Bona Sforza, Poland’s Rebellious Queen

Medieval and early modern queenship is a fascinating area of historical research. In European history, it focuses on such famous queens as Eleanor of Aquitaine (of France and later of England), Catherine de' Medici of France, or Elizabeth I of England. Indeed, western European queens seemed to have enjoyed a degree of freedom (by the... Continue Reading →

Silent Water, The Jagiellon Dynasty #1

Prologue Bari, Kingdom of Naples March 1560 The nightmares did not start until my old age, when sleep becomes elusive for some, while for others it is burdened with images from their past they would rather not remember. The stone cellar, dank and malodorous; the glint of a blade; the killer’s cold eyes; the victim’s... Continue Reading →

Botticelli’s Muse by Dorah Blume

Artist Sandro Botticelli's painting Primavera is one of the most celebrated artworks of the Italian Renaissance. Breaking with many conventions of the past, it askewed religious imagery in favor of a secular theme of spring awakening. As such it garnered a great deal of criticism from Church authorities when it was painted in the late... Continue Reading →

The Vatican Princess by G.W. Gortner

Lucrezia Borgia continues to be the subject of biographies, a hit TV series (sadly cancelled before its time), and historical novels, including the recent Vatican Princess that probes the depths of depravity that the infamous papal dynasty of the early 16th century sank into, engulfing everyone within its orbit. As an illegitimate but beloved daughter... Continue Reading →

Woman’s Work(s): The Poetry of Louise Labé

Guest blog by Julianne Douglas In 1555, printer Jean de Tournes of Lyon published a small volume of poetry titled EVVRES (WORKS). This innocuous label belied the book’s audacity, for the collection—a proto-feminist dedicatory epistle, a lengthy dialogue between Love and Folly, three elegies, and twenty-four sonnets—was the first of its kind in France: a... Continue Reading →

The Scribe of Siena by Melodie Winawer

I have confessed on this blog to being conservative when it comes to my historical fiction: I prefer it realistic and serious, no fantasy, parody, alternative histories, etc. Then I came across a synopsis of The Scribe of Siena by Melodie Winawer. The setting of the novel – medieval Siena – had me sit up... Continue Reading →

A Day of Fire

The destruction of the ancient city of Pompeii by Vesuvius in AD 79 has inspired countless works of fiction and non-fiction over the years, but when I heard Sophie Perinot (of The Medicis' Daughter fame) talk about A Day of Fire at this year's literary festival in Newburyport, it piqued my interest. Perinot is one... Continue Reading →

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