Rome's Last Noble Palace

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Pub Date 06 Dec 2023 | Archive Date 31 Mar 2024

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Two women. Two different centuries. One attic room

American Isabelle Field has been shipped off to Rome to live with her aunt, Princess Elizabeth Brancaccio. Isabelle’s aunt and mother share a common goal – replicating Elizabeth’s success by marrying Isabelle off to a European nobleman.

But Rome in 1896 is on the cusp of a new century and Isabelle longs for more than a titled husband. She secretly designs costumes for Rome’s burgeoning theatre environment and dreams of opening a fashion atelier. Can she gather the courage to forge a life for herself, even if it means going against expectations?

Over a century later, doctoral candidate Sophie Nouri can’t believe her good fortune when she is selected to intern in Rome’s Near Eastern and Asian Art Museum. Even better, the position includes an attic apartment in the spectacular museum property, the Palazzo Brancaccio.

Overseeing a major exhibition is stressful, but tension alone can’t explain the disturbing nighttime presence in the deserted hallways of the grand palace – especially one no one else can sense. Almost as if a spectral being is trying to communicate with Sophie directly. Or warn her.

Two women. Two different centuries. One attic room

American Isabelle Field has been shipped off to Rome to live with her aunt, Princess Elizabeth Brancaccio. Isabelle’s aunt and mother share a...

Advance Praise

"Sullivan is an experienced historical novelist, and in this novel she displays a great love of Italy, which she clearly knows well; her sense of place is meticulous throughout. ... The blending of the two well-paced stories is gracefully managed, as is the idea that social change is inevitable—even in 1896."

-Kirkus Reviews

"Libraries and readers interested in novels replete with vivid insights on art, women's lives, and historical currents of change that move through Roman affairs will find delightfully realistic and compelling Rome's Last Noble Palace's study of two seemingly disparate, yet connected women whose lives dovetail in unexpected ways."

-Midwest Book Review

"Come for the haunting story and stay for a whirlwind tour of Rome from both a modern and historical perspective in this dual-timeline novel. Like a canvas painted on two sides, the accounts of each of these independent women help complete the colorful impressions of their alternatingly tortured lives. A ghostly element underpins the story, adding suspense and release at just the right moments. Dramatically elegant and just a little bit eerie, this is a delicate treat infused with glittering Roman sunshine." 

-Indies Today, Recommended Five-Star Review

"A thrilling tale set in two different centuries. The dialogue is witty and sharp, and the characters are incredibly likable and well-developed, especially the two main female characters. The story will send shivers down your spine as the truth is uncovered, and you’ll be hooked from start to finish. A thoroughly enjoyable story by a highly recommended author."

-Readers’ Favorite, Five-Star Review

"A dramatic thrill for lovers of period dramas and supernatural tales alike. An ornate roman palazzo with at least one century of secrets lies at the heart of this ghostly and lavishly detailed read, which artfully explores feminine expectations, the nuances of desire, and the long life of grief. As the mirrored lives of two dauntless women unfold in the late nineteenth century and the present day, readers are effortlessly transported to the linguistic, cultural, and aesthetic maze of Rome in all its historic glory, for an elegant blend of genres that culminates in a truly satisfying denouement."

-Self-Publishing Review

"Sullivan has achieved a winner with the historical fiction account combined with a haunting tale in Romes Last Noble Palace. Readers will be drawn into the book by the amazing setting of Rome, while the eerie and thrilling ghost story will ensure that they remain transfixed until the last page."

-Feathered Quill

 "A masterfully written book that skillfully combines supernatural and mystery aspects with historical fiction. It's evidence of Sullivan's storytelling prowess and her capacity to develop interesting, complex characters. The tale explores the human soul and its ageless search for identity and purpose in addition to taking readers through the corridors of a Roman palace."

-The Historical Fiction Company, Five-Star, Highly Recommended

"This is a story of love, friendship, and strength, [that] would appeal to a wide audience that loves historical, paranormal, or women’s fiction. An intriguing tale of two exceptional women, separated by a century, but connected by common relationships and traumas."

-Sublime Book Review

"The author has crafted a story that, while traversing through time, captures the essence of Rome and the perennial human struggle for self-determination."

-Literary Titan

"Sullivan is an experienced historical novelist, and in this novel she displays a great love of Italy, which she clearly knows well; her sense of place is meticulous throughout. ... The blending of...

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Available Editions

ISBN 9798986884424
PRICE $4.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 31 members

Featured Reviews

This was a charming timeslip novel set in Rome.

There were two narratives - one in the 2000s and one in the 1800s. I quickly found myself escaping into the setting, and I was interested in the storyline of both narratives. This is probably the type of book that I would pick up as a change from my crime and mystery reads.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for a free copy to review.

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Oh my goodness, Kimberly Sullivan is so good at writing dual-timeline novels. Her latest, Rome’s Last Noble Palace, is a wonderful addition to her previous dual timeline novels, Dark Blue Waves and Shadows In the Apennines.

Sullivan beautifully twines the Sophie’s modern-day work as a Persian art expert curating an exhibition at the Palazzo Brancaccio with 1896 Isabelle’s overwhelming desire to design beautiful clothes for women whose outlooks were far more modern than the prevailing conservative attitudes.

I was completely swept up in Sophie’s fears and insecurities – was she knowledgeable enough, chic enough, believable enough to curate a world-class exhibition, all the while learning Italian and exploring Rome’s classical glories. Then there’s Isabelle, also a memorable character, whose poor relation status in her wealthy aunt’s noble Roman household reminds us that most women of the time had no choice but to marry, even if the prospective groom was an obnoxious cad.

Both characters prove to be far more resilient than then expected themselves to be, and it’s wonderfully satisfying to follow their personal and professional growth.

Sullivan also weaves in ghostly and mysterious threads linking Sophie and Isabelle, and several plot twists in both women’s lives, all of which were so well imagined and written that I felt I was there!

I must also add that Rome, the eternal city, and Palazzo Brancaccio, built in the late 1800’s by a wealthy American and her noble Italian husband, are additional characters providing the backdrop to Sophie and Isabelle’s lives.

Highly recommend, especially when you want to escape your everyday life to glorious Rome. Bravissima, Kimberly!

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I really enjoyed reading this story and it took me a while to read too, keeping me entranced the whole time. It is told in three different storyline’s. The earliest one being Isabelle’s in the late 1800’s. The other two were Sophie’s story, one from the early 2000’s when she was in Rome to set up an exhibition on Persian art and the other from the current time when she went back to Rome to do a presentation on Persian art. It was heartbreaking what happened to Isabelle, especially when she was just starting to get her life together and actually live the life that she wanted. I loved how she came to Sophie’s rescue when Sophie was in trouble. I wish there was a bit more about that and I would have loved for the perpetrator’s point of view as well. This story is for those who love history, a little bit of romance, friendship and some supernatural. Thank you to NetGalley for letting me read this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

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A captivating epic, time traveling story from Kimberly Sullivan. Split between Sophie and Isabelle, between present day and the late 19th Century, we are able to dig into the mystery of the woman who once lived in the attic....

It's a beautiful sort of story, that takes the reader to another world. Sometimes these are the types of books are needed, to be able to check out and get away from the psychological thrillers of murders and kidnappings and just get away to Italy for a little mystery.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.

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Sophie Nouri encounters paranormal activity in a room once lived in by a former royalty a decade before.

Sophie returns to Rome reluctantly after 12 years to give a speech at the Palazzo Brancaccio. In 20026, Sophie obtains a position a the National Museum of Oriental Art which allows her to live in Rome. She is given a room and experiences strange noises that are not the result of leaky pipes or creaky floorboards.
Isabelle lives with her aunt, Princess Elizabeth Hickson Field Brancaccio in 1986. Her aspirations of change in clothing and artistic expression often puts her at odds with her aunt. Elizabeth's choice of a husband for Isabelle leads to tragic events.
An intern is assigned to Sophie to help with obtaining artifacts to help with language barriers since Sophie doesn't speak Italian. Sophie seeks help from a medium after many restless nights. As the mystery begins to unravel, Sofie learns that Isabelle's link to the room traces back to 1897 where she suffered a horrific event at the hands of her suitor.

Rome's Last Noble Place incorporates three time periods: 1896, 2006 and 2018. Kimberly Sullivan grips your attention at the very beginning with Sophie's less than happy response of being in Rome after 12 years away. Isabelle tries to do what tradition dictates while also changing with the times. The various places of Rome and San Gregorio Sassola provide a nice visual to the traditions of Italian royalty.

The struggle that Isabelle faces in running her own clothing shop with her friend shows how far women have come. Sullivan weaves an intriguing story of two women connected by a traumatic experience separated by time. I recommend this book.

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This dual time line story is part historical fiction, part mystery, and totally enjoyable. The connection between the main characters and what they are facing along with the descriptions of Rome kept me reading and wanting to know more.

The main characters are women that are just starting to figure out life and what they want when they come to reside in the attic room of Palazzo Brancaccio. Isabelle, a niece of the Princess Brancaccio who orchestrated the creation of the Palazzo Brancaccio, was sent from New York by her mother who wants her to make a good match. Isabelle is on the outskirts of the family and sees how the world is changing in 1896. She wants to be part of the change and longs to open a fashion atelier with her friend Sophie and is drawn to Sophie's cousin, an opera singer. But the Princess has other plans for Isabelle and those plans put Isabelle in danger? Will Isabelle survive and find the courage to stand up to her family and create the life that she really wants?

Sophie lands the internship of her dreams at the Eastern and Asian Art Museum that is housed in the Palazzo Brancaccio. A perk of the job is lodging in an attic room. The room has a wonderful view but something keeps waking her at night. Sophie is in charge of a massive exhibition and needs help, especially with the language but will her trust put her into danger? Years later Sophie returns to Rome and the Palazzo Brancaccio and needs to figure out the past of the attic room in order to move forward in her life.

What is the connection between Isabelle and Sophie? What is the significance of the attic room? Will they create the life they want?

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A blending of two stories - young, American women who lived in the same room in different centuries. This book reveals the beauty of Rome within a ghostly history. There is love, friendship, and trauma. Women taking new paths, despite family pressures and uncertainty.

Well written. The story discusses certain harsh realities of life in the 1890s and shared trauma between the characters of Sophie and Isabelle. I loved the strength of friendship portrayed in the story and the perservance of the main characters.

I would like to thank NetGalley and Kimberly Sullivan for an ARC copy.

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I enjoyed that this book showed the two perspectives of the women in a different century. I was engaged with the story and getting to know the characters in this story. Kimberly Sullivan has a great writing style and it worked in this setting.

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Rome’s Last Noble Palace features two wonderful female characters in a dual-timeline novel where both women seek to shape their destiny. The suspense builds and builds and I could not put it down as I had to find out what happened. I also learned so much about the fascinating history of that time. I have read all of Kimberly Sullivan’s work and another thing I love is her focus on female friendships. I just love the author’s descriptions and I can feel the heat of the sun on my face and warming the buildings. I feel like I’ve just come back from a trip to Rome.

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Past and present gracefully intertwine in Rome’s Last Noble Palace. When Sophie lands a plum internship to curate an artisan exhibit at Palace Brancaccio, her anxiety at succeeding is heightened by the unearthly sobbing spooking her every night in her attic bedroom. In 1896, American Isabelle wants to become a fashion designer and marry a handsome opera singer, rather than the odious count her Princess aunt is trying to foist upon her. In the attic, both women suffer similar traumas that link them in a horrifying way. When Sophie finally returns to Rome years later, she can no longer avoid the tug of learning the story behind the haunting moments. The beauty and magic of the city are finely detailed in the dual timelines, enhancing the intriguing stories of two young women striving for their dreams.

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Thank you to the publisher for making this ARC available.

Readers will enjoy this haunting dual timeline exploration of two women who lived in different centuries. Kimberly Sullivan brings Rome to life through its art and history, seamlessly threading details throughout. The dialogue is crisp and realistic. There is passion, intrigue, and a haunting. to add to the themes of friendship, heartbreak, and societal ills. The characters are complex and vibrant, and they come alive under Sullivan's pen to navigate the twists and turns of their lives. Secrets abound and keep the reader fueled through the unexpected ending. Readers who love Rome, art, women's fiction, women's friendships, women's expectations and possibilities, will love Rome's Last Noble Palace and look forward to Sullivan's next book.

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Rome's Last Noble Palace is an excellent reminder that women continue to struggle for agency in society.

The book tells the story of two women who live two hundred years apart. There's Isabelle, who's being forced into an unwanted arranged marriage, and Sophie whose imposter syndrome and poor self-confidence are holding back her art history career. Both women long for more than they have, but lack the courage to chase their dreams.

Then, when they finally do find their voice, they suffer unthinkable consequences. The lesson in the story is that despite the advances women have made, misogyny and violence toward women still thrive.

Tying the two stories together is a paranormal subplot that plays out in a surprising way. I didn't see that twist coming. (Hee - neither did the antagonist.)

Sullivan is an ex-patriot living in Rome, and her love for her adopted city is evident on every page. She does a spectacular job of bringing the city's architecture and art to life. I felt like I was being given a mini tour in addition to the story.

Thank you to Netgalley for this advanced read in exchange for my opinion.

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I love how Kimberly Sullivan always takes readers on a vacation and immerses them in the setting. "Rome's Last Noble Palace" takes readers into the heart of Rome with this dual timeline. Two women, a century apart, but both have ties to a location in Rome. With historical fiction, an air of mystery and likeable characters I was hooked! The pacing of the story was great! The dual timeline was well laid out and clear for me to follow who was who and when the events were occurring. Thank you to Kimberly Sullivan and Kate Rock Book Tours for an advanced copy! All thoughts and opinions are my own!

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Century-old buildings carry secrets. Walking through a ruin or antiquated structure today imagined stories rise like ghosts. Who else once walked the halls? What lives once loved and grieved behind these doors? This is the intriguing premise of Sullivan’s latest novel. Written as a dual timeline, the stories take place in the same beautiful palace, the Palazzo Brancaccio in Rome. For present-day Sophie the palace houses an art exhibition; yet in 1896, Isabelle came to live there with an aunt and uncle soon after it was constructed. Though a hundred years apart, the women stay in the same attic room where—you guessed it—dreams and terror reside. This is one fast page-turner. And even though the time shifts mean the reader can be ahead of the characters, Sullivan throws in plot twists to keep us on edge. This is an artful, twisty, eerie, captivating story—bellissimo!

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This story…wowzers! It was exactly what I’ve been looking for and was an absolute pleasure to read. Kimberly is truly an amazing writer and this story, is one everyone needs to read. I absolutely LOVED it!

We meet the beautiful American, Isabelle who is living with her aunt, the princess and her husband, the prince. Isabelle has come so that she may find a wealthy nobleman to marry. At least that’s why her Mom sent her. She has a friend and they enjoy designing beautiful gowns and then she meets her friend’s cousin who is also an opera singer. Isabelle and her opera singer fall in love and all seems to be good until it isn’t. Told in two different timelines, we also meet Sophie who is living in the same bedroom that Isabelle did many, many years before. Sophie has gotten the internships of internships. She is loving it until her nights become sleeplessly hard. She feels a “presence” in the room…

A dual timeline of two beautiful women going through oddly similar hardships, this story was hauntingly historical but filled with mystery and ghosts. It was tragic and yet, beautiful. It gave me everything I wanted in a story. The details were exquisite and I could picture it all in my head as a movie playing out. It was a wonderful read and I’m giving it 5 stars. Absolutely brilliant!

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