The Renaissance Club By Rachel Dacus Fiery Seas Publishing
Released: 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?
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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ISBN: 978-1-946143-41-9 ~ eBook ~ $6.99
ISBN: 978-1-946143-42-6 ~ Paperback ~ $16.99
THE RENAISSANCE CLUB by Rachel Dacus – EXCERPT from Chapter 23
She switched off her light and lay awake in the dark. She wanted to tell George that Gianlorenzo had taken her hand in a tavern and then taken her to Rome where he had seated her on a modeling stool and used her image to begin creating his fantastic Truth Revealed by Time. She wanted to tell George that Bernini asked her to stay and live with him—to have their child in his century—but she couldn’t.
She could only fill her notebook until it overflowed. After writing for a while, she got up and went to the bathroom. Her period hadn’t come, but now it didn’t matter. Damn Darren. Damn her cowardice. She washed her hands and let the warm water run over them. Her eyes were so bloodshot. Was she tired from spending extra time in the past? Maybe if she wrote about Bernini, she could cancel out this desire. She had gone too far down the path, though. An essay might help objectify Bernini, but all she wanted to write was poetry. A poem about the fact that this might have been their last meeting. She could put down on paper that she might have shared life with her Muse, in an alternate branch of history.
The note that formed in her mind wasn’t an academic one.
I fell through a rip in time, into his studio and onto his modeling stand. He walked around me and took me in, the way he takes everything and consumes it, turning it into art. He warmed me until I was melting, until I fluttered into an explosion. I’m a butterfly who drifted into his life and lived for a day. But I can’t hold eternity in my frail wings.
She had to see him again, but Florence was a Michelangelo town, with no Bernini art. No, that wasn’t true. She remembered one stunning piece of Bernini’s that was in Florence—the marble bust of his mistress, Costanza Bonarelli. It was arguably the most beautiful portrait sculpture of a woman ever made. Like his portrait of Saint Teresa, it had become a voluptuous scandal. Costanza, the woman history called Bernini’s Beloved, had betrayed him in an affair with his own brother. He had gone crazy and tried to kill his brother and then sent his servant to slash Costanza’s face. Bernini, who had made his way to the top through calculated self-restraint, was undone by his jealousy.
Strangely, May found herself jealous of this long-dead woman. Would seeing Costanza’s portrait bring May face-to-face with Bernini, and if so, would he be in the midst of this wild affair and immune to her?
May stared at her red eyes in the mirror. Jealousy was supposed to be the green-eyed monster, but hers were even more bloodshot than last night. She was losing control of herself, letting her emotions flow so fully and continually that she hardly recognized the hopeful scholar of art and history in the mirror. All she saw was a woman falling hopelessly in love, and also a woman falling out of love.
She went back to bed. Darren’s breathing was still steady, like everything about him. Steady and absorbed in himself. She hated the way they were falling apart and the way she could hate him sometimes now.
Sitting gently, so as not to wake him, she swung her legs up and under the covers, hating and then forgiving herself. Who wouldn’t fall in love with the master of beauty? And who, once captivated by him, wouldn’t have lost her bearings in time? The problem was that she hadn’t lost herself enough to stay. Not in either relationship, not in her own wishes, and not in pursuing her career. She was just a woman who was too much afraid, and that made her a failure, unable to surmount the obstacles. Her life felt too often like that bumpy carriage ride with Bernini, all pebbles, ruts, and jolts.
A wild idea came out of that image. Why couldn’t she give Norman her notice, and maybe then she would know which way to leap. Into which place, and into which time.
She fell asleep, both fearful and hopeful about tomorrow’s journey to Florence. Things were speeding forward to a future she didn’t want to think about nearly as much as she wanted to think about the past.