From critically acclaimed historical novelist Diane Haeger comes The Ruby Ring , an unforgettable story of love, loss, and immortal genius . . .
Rome, 1520. The Eternal City is in mourning. Raphael Sanzio, beloved painter and national hero, has died suddenly at the height of his fame. His body lies in state at the splendid marble Pantheon. At the nearby convent of Sant’Apollonia, a young woman comes to the Mother Superior, seeking refuge. She is Margherita Luti, a baker’s daughter from a humble neighborhood on the Tiber, now an outcast from Roman society, persecuted by powerful enemies within the Vatican. Margherita was Raphael’s beloved and appeared as the Madonna in many of his paintings. Theirs was a love for the ages. But now that Raphael is gone, the convent is her only hope of finding an honest and peaceful life.
The Mother Superior agrees to admit Margherita to their order. But first, she must give up the ruby ring she wears on her left hand, the ring she had worn in Raphael’s scandalous nude “engagement portrait.” The ring has a storied past, and it must be returned to the Church or Margherita will be cast out into the streets. Behind the quiet walls of the convent, Margherita makes her decision . . . and remembers her life with Raphael—and the love and torment—embodied in that one precious jewel.
In The Ruby Ring , Diane Haeger brings to life a love affair so passionate that it remains undimmed by time. Set in the sumptuous world of the Italian Renaissance, it’s the story of the clergymen, artists, rakes, and noblemen who made Raphael and Margherita’s world the most dynamic and decadent era in European history.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of eBook: The Ruby Ring|
|Release Date: 04-05-2005|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Crown Publishing Group|
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|Parent title||The Ruby Ring|
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The Ruby Ring
It was a cold and darkly clouded afternoon as Margherita made her way down the narrow, cobbled streets of the neighborhood called Trastevere, shielded by a tangle of shoppers, merchants, stray dogs, oxcarts, and gangs of children. The air smelled of horses, sheep, and drying laundry that flapped between buildings above her. Before her father could ask her to draw the dozen fresh loaves of baccio from the blazing bread ovens she had slipped out the open door of the bakery, carrying the dozing toddler on her hip. It was the only way to get a moment's peace.
Cloaked in a midnight-blue wool cape and a simple green cloth dress, she had vanished the moment all of the waiting customers had been served. Surely Letitia could assist Father a bit more for a change. It might actually benefit her sister, she thought with a rueful little smile, to do something other than complain about life's unfairness, and the lack of leisure time, when she continued to insist upon producing children in such rapid succession.
Walking briskly away from the Via Santa Dorotea, Margherita passed a toothless woman, her face a patchwork of wrinkles, and a garland of garlic wrapped around her neck, as she sat before a shop bearing cows' heads and pigs' feet hanging from bloody strands of rope. Above the shop on the narrow, shadowy street were large windows barred with heavy iron grates. The massive wooden doors between street-front shops were studded and bolted in iron as well. Even in this weather she was glad to be outside, glad it would rain soon. Her mother, God rest her soul, had said that the rain always washed away the predictable and brought with it possibilit