#HistoricalMondays Book Review | “Merchant’s of Milan” (Book One: The Night Flyer Trilogy) by Edale Lane

Posted Monday, 24 February, 2020 by jorielov , , , , 1 Comment

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Acquired Book By: When I first started book blogging in [2013] one of my first touring companies to work with was Tomorrow Comes Media who worked in conjunction with Seventh Star Press (an Indie publisher of Speculative Fiction) whilst featuring other Indie and/or Self Published authors. I am a regular blog tour hostess with Tomorrow Comes Media and enjoy getting to read a wide range of Speculative Fiction across Science Fiction, Fantasy and Cosy Horror genres of interest. Sometimes the stories are genre-benders and/or they’re embracing the beauty of #SpecLit to such a degree they are their own unique niche in the larger expanse of the genre itself. 2020 marks my seventh year hosting for Tomorrow Comes Media and Seventh Star Press respectively.

I received a complimentary copy of “Merchants of Milan” direct from the author Edale Lane in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Ahead of reading the novel – a note of acknowledgement:

I could definitely relate to the ode of gratitude and serendipity of being raised by a Mum would infused a love of stories, art, music, cultural history and agency into the life of a daughter. My family celebrated art and music instilling within me a wonderment of joy and a deep appreciation for remaining curious and engaged with the pursuit of self-learning the world round me. As a book blogger a lot of the years I lived outside this online space were similar to the ones I share a small window of insight about – drawing closer to topics & subjects which interest me, challenging myself to push through the cosier stories I read regularly to read outside my comfort zones and to remain firmly open to how stories have a way of finding us.

I loved the note Lane shared with us, her readers, because it was one which matches my own appreciation for my family and for my Mum, who as she lamented herself about hers – was my first teacher as well. Mum had a way of teaching me my school teachers never could; mostly as she had a healthy interest herself in the process of learning and in understanding how to each each child in a way that allows what is being taught to capture their interest; rather than letting education fall flat and remain droll. I was also raised in a healthy environment of dissecting topics, subjects and interests – to root round a conversation and re-examine it from different perspectives & angles; openly discussing everything and remaining curious about the things I hadn’t yet had the joy of learning.

In essence, those of us who are taught how to be seekers of knowledge at a young age never fully ‘let go’ of that curious itch to know more – to see further and to explore what captures our imaginations. For that, I could relate most readily. Secondly, I had a healthy appreciation and respect for da Vinci as a teenager who was studying art and art history for the first time. I took those concentrations further than my classmates – they only tipped the scale of his legacy on the superficial surface of his life whereas I wanted to see further and contemplated the Mona Lisa for my mid-term essay project. I apparently surprised my art teacher of whom for reasons I cannot acknowledge wasn’t even sure how to grade the paper as I presented a theory she hadn’t heard of previously.

Which brings me back round to my joy of reading this Author’s Note – sometimes the people who encourage us the most are the people who know us best. They understand how our mind works and how we like to noodle out theories of insight as they are the best at knowing exactly how to challenge us to step away from the status quo and to live with a passion for learning. To question everything and to pursue our own understandings of the routes our curiosity takes us to explore. It was such a wonderful note to read and I was thankful it was included at the start of the novel.

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#HistoricalMondays Book Review | “Merchant’s of Milan” (Book One: The Night Flyer Trilogy) by Edale LaneMerchants of Milan
Subtitle: Book 1 of The Night Flyer Trilogy
by Edale Lane
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Enggar Adirasa
Source: Author via Tomorrow Comes Media

Three powerful merchants, two independent women in love, one masked vigilante.

Florentina, set on revenge for her father’s murder, creates an alter-ego known as the Night Flyer. Madelena, whose husband was also murdered, hires Florentina as a tutor for her children and love blossoms between them. However, Florentina’s vendetta is fraught with danger, and surprising developments threaten both women’s lives.

Merchants of Milan is the first book in Edale Lane’s Night Flyer Trilogy, a tale of power, passion, and payback in Renaissance Italy. If you like gadgets and gismos, rich historical background, three-dimensional characters, and fast-paced action with a slow-boil lesbian romance, then you are sure to love this series. Buy this one of a kind novel today and let the adventure begin!

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1654780197

Also by this author: (Video) Interview feat. Edale Lane (Merchants of Milan), Secrets of Milan (Guest Post by Author), Secrets of Milan, Secrets of Milan

Also in this series: Secrets of Milan


Genres: Fantasy Fiction, Feminist Historical Fiction, Genre-bender, Historical Fiction, Historical-Fantasy, LGBTQIA Fiction


Published by Past & Prologue Press

on 5th January, 2020

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 237

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Published by: Past & Prologue Press

Available Formats: Softcover and Ebook

This is the first novel of The Night Flyer Trilogy!

Converse on Twitter: #NightFlyerTrilogy, #SapphicFiction

as well as #HistoricalFantasy & #SpeculativeFiction

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About Edale Lane

Edale Lane

Edale Lane is the author of an award winning 2019 debut novel, Heart of Sherwood. She is the alter-ego of author Melodie Romeo, (Vlad a Novel, Terror in Time, and others) who founded Past and Prologue Press. Both identities are qualified to write historical fiction by virtue of an MA in History and 24 years spent as a teacher, along with skill and dedication in regard to research. She is a successful author who also currently drives a tractor-trailer across the United States. A native of Vicksburg, MS, Edale (or Melodie as the case may be) is also a musician who loves animals, gardening, and nature.

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my review of merchants of milan:

The absurdity of this man – to think that a daughter could not be in a position to avenge the death (murder!) of their father rankled and I was anticipating this daughter’s first scene to be a critical one to leverage how her initial reaction might set the tone for the rest of the story yet to come! As it was a curious place to start our journey – to let us peer into the villain’s perspective first and then, take up residence on the side fighting against the wrongs of this world.

We first get to know Florentina through her reaction to the ingenious and beautifully designed clock – whose ornate design and the intricate ways in which the clock drew your eye to how it was designed showed how much she appreciated the artistry of engineering objects. Whilst it was her impression of Madelena which took her breath and held it; for she was a woman whose confidence was self reflected not just in her attire but her countenance and the ways in which she fluidly could articulate herself to others. Florentina for her sake was unable to formulate a witty response but allowed herself the chance to enjoy the randomness of their first conversation. You didn’t realise at first why this clock struck her as impressive until Maddie (Madelena) talked a bit about it and it was further revealled how it was an original design of Florentina’s father. I would imagine that parting image of seeing the clock against the tides of her own grief would have felt bittersweet; a lost remnant of his talent but one which thankfully had a place of honour.

It didn’t take long for both women to feel comfortable round each other and to feel as if they had met a treasure friend. They were each keeping their internal thoughts to themselves which was a bit of fodder for the reader to enjoy as their thoughts were merged together even though they hadn’t realised they were keeping their thoughts on similar territory to each other whilst in each other’s company. Both of them had an ease of comfortability which eluded to how they might be better matched together in other areas as well. For Florentina’s part, as a woman who was ready to scheme and watch her ideas take root after chasing after a goal she had in mind – it was the best outcome for her – as she not only won over the sister, but the sister’s brother who would become her employ! She had papers to prove her worth as an employable governess and as a woman who could tinker for the family – repairing what is broken wouldn’t be a challenge for her and it would allow her access to a family she had hoped to bridge herself into without too much attention placed on her reasons behind applying to them for employment. From that angle, Florentina accomplished what she wanted because on the surface of it all – she was exactly as she appeared and nothing more.

This is written within the background of 16th Century Italy – wherein Lane inserts some of the historical data behind where her characters are moving about their lives in the present timeline of her series. It was interesting in many regards, as whilst time travelling into the historic past, despite the lack of forensics and other investigative procedures, there were always rudimentary criminal processing of evidence and of investigative procedurals – however, this is the exception to that rule, where apparently in this part of Italy, nothing existed to excise a family’s right to know what happened to their loved ones who were either attacked or brutally taken prematurely from their lives. This is in effect what was launching Florentina’s mission and why she was taking great lengths to not just protect her interests but also her identity after she started to launch her plan(s).

It was a curious thought – to simply avoid investigating because on the surface everything seemed to be normal and without malice; this seemed curiously strange as I am reading a Japanese 16th Century series where on their side of the ledger, they regularly root out criminals and do investigate crimes. I was most intrigued what had hindered the progress in Italy but allowed it to flourish a continent away in Japan? I do believe the series I am reading (ie. the Hiro Hattori novels) might take a few creative licences here or there but are as strict to known history without the lead characters actions be as they were – so it is rather curious then, how different countries evolved in their understanding about how to deal with crime and crime investigation?

When you get to see what Florentina has learnt from da Vinci – in regards of his flying apparatus it is truly a feast of wonder! I can tell why Florentina is happy whenever she is in flight – as it would be such a rush of joy just to take off and to feel the air beneath you but without the fear of simply dropping out of the sky! It was a true piece of craft, Lane has inserted into the story whilst at the same time, she treats you to a bit of back-history where da Vinci and Florentina shared a past and the revelations of what he was learning through his experiments. You quickly realise she was equally influenced by his curiosity of crafting new objects and new engineering marvels as much as she had been influenced by her father; both men were far ahead of themselves and it was what they had learnt through tinkering which had encouraged her own heart to chase after what inspired her own curiosity.

Lane inserted such a beautiful scene wherein the children of Maddie, Florentina and her childhood friend discussed how da Vinci painted The Last Supper, noting the techniques he used in the paint choices, the ways in which he used perspective to draw your eye towards a particular section of the painting itself and what this representation of the scene he painted reflected on himself as a painter, an artist and a man of faith. This isn’t the first inclusion of Medieval thoughtfulness on religious discourse in the novel – where Lane has bridged the gap between known history and religious history as it would be anchoured into this background given the age of where enlightenment first began and how openly curious those persons were who lived in the age of the Renaissance. It was a time of rebirth but also of intellectual curiosity – where pursuing knowledge was the mainstay of those were intellectually adventurous.

This first installment sets down the foundation of how Maddie and Florentina must join forces in order to seek the truth of what is happening in the shadows of Milan’s powerful houses. There is something untoward going on whilst the rest of the city is going about its business as usual. If the Night Flyer hadn’t started to make appearances and seek out truth from the shadows of night, they might not have learnt as much as they had now. It was only when they each started to question certain truths in their own lives did they start to discover the levels of deceit in their lives. The hardship of course is what to do with all the information once it is learnt? This became a bit of a battle of wills for the women as neither of them felt they would have anything to gain but vengeance and peace of mind for their actions.

The Night Flyer exists similar to Zorro – as a person for the people and the ones in their society without the voice to give light to the ills of the city. It is here where you start to see how the Night Flyer has taken on more than what they originally sought because it is too hard to bypass the needs of the people in pursuit of one man who wronged so many in his lifetime. It was a clever plotting how the Night Flyer could have a bit of duality – not only in their life when their unmasked but as a masked figure they had a certain layer of freedom and of movement that would not have been afforded to them if they hadn’t conceived of the masked identity. That in of itself spoke volumes about the greater purpose of the Night Flyer and also how hard it would be to find truer justice in this world that was severely unjust to the working class.

Small Fly in the Ointment:

I was a bit surprised when the language started to turn a bit stronger in the context of the story as previously it was alighting in a rhythm of a Historical Fiction story without anything too strong in its paragraphs. It came quite out of the blue and I had hoped it would be a fleeting occurrence as I definitely was enjoying the absence of vulgarity up until that point.

On the genre-bending & historical fantasy styling of edale lane:

If I had hadn’t been listening to the Ruriatarian Rogues series, it might have taken me a bit longer to get started in this story – however, Lane’s writing style and her foundation of setting down the bones of her trilogy mirror Richard Storry’s series. They both allow you to see their villains before their heroes – where there is this oppressive notation of power inclusive to their worlds. Here, Lane is reflecting on how due to the right of place as a merchant of Milan and the legacy of wealth attached to that position, a person in this world believes themselves to be as untouchable as Storry’s characters! Both writers happily love using poison as the conveyor of death – whilst they each have their own distinctive styling of re-alighting us into a Historical Fantasy Suspense narrative!

When we first saw the map in Maddie’s brother’s study it was an apt reminder of what was known in this timescape and what was left undiscovered. None of the Americas were represented because at that point in time, they were a mere questionable void – they knew it was the Pacific but what of it? What was contained within the largeness of that particular ocean? You had to smile as you contemplated what it must have been like to only have half the world charted and known; with a fuller gap of the rest of the continents and countries – just shrouded from sight and knowledge and yet, lingering awaiting their first discoveries.

There is a secondary focus on the villain’s family – wherein his wife Daniella and his daughter Agnese are discussing their health and how the mother feels that perhaps her own health was destroyed by the personal care products she had been using ahead of her own health’s decline. Products such as cosmetics and hair dye – which I felt were a fitting reference, as in other historical narratives it is revealled how toxic those products were to be used and how uninformed people were of what they were actually using on their hair and face. It was also a stark contrast to today’s world where there is still a misalignment with safety when it comes to personal care products and cosmetics overall.

I loved how approachable Lane made this world – you took up residence in the story as soon as it began – with the presumption of a horrid man getting away with a despicable truth and wherein two women join together to take-on the conspiracy of injustice they both mutually shared. I loved the descriptions of the objects in the novel, too, from Florentina’s father’s clock to how Lane wanted you to have a fuller appreciation for the engineering and production of things in this world.

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This blog tour is courtesy of:

 Tomorrow Comes Media Logo badge provided by Tomorrow Comes Media.Follow the rest of the blog tour for wicked insightful reviews & more guest features:

Merchants of Milan blog tour banner provided by Tomorrow Comes Media and is used with permission.Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com{SOURCES: Book Cover of “Merchants of Milan” as well as the author photograph of Edale Lane, author biography, book synopsis, blog tour badge and TCM Host badge were provided by TCM (Tomorrow Comes Media) and used with permission. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets are inserted due to codes provided by Twitter. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: #HistoricalMondays banner and the Comment Box Banners.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2020.

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Monday, 24 February, 2020 by jorielov in 16th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Clockmakers & Watchmakers, Clockwork & Mechanisations, Content Note, Fantasy Fiction, Fly in the Ointment, Genre-bender, Historical Fiction, Indie Author, LGBTTQPlus Fiction | Non-Fiction, Speculative Fiction, Tomorrow Comes Media, Vulgarity in Literature




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One response to “#HistoricalMondays Book Review | “Merchant’s of Milan” (Book One: The Night Flyer Trilogy) by Edale Lane

  1. I know I’m late to the party but sue me.

    I always admire how in-depth your reviews are and how you pour your entire mind into them! I love your correlation of Florentina and Zorro, didn’t come to mind but now I totally see it! This tour was really fun ✨

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