A new visitor to my blog this week, as I welcome Angela Sims to share an extract of her novel The Rose of Florence published by Romaunce Books. Over to Angela …
Hello Morton and thank you so much for hosting me on your blog. I love reading blogs from other authors, so it’s a great privilege for me to share some of my work with you and your readers. It’s an exciting time, as my debut novel was released at the end of January, and I’m still getting to grips with the idea of being a published author.
I decided to share an extract from my book, as it will give a flavour of my writing. To give you an idea, I’d like to share a quote from a review I’ve recently received. “Smell, hear and see medieval Florence, as young love meets power politics in this delicious Renaissance period piece. There’s a Medici murder in the cathedral, the everyday ‘upstairs downstairs’ life of a noble household and even Botticelli, da Vinci and a child Machiavelli get a look in.”
This section is towards the beginning of the story, when our main characters are beginning to realise that political power struggles can reach all corners of life. Eleonora, the cook, is remembering a recent event that started to raise her suspicions that there could be treachery in the household.
It had been a cold evening. It rarely snows in Florence, but there was a whisper of it in the air that night. All the fires in the Palazzo had been lit; the rooms decorated with winter greenery, brought in from the marketplace. The cosy atmosphere was one of cheery anticipation ahead of one of the Church’s biggest celebrations, the Birth of the Christ-child. As usual, the kitchen had been a hive of activity for some days, and Eleonora had surpassed herself with the sumptuous spread. It was an intimate affair, with only Signori Lorenzo and Giuliano as guests of the family, but the evening had been a great success. Such was the closeness of the two families that by the end of the evening, Rosini and Medici were singing a mixture of devout Christmas hymns and bawdy tavern songs, which made Donna Cristina blush and Nonna Isabetta chuckle to herself. As the evening came to a close, the guests rose to leave. Lorenzo, however, clutched the back of one the dining chairs, complaining that his heart was pounding and holding a hand to his chest. While gasping for breath, he lurched towards the corner of the room and promptly vomited into a large decorative pitcher. He became so unwell that he had to be helped home by Antonio and Matteo. He remained unwell for some days but eventually recovered completely, and the incident was all but forgotten.
It was still fresh in Eleonora’s mind, though, and not because of the injury to her pride [as a cook]. No, what bothered Eleonora was a memory of her father’s apothecary shop. One night, a woman in great distress had pounded on the door of their home in Pistoia, waking the family. Eleonora’s father had been preparing a potion for the woman’s husband for some weeks. It was designed to treat his frequent headaches and palpitations and had been working well. However, on this occasion, it transpired that the woman’s husband had mistakenly taken the whole concoction and was now in a dreadful state. His palpitations were worse than ever, and he was delirious and vomiting. As a young girl, Eleonora remembered watching in distress as her father broke the news to the poor woman that there was no antidote to this poisoning, and all they could do was to pray to the Virgin Mary to take care of him. Sadly, later that day, the woman’s husband died.
As Eleonora recounted this story, Gianetta was captivated. “The same ailments as Signor Lorenzo,” she whispered. Eleonora nodded. “What was in the concoction?” asked Gianetta.
“The main ingredient was a flower,” she replied quietly. “Some call them fairy fingers or throatwort. I believe the English call them foxgloves. They are rare here in winter, but I remember that Donna Cristina had ordered some from the hothouses for the display that night. After Signor Lorenzo became so ill, I kept thinking of that poor woman and her husband, and I wondered. I just wondered…” she tailed off.
I hope you enjoyed this short section and are now keen to find out what happens in Florence and the Rosini household. There is murder and mayhem but also love and romance. Something for everyone!
About Angela M Sims
The Rose of Florence was borne of a love for the history, art and city of Florence, which grew over many years and frequent visits to this beautiful city. It’s what inspired me to start writing.
My background is in healthcare, having worked in the field of cardiology for many years. I have been a University lecturer since 2010, and I still have a clinical role. On a personal level, I live in Cardiff, South Wales, with my husband and two slightly stupid cats. I have two grown-up daughters and a gorgeous granddaughter. At every opportunity, I travel to Italy to eat, drink and absorb the wonderful atmosphere. I like to call that research!
Writing historical fiction is a world away from the day job, but it seems to be the perfect balance. In the time that it has taken to develop The Rose of Florence, I have learned many new skills and found a whole new group of friends and supporters in the writing community, specifically the Cariad Chapter of the Romantic Novelists’ Association. It’s a whole new world and a very exciting one. I’d love to hear what you think, so please get in touch.
Facebook: Angela M Sims – Author (@angelamsimsauthor)
About The Rose of Florence
1478: Gianetta and Matteo have a happy life, working in service to the wealthy Rosini family. They are used to entertaining rich and powerful members of Florentine society in Palazzo Rosini, where Lorenzo and Giuliano de’ Medici and Botticelli are regular visitors. Even when the Medici brothers narrowly escape the Palazzo with their lives (an accident, surely?), Gianetta and Matteo can’t imagine that the growing unrest in the streets of Florence would ever spoil their happiness.
When a bloody conspiracy erupts in the heart of Florence, in the city’s beloved Duomo, nobody is left unaffected by the aftermath. When the family hear that Matteo is among the conspirators, Gianetta knows that her life will never be the same…
Book Buying Links
Google Play: https://books.google.co.uk/books/about?id=CcGdEAAAQBAJ&redir_esc=y&hl=en
Apple iTunes: https://books.apple.com/us/book/x/id6444842168
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/2940165972638
Thank you for sharing your extract, Angela. I wish you every success with The Rose of Florence. Mx
Thank you for visiting my blog – Morton S. Gray – Author. I hope you enjoyed this post. You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Summer at Lucerne Lodge published as an eBook, paperback and audio download too – Amazon Check on my Choc Lit author page for other purchasing options here
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Sounds a fascinating book, Angela, and I just love that gorgeous cover.
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