1503 Florence. Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, alleged rivals, are producing their iconic works, the Mona Lisa and the David. They agree to meet face-to-face to produce frescoes on two walls of the same chamber, the most majestic artwork to never exist. What if history is wrong about the rivalry? Why was the contest never waged? How is the meaning of Vasari's fresco feature, the cerca trova banner, confusing a modern art historian? What and whose artwork is hidden behind it? Who are Claude and Andrea Beauvin and why do they know anything about it? When will seeking find the answer? History has the clue: the cerca trova banner. Fiction offers a solution, but where does history end and fiction begin? Or did history end at all?
This is the exciting sequel to Bella Gioconda.
Aldus Cezanne, a rare books dealer in Salt Lake City, becomes involved in the history of his grandfather, Nathan, whose compelling story takes Aldus on a journey of discovery, regret, and the overwhelming knowledge that some things found by pure serendipity are best left to divinity to sort out. Nathan becomes the possessor of two objects, perfectly round crystals, once the possessions of Adam, the Ancient of Days. They enable the possessor to view eternity and all it encompasses. But such visions are not meant for ordinary mortals. Nathan reconsiders his discovery. He decides to bury the crystals but for a small remnant of them. Aldus is further enlightened by his grandmother, Julianna, whose memory reminds Aldus that for all the wisdom and all the technology that man possesses, by which he makes fantastic tools for his work and pleasure, the gift of God's creation is a woman, for while men use tools, a woman uses her heart.
"What about William?" The question was asked by the wife of William Butler Yeats, years after his death, to Maud Gonne, the woman to whom William had proposed multiple times in twenty years before he surrendered to rejection and married Georgie Hyde-Lees. This was not a simple love triangle and it was not the tragedy of love driving Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet to mutual, fate-stained suicide. This was fulfilling Yeats' own prediction of being thrown into "the frog spawn of a ditch; a "fecund ditch" of a world. Maude tells the forty-year story in flashback memories, treading too carefully through the years and Yeats' poetry to find the answers that would satisfy Georgie's jealousy while being honest to Yeats' memory. She could not allow William to lover her and she had to justify why this should be so. In the process, Maud makes discoveries about her troubled life that should have led to different conclusions. "Tread softly," William said, "because you tread on my dreams."
"Vice is a monster," wrote Alexander Pope, "of such frightful mien as to be hated needs but to be seen..." Who was not familiar with the essence of glamour, the face easily endured, difficult to pity, but fatal to embrace? Miranda Mallory seduced the silver screen and all who watched her there. Her antics in the 1960s with the likes of political powerhouses, California Senators Janson and Tommy Delany, brothers and competitors for Miranda's affection, were and continue to be rumored. But other dark forces lurk in public and private in L.A. That's politics, it is said, but who said that it had to be fatal? Murder to get gain is as old as Cain and Abel. What monster gained by taking Miranda before her time? Many pointed to the brothers, whose oil-pumping hearts were dark and alluring. There is a monster to be endured and pitied, but who will embrace the monster who waited so long to admit that gain is not the result of murder. This was the nature of Los Angeles vice and politics, where vanity was mistaken for charisma and called virtuous.
Five hundred years can confuse identity. An old chalk drawing of a girl, Maria, the daughter of a Chianti vintner, leaves a Swiss art collector, Claude Beauvin, entangled in a Renaissance love story from the past. The drawing is currently owned by a reclusive young widow, Andrea Garibaldi-Chase, who puts the drawing up for auction. With smoldering rumors that Leonardo da Vinci is the artist of the portrait, history is set on fire by a New York art dealer, an art history professor, and an intellectual property crimes investigator from INTERPOL who are all caught up in the drawing's history. It's not until after the auction that Beauvin learns who the girl was, what influence she had over da Vinci and the centuries since, and how his growing feelings for Andrea transcend time and identity.
Published spring 2014 by Lavender & Chamomile Press
Available wherever e-books are sold
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