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The SECRET BOOK OF GRAZIA DEI ROSSI:
A NOVEL

by Jacqueline Park

ISBN 0684816032 / 9780684816036 / 0-684-81603-2
Publisher Simon & Schuster
Language English
Edition Hardcover
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Book summary

The "secret book" of the title--or libro segreto, in the old Florentine manner--is the detailed account of Grazia dei Rossi's exciting and turbulent life, written so that her son might know his legacy. Inspired by a letter written centuries ago by a young Jewish woman to Isabella d'Este, The Secret Book of Grazia is a rich and complex work of fiction. This historical novel brings to life the sublime art, political corruption, and religious intolerance of 16th-century Florence from a rarely explored vantage point: the complicated symbiosis between Christian and Jew. Grazia dei Rossi, educated daughter of a wealthy Jewish family, has fallen in love with a young Christian nobleman. Forced to choose between her love and her faith, she chooses love. But her betrothed is whisked away by kinsmen, and the humiliated Grazia is ruined--until fate throws her another chance in the guise of a second marriage proposal, this one from the powerful Judah del Medigo, scholar, physician, and adviser to popes and kings. Under his guardianship, Grazia flourishes as a scholar and scribe, eventually becoming the secretary to Isabella d'Este, where she reenters the world of courts and courtiers.

And that's just the beginning; Park blends scholarship, imagination, and a compelling heroine to serve up good, old-fashioned literary stew, thick with the irresistible details of place, plottings, and passions. [via]