Wings of the Falcon
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Wings of the Falcon

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  1,098 ratings  ·  47 reviews
The death of her English father left Francesca alone and unprotected, with nowhere to turn but to the noble Italian family of her late mother. Adrift in a strange land, surrounded by cold and suspicious relatives who had disowned her mother on her wedding day, Francesca is determined to make the best of a bad situation. But nothing could have prepared her for the nest of d...more
Unknown Binding, 304 pages
Published August 30th 2005 by HarperTorch (first published 1977)
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A story in the middle of the events leading to a united Italy is a very appealing idea, and seldom used in comparison to the frequent books using the French revolution. However, the novel would have benefited from more deep descriptions of these events, because people not familiar with them can have a hard time catching on. It isn't the most important part of the book, but I would have preferred to learn about it more.

When Francesca's father dies, she is introduced to a new life with her mother'...more
Politics, War, Gothic, Humor, Romance = Perfect Blend

This has to be one of the best thriller/historical novel I've read so far. The suspense of this novel is great. This novel can make an epic Movie.

The story is set in 1860. The narrator Francesa who lives in England is a recent orphan and alone in the world when her mother's rich royal family from Italy comes to her rescue. Italy is in middle of a revolution by peasants against the tyrant rulers. A disguised hero named Falcon is helping peasan...more
Christy B
I just loved this book so much that I had to write something about it.

The book is told from the point-of-view of Francesca, the daughter of an English father and an Italian mother. Francesca's mother died in childbirth, and she grew up in England not knowing her mother's family, for she was disowned when she ran away with Francesca's father and defied her own father.

When Francesca's father dies when she is 17, her mother's family suddenly pops up, when her grandfather sends her cousin Andrea to...more
Larissa Reinhart
Wings of the Falcon today would make a great YA Historical Romance, and I am recommending it for my friends' teenage daughters. Wonderfully romantic with great action and suspense, Wings was written in 1st person from the point of view of seventeen year old Francesca. It's filled with the teenage wistfulness, angst, and naivete that marks any great YA book.

What's also nice about passing Barbara Michael's books to impressionable daughters is the romance is heart rendering without explicit sex sc...more
I'm pretty sure B Mike woke up one day and thought to herself: "Hey, Italian revolutionaries are hot. I will write a book about hot Italian revolutionaries, thinly disguised as a mystery with an irrelevant tangent about Etruscan tombs!" Not that I am complaining. It was a fun time, even if the implications of a lot of the stuff about social justice were kinda offensive. I'm so sure it was aaaall thanks to idealistic rich people that Italians overthrew the Pope and feudalism and all of those king...more
Emily Crow
A good story, and I liked the setting, in Italy at 1860, a time of political unrest and rebellion. My expectations weren't that high, just for a fun read. My only real quibble was with some of the characters. Francesca, the heroine, was from the too-stupid-to-live category, and her middle-aged companion, Miss Perkins, was as annoyingly perfect as Francesca was ditzy. The scope of Miss Perkins' talents was so great, and her inclusion in the story was unnecessary to the plot (if Francesca were a b...more
As Gothic novels go, this one falls into the tinsel category: shiny, completely predictable and not terribly taxing to the brain. Still, it's both pretty and entertaining, and Elizabeth Peters' ubiquitous infusion of archaeology and historical events add welcome depth to the backdrop of revolutionary Italy.

As a shameless fan of masked crusaders -- my Scarlet Pimpernel and Zorro collections will bear me out in this -- I had hoped for a bit more visible action from the titular Falcon, but the stor...more
This was a re-read for me, and I enjoyed the entire thing (especially the ending) just as much as I did the first time I read it.
Zorro rides again, in Italy. He’s Il Falcone, the falcon, coming to the aid of the poor and the distressed, and dazzling the ladies. Right now he’s tied up in a revolution. Our heroine, a sweet young thing from England, gets caught up in the intrigue. She thinks she knows his real identity, and she thinks she’s in love with him. And she’s so clueless. Of course it’s obvious to the reader who he is. Luckily most of us have more brains than your standard British gothic romance heroine.
Lisa Greer
Okay, I've picked this one up again, and it's an entertaining romp so far with an Italian setting. The heroine has handsome twin cousins, etc. Standard Michaels fare. But I have decided this one is in my top five so far for the history of the Etruscans and of Italy alone. I always love how Michaels injects social justice issues in so many of her books as well as archaeology and history. I am nearing the end of this one, and I still haven't figured it all out. Good novel.
Lynn Spencer
The combination of Italian history (this one is set during the Italian Unification) and old-school gothic was just irresistible for me. And since it's Barbara Michaels, she may use some of the traditional gothic touches, such as dashing men, creepy old houses and the like, but she's very smart about it and at times, there's a bit of a twist. This isn't my very favorite of her books, but it's definitely on the shortlist.
Christina Dudley
A perfectly fine summer read. Michaels did her research on Italian national struggles at the time. What I got less of a feel for were her characters. You'll probably see the identity of the Falcon coming a mile off, but some of the twists and turns are interesting, if inexplicable. (One example: why isn't grandpa's battiness after the Tomb incident more of a problem?)
Angela Alcorn
Jun 18, 2010 Angela Alcorn marked it as to-read
We own this as part of an anthology, Gothic Treasure Trove:

Gothic Treasure Trove by Reader's Digest
Laura Guill
An early book of hers to be sure, and a little predictable, but I enjoyed the voice of the first-person POV.
While this one was written after the first Amelia Peabody, there was a Amelia-type character, which made it feel more related with the Elizabeth Peters stories, rather then the Barbara Michaels.
I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone unfortunately.
This is not one of Barbara Michaels best writing. It is a cross between the 18th and 19th centuries. She has mixed Italy's civil wars, and the concept of Zorro, Robin Hood and the Swamp Fox in the name of The Falcon. It started out slow but better toward the end.
A typical romantic adventure from 70-80s?! Reminds me some long forgotten TV shows. Still, fun to kill an afternoon with.
This is another one of my favorite Michaels books. It takes place in Italy and is a very traditional heroic journey, although you don't think it will be at the beginning. I really loved this book; I was surprised at how good it was.
Laura VanArendonk Baugh
Perfectly readable potboiler, typical of the author's work (archeology, language barriers, a couple of handsome young men) but enjoyable. At least I always learn something historically interesting from her!
Great fun. Very predictable, as Gothics are, but that made it no less enjoyable. I see shades of later characters in these earlier works. It is interesting to look at how the writer develops.
Since I'm reading as much as I can about Italy this book was a fun read. Gave me a small look into the history of Italy. A little mystery, a little romance and a pretty good plot.
Another great book by Barbara Michaels. I have her books since I was a teenager and they still are great when I find one I haven't read. Starts out with a bang and ends the same way...
Rebecca Cuti
My mother loved this book when she was my age and she passed it down to me and I absolutely LOVE IT!! I would recomend it to anyone who enjoys historical fiction and adventurous novels. :)
I was pleasantly surprised to find the identity of the myterious hero in the book was not who the author was leading me to believe it was. Very good adventure story.
A great little romantic adventure of Francesca -- the grandaughter of an Italian Prince and her enounters with The Falcon -- an Italian revolutionary.
Gah, I hate it when they disguise a romance novel as a mystery novel. Fluffy, fast read, but romance novels aren't my favorites.
so good i read it in a week. Brooke let me borrow it and she likes it so much that she would not let be bend the book.
I really wish the level of insanity had stayed consistently high throughout. Somehow. Ahh well. It's decent.
My sister recommended this book when I was still in high school, and it's still one of my favorites.
Apr 08, 2008 Stefanie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: women.
I love this book! I can read it over and over. It's feel good, but with some suspense, romance, and surprise.
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Barbara Michaels is a pen name of Barbara Mertz. She also writes as Elizabeth Peters, as well as under her own name.

She was born in Canton, Illinois and has written over fifty books including some in Egyptology. Dr. Mertz also holds a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in Egyptology.
More about Barbara Michaels...
Stitches in Time (Georgetown, #3) Ammie, Come Home (Georgetown, #1) The Dancing Floor Smoke and Mirrors Vanish with the Rose

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“... I [glanced] at his soldiers with a curling lip. I had learned this gesture from watching Stefano. Apparently it was just as annoying on my face....” 4 likes
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