath brought 13th century Florence to life with her descriptions of food, clothing and housing and she really brought forward the plight of women of the time. … This was an entertaining and fascinating read from a time not often highlighted by historical fiction
As a history lover, I also appreciated the extensive real history behind the story of A Thing Done in the back of the book…It’s really awesome stuff!
Meg at A Bookish Affair
A Thing Done is a novel rich in historical detail … a novel of love, friendship, and loyalty. …The descriptions of the food, the places, the talents of the jester, the differences between the upper and lower classes – all made me feel as though I could thoroughly picture the scene in my mind and watch it unfold. I really enjoyed this novel. … Telling the story from the angle of the Jester makes it unique and different. Couple that with the excellent historical detail and it makes for a really great read!
Darlene at Peeking Between the Pages
From reader reviews on Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble:
…a dazzling setting of intrigue, drama, and fast-paced plotting. Heath’s writing is so engaging that I was able to easily visualize the setting, the characters, and the plot; from cover to cover, not a page went by which didn’t thoroughly capture my attention. I look forward to reading more from this gem of an author.
The first line is a classic worthy of Sabatini! “It was a fool that began it, but it took a woman to turn it murderous.” So begins this tale of duplicity and vengeance, set in Renaissance Florence…
The writing was excellent, the characters memorable, and the historic research blended in seamlessly to the story. I felt like I was there. A truly enjoyable read!
It drew me in immediately, and kept up just the right amount of tension/expectation/suspense.
…detailed and resonant, and above all, a good read. Well done!
A Thing Done captures the rough and tumble of Florence at a time when nations were barely forming, hence loyalties to the clan or family were of prime importance. However, power, jealousy and feuds could affect even the most humble of people and ensnare them, hopelessly damaging their lives and those around them…a riveting story of these conflicts, and at last the towers are explained!
She left me wanting more!
Murder and mayhem Italian Renaissance style, the author transported me to the highs and lows of Florence life, culture, real people and people that might have been. She has given the story an extra twist by presenting the tale from the point of view of a “fool”, who is caught between feuding families as they threaten, negotiate, maneuver, arrange marriages, and deal with all the limitations and opportunities of the place and times in which they live.
A fascinating tale, based on real events… I particularly liked the contrast between the everyday life of the working folks and the lives of the upper classes.