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THE CURSE
OF
MAIDEN
SCARS

Nicolette
Croft's 
Story

RELEASING
SPRING OF 2024!

Nicolette comes from a family of American and European storytellers, Montanan and Hungarian. From her earliest childhood playtimes, she was crafting stories. As a neurodivergent learner, writing those stories proved harder than creating them. Both nature and nurture fueled her spirit of determination. She pursued an English B.A. to learn how to write and worked at a weekly newspaper after graduating college. Motherhood came to her with complex circumstances, which inspired further education in twice-exceptional learners and counseling. She holds a post-Bac in special education, an M.A. in Education, and an M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Nicolette’s private counseling practice specializes in neurodivergent people, trauma, and grief. Storytelling has always been part of how she sees the world, including her Narrative Therapy counseling style. The Curse of Maiden Scars is her first novel brought to publication. She has previously published journalism and short fiction. When not working in her counseling practice or researching and creating her latest story, Nicolette shares treasured time with her family and friends, including her Yorkshire-born husband. She believes creation—in all forms—fuels contentment and personally pursues that through writing, cooking, hiking, traveling, and lifelong learning. 

BOOK BLURB

THE CURSE OF MAIDEN SCARS is a coming-of-age, women's fiction novel with gothic flair set in the late 1790s, in the tradition of Victoria Mas' THE MADWOMAN'S BALL, and of Sarah Dunant's IN THE COMPANY OF THE COURTESAN, with the sensuality of Lady Chatterley's Lover. It is the story of a Yorkshire orphan struggling for opportunity against 18th-century odds who reluctantly transforms into a Venetian courtesan during the Empire’s last days.

Renna Covert dreams of a world beyond her Yorkshire life shelling cotton. Having an unlikely education, she hopes to be a maid or even a governess one day. On a fateful night, she meets two men from the West India Company with connections to a country estate and a way out of her urchin life. But before taking a position in the estate’s scullery, Renna discovers a girl at the local asylum bearing burn scars like those on her back. She uncovers proof that the girl is her sister. But an unexpected foe disrupts her hunt to unearth her family's dark legacy and has Renna committed to the asylum. With her friends’ help, Renna escapes to the Venetian Ghetto. Danielle, a former courtesan, takes Renna in, but only under the condition that she trains in the one profession Renna fought to avoid—prostitution. 

Renna's life transforms from an orphaned waif to a lavish courtesan. Although there are freedoms in her new world, Renna detests what she’s become and longs for the family she’s never known. She reaches her emotional breaking point when she learns of Danielle’s aims to sell her into slavery. Having survived with only her wits, opportunity, and a bit of luck, Renna crafts a plan to leave Venice on Carnival night, possibly abandoning the freedom she’s gained and the history she’s yet to understand. She confronts the fiend behind her family’s misfortune in her fight for independence. As Venice concedes to Napoleon in 1797, a life of agency is on the horizon, and Renna's prospects could catapult her out of poverty into an unimaginable future.

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