Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Review & Giveaway: The Miracles of Prato by Laurie Albanese & Laura Morowitz

Prato, Italy 1456. Twenty year old Lucrezia Buti arrives at the Convent Santa Margherita, along with her younger sister, Spinetta. The sisters lives have completely changed since the death of their father, a successful cloth merchant. They find themselves suddenly destitute, with no choice but to enter the convent. For Spinetta, who was always promised to the church, the transition is not difficult. But this is not the case for her beautiful sister. Lucrezia's future husband had been selected, she was planning to be married. With the sudden lack of a dowry all her plans are destroyed and she feels the loss keenly. She is not comfortable with the stark life of a nun, though she tries her best to adjust to the life fate has chosen for her.

Lucrezia Buti was the model for Lippi's Madonna

Fate is still at work, though. Renowned but dissolute painter Filippo Lippi has been given the job of chaplain at Santa Margherita by his patrons, the powerful Medicis. He is at a low point, lacking inspiration, when he suddenly meets Lucrezia and her beauty inspires both his painting and his heart. Lucrezia is drawn to him in return, though any relationship between a monk and a novice nun is of course completely forbidden.

The Cathedral of Santo Stefano, Prato Italy

Beauty can be a blessing and a curse, as Lucrezia discovers when the powerful Prior General begins to force himself upon her. In desperation, she uses the uproar on the day of The Feast of the Sacred Belt to escape the convent and hide in the house of a wealthy family. But she meets Lippi on the way and ends up taking refuge in his home, instead. When the worst happens anyway, Lippi is willing to give up everything to protect her and keep her from further harm.

Filippo Lippi

Human nature never changes, that is what makes stories like this one resonate down through the years. Don't we always want most what we can't have? Centuries have gone by and this still remains true. And there will always be those who can't resist greed, self importance, power...the villains then are not so very different from the villains now. This is the aspect of historical fiction that I most enjoy, that a dusty old story that has had the personality and emotion eroded from it by time can be renewed and made relevant by the imagination of an author (or authors, in this case). Now I wish I'd paid more attention in the single art history class I took in college...I remember it being boring, boring, boring. Too bad the professor didn't have a little of the talent of these authors, if he had added the stories behind the paintings...well, who knows where I'd be now! If you enjoy historical fiction you'll definitely want to read The Miracles of Prato !

The Miracles of Prato is published by Harper Collins, ISBN 978-0-06-155835-1

I received this book as part of the TLC Book Tour. For a complete list of blogs on the tour, click here.

Up for grabs is my gently read trade paperback copy! If you would like to enter just leave me a comment here that includes your email address. You can enter until midnight eastern on August 25th and the giveaway is open to anyone with a US or Canada mailing address. Thank you for visiting and entering!!


Anonymous said...

I fall more in love with historical fiction with every book I read - this one sounds great!

pubwrites at gmail dot com

PoCoKat said...

Love historical fiction and would love to win!

littleone AT shaw DOT ca

Shannon said...

Thank you for including me. =)
tiredwkids at live dot com

bermudaonion said...

I love art and art history, so I bet I'd love this book!

Unknown said...

This is a book I'd enjoy!


Rachel said...

Thank you for the giveaway!!

Michele said...

I've taken several art history classes and I've got to admit, not one professor went into the stories behind the art. You're right: I would have been a goner had they just delved into that aspect instead of boring me to tears with the mediums they used and memorizing time periods.

This sounds like a lovely story, Carey!

ps....are we reading The Strain later this month???

Benita said...

I'd love to read this. Thanks for the possibility.


rossjenc said...

It sounds like a great story. Hope to read it!

The Tome Traveller said...

Yes, please Michele! Name the day!

karenk said...

i enjoy historical fiction very much...thanks for the opportunity to read this one :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

brokenteepee said...

Please enter me. Thank you
kaiminani at gmail dot com

Kat Bryan said...

You always choose such interesting books for your giveaways!

winterset AT

Linda said...

Just recently I've discovered the joy of historical fiction with a connection to great art and artists. I would love win this book. Thanks for the giveaway.

traveler said...

Thanks for featuring this wonderful historical fiction which sounds amazing. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

Zibilee said...

No need to enter me, as I have already read the book. I am so glad you liked it! I thought it was really engrossing and I loved the very tenacious love of Fra Fillipo for Lucrezia. It was a great book!

petite said...

Love this novel and thanks. rojosho(at)hotmail(dot)com

Sue said...

Looks absolutely lovely. Thanks for the giveaway.

s.mickelson at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

I too was never interested in my art history classes but if they were more like this book I'm sure that would NOT have been the case.

I love the images you included in your review - it helps me to visualize the setting of the book. Thanks for being a part of the tour!

Unknown said...

Count me in:)


Teresa said...

This sounds wonderful! Thanks for putting it up for grabs.

misled DOT ghosts AT gmail DOT com

Audra said...

thank you for the giveaway!

thesibylqueen at

chilty1014 said...

I love historical fiction so please count me in.

chilty1014 at gmail dot com

Aimee said...

I love Historical Fiction. Please count me in. Thanks!


Audrey said...

Thanks for this awesome giveaway. This book sounds great.

Anonymous said...

Ooh -- count me in too. Sounds like a good book. Thanks!!

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About Me

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New Hampshire, United States
Bibliophile, Anglophile, Traveller... I have been an avid reader all of my life, since I took the Dr. Seuss Dictionary away from my Mom when I was less than a year old because I wanted to read it myself. In college, where I earned my degree in English Literature, I was often asked "What are you going to do with it?" Now I finally have the answer to that question!!! Being employed as a Flight Attendant for twenty years has given me a lot of life experience and, better still, a lot of time to read. I love to travel for fun, too.