Monday, 12 February 2018

Book Spotlight: The Renaissance Club by Rachel Dacus

The Renaissance Club

By Rachel Dacus
Fiery Seas Publishing
January 23, 2018
Time Travel Romance

May Gold, college adjunct, often dreams about the subject of her master’s thesis - Gianlorenzo Bernini. In her fantasies she’s in his arms, the wildly adored partner of the man who invented the Baroque.

But in reality, May has just landed in Rome with her teaching colleagues and older boyfriend who is paying her way. She yearns to unleash her passion and creative spirit, and when the floor under the gilded dome of St Peter’s basilica rocks under her feet, she gets her chance. Walking through the veil that appears, she finds herself in the year 1624, staring straight into Bernini’s eyes. Their immediate and powerful attraction grows throughout May’s tour of Italy. And as she continues to meet her ethereal partner, even for brief snatches of time, her creativity and confidence blossom. All the doorways to happiness seem blocked for May-all except the shimmering doorway to Bernini’s world.

May has to choose: stay in her safe but stagnant existence, or take a risk. Will May’s adventure in time ruin her life or lead to a magical new one?

Buy Links

ISBN: 978-1-946143-41-9 ~ eBook ~ $6.99
ISBN: 978-1-946143-42-6 ~ Paperback ~ $16.99


Bernini reached for May’s hand and led her down the length of his studio, their footsteps echoing on the stone floor. They passed many assistants, to whom he nodded, but no one spoke. She remembered his rule of silence in the studio. Artists were meticulously working on sculptural details or making the first blows on raw stone blocks. Painters at easels captured images of sculptures. Props and tools littered the work sites in this hive of production. She was thrilled to witness his industry of beauty, and to see how many people were involved, working together under his direction. Of course he was proud of his studio. It was a humming machine of human endeavor.
When they came back to his clay model, she said, “Isn’t this a model for your portrait of the English king?” May thought to herself that this was the beautiful head this English king would lose, and this sculpture itself would be lost in the Whitehall fire of 1698.
How did you—but I remember! You know everything about me, as my biographer should.”
That smile of his ought to be illegal. She was standing too close to him for a biographer. Nevertheless, she moved closer. “You’ve made him so noble. Really, he wasn’t this beautiful,” she pointed out. From his surprise, she gathered that he wasn’t used to having his work critiqued. Of course, he was Bernini. Only his patrons had the power to criticize his art, and they seemed to universally consider it fabulous. The matter of fidelity wasn’t an issue in his time the way it was in hers.
“I show his stature in his eyes and forehead,” he said. “I reveal the rest of his nature in the face below the nose, where I capture his fondness for feasting. And even that is beautiful.”
“Beauty in his fat jowls?”
He laughed. “They say he has expansive meals.” He ran a loving hand over the clay. “I captured his face when he was about to speak, so you can read his lively thought. Perhaps it was of mutton!”
They both laughed, and she said, “This king’s image is beautiful in your eyes and under your hands.”
“I tried to imagine what would move this man. You’re a poet. You must be able to feel it when the strings of your heart make a music that becomes a stream of light. You stand in that light and fold your hands. If you are sincere, truth comes as the body of an angel. A visitation.”
She stepped closer and bowed. “Cavaliere, you are my stream of light.”
He laughed and pulled her up. “I was simply answering your question.”
“I’m beginning to see how you work, and that thrills me.”
He stroked her cheek with a finger. “I must capture your expression. Something better than a sketch. Come.” He held out his hand.
He led her to a small studio off the main hall and closed the door. He pointed to a platform that held a small stool. “I want you to sit there.”
She sat down and arranged her skirt. He went over to a modeling stand, set up a block of clay, and fixed his analytical gaze on her, squinting and then tilting his head one way and then the other. After a moment, he gave directions. “Pull up your skirt to your knees. I want to see the calves. Let the legs be straight, but twist your torso and shoulders to the right. Look up to that corner, but only slightly. Just with the eyes.”
She tried to find and settle into the pose he wanted, but he shook his head and waved her to twist more. She did, but she turned her head back to see if it was enough. He nodded and gestured to turn her head back. His stare was intense, as if he were looking through her. The thought of Bernini sculpting her was thrilling, as was watching him do it.
She turned her head and spoke without looking at him. “When we first met, you sketched me. What did you see that you wanted to capture, besides my too-long nose?”
“I had ideas for you. Your look is unique. Please keep your body turned one way from the waist down and the opposite way from the waist up. I want you as my model for a statue of Truth. Were we not speaking of truth in art?
I do remember we were.” She thought of his great sculpture Truth Unveiled by Time, a seated, smiling, voluptuous woman whose drapery was being lifted away by the invisible figure of Time. Invisible, presumably, because Bernini never finished the work.

~ Praise for The Renaissance Club ~
Enchanting, rich and romantic…a poetic journey through the folds of time. In THE RENAISSANCE CLUB, passion, art, and history come together in this captivating tale of one woman’s quest to discover her true self and the life she’s meant to lead. Rachel Dacus deftly crafts a unique and spellbinding twist to the time-traveling adventure that’s perfect for fans of Susanna Kearsley and Diana Gabaldon. — Kerry Lonsdale, Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author
The Renaissance Club is a beautifully written story about a woman torn between two worlds—the present and the distant past. This time-travel adventure kept me guessing until the end about which world May would choose, and if that choice would be the right one. Highly recommended for lovers of time travel fiction or anyone looking for a compelling story about a woman trying to find happiness. — Annabelle Costa, Author of The Time Traveler’s Boyfriend.

The Renaissance Club shimmers with beauty, poetry, and art. Author Rachel Dacus sweeps her readers away to Italy with her, lifting the senses with the sights, sounds, and tastes of that stunning country; imparting her deep knowledge of Renaissance and Baroque art while immersing the reader in a gorgeously romantic story. This book is time travel at its best! — Georgina Young-Ellis, author of The Time Mistress Series

About the Author:

Rachel Dacus is the daughter of a bipolar rocket engineer who blew up a number of missiles during the race-to-space 1950’s. He was also an accomplished painter. Rachel studied at UC Berkeley and has remained in the San Francisco area. Her most recent book, Gods of Water and Air, combines poetry, prose, and a short play on the afterlife of dogs. Other poetry books are Earth Lessons and Femme au Chapeau.
Her interest in Italy was ignited by a course and tour on the Italian Renaissance. She’s been hooked on Italy ever since. Her essay “Venice and the Passion to Nurture” was anthologized in Italy, A Love Story: Women Write About the Italian Experience. When not writing, she raises funds for nonprofit causes and takes walks with her Silky Terrier. She blogs at Rocket Kid Writing.

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