Book Review

by Diane Haeger

Genre: Historical Romance, Historical Fiction
Setting: Renaissance Italy

RT Rating

As she has done in The Secret
Wife of King George IV
, Haeger draws on an actual love story that is as passionate and consuming as any fictional romance. As the Renaissance artist Raphael lies in state, dead at the height
of his career, his mistress Margherita Luti is on her way to a convent where she will be safe from the vindictive Cardinal Bibbiena.

Margherita must pay the Mother Superior's price—the ruby ring she wears as a symbol of Raphael's love.
In the quiet of the walled community,
she reflects on her loss and how
she, the daughter of a baker, became
the model for the artist's famous
painting of the Madonna and the
love of his life. Margherita ponders whether she can relinquish the ring
or face harassment from the Church.

Haeger's magic touch recreates
the beauty, passion, intrigue and
glory of the Renaissance, portraying
the powerful Church, artists' rivalries, the majesty of the Pope and corrup-
tion of the Church through a truly
beautiful and bittersweet love story
that will resonate within readers'
hearts. SWEET (May, 400 pp., $12.95)

Reviewed By: Kathe Robin

Publisher: Three Rivers Press

Published: May 2005

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