The Oracle of Cumae

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No one gets the better of the Oracle of Cumae.

Mariuccia Umbellino is a young woman living in the remote mountain village of Montemonaco, Italy, in the early years of the 19th century. Nearby, the secret recesses of the Grotto of the Fates—home to an ancient oracle of Apollo—are about to be invaded and destroyed, on orders from the Pope. But the men sent to do the dirty work don’t know who (or what) they’re dealing with. This oracle and this girl won’t be messed with. 

In the dark of night, Mariuccia and her mother set out to rescue their revered oracle. In the adventure that ensues, things are blown up, love spells are miscast then recast, a downtrodden housekeeper gets her revenge, and the mysterious fate of a jettatore—a person born with the Evil Eye—is finally revealed.

 “One of the funniest novels I've read in a long time—maybe ever.” – Catharine Leggett, author of The Way to Go Home and In Progress.  

“I had been under the apparently false impression that oracles are always dignified and confined to a single sacred space, but the oracle in Melissa Hardy’s new novel is sly, meddlesome and peripatetic. She gets around in the company of a scruffy, independent-minded young girl, the narrator of this hilarious, anachronistic, romance/comedy of errors.” – Stan Dragland, author of Strangers & Others: The Great Eastern

Praise & Recognition

The Oracle of Cumae is entertaining and full of surprises. It’s a novel that relishes in poking fun at itself and its characters. Foreword Reviews

The Oracle of Cumae is one of the funniest, most unexpected book I’ve read in a long time. If you’re looking for a bit of goofiness with a wonderfully down-to-earth protagonist, I strongly recommend this book. I read it yesterday afternoon and I’m still grinning.
A Bookish Type


Publication Date: October 8, 2019

Genre: Adult Fiction

Product Format: Paperback

Pages: 232

ISBN: 978-1-77260-114-5

Melissa Hardy

About the Author

Melissa Hardy

Melissa Hardy has published five novels and two collections of short stories, including Broken Road, The Uncharted Heart, and A Cry of Bees. She has won the Journey Prize and been published in numerous journals, including The Atlantic, Exile, and Descant. She lives in the village of Port Stanley, Ontario.
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