Monday, June 17, 2024

Shining a bright Book Spotlight on Michelle Elliott's intriguing novel – Divinity Undone #HistoricalFiction #medieval #Renaissance

Divinity Undone

House of Borgia

by Michelle Elliott

Publication Date: December 12th, 2023
Publisher: independently published
Pages: 253
Genre: Historical Fiction

Step into the lavish world of 15th-century Rome, where power, luxury, and intrigue converge in a tale that unveils the captivating life of Lucrezia Borgia born as the Pope's illegitimate daughter.

Young Lucrezia quickly learns that life at the Vatican, with all its luxury and splendor, can be intoxicating and privileged. Still, when you are the illegitimate daughter of the pope, it is not for the faint of heart. The wheels of treachery and political alliance force Lucrezia into an unhappy marriage and the attempted seizure of her baby. Narcissism and betrayal plague the Borgia dynasty, proving that family dysfunction is not relegated to modern-day life.

Trapped under the control of her domineering father, Pope Alexander VI, Lucrezia must choose to embrace her power and live her destiny or forever be used for the benefit of the Borgia reign. Will Lucrezia’s beauty and intelligent charm be enough to save the people she holds dearest?

This quick-moving saga is rife with seduction, intrigue, and misogyny—a coming-of-age story like no other. Fans of historical romance will love this beautifully written tale set in medieval Italy.

Thank you for having me as a guest on your “Book Spotlight” post. I am honored to be here. Although my entry in the “Most Unusual Object in Your Book Contest” placed runner-up, I still wanted to share some information regarding the object.

In my novel Divinity Undone: House of Borgia, Pope Alexander IV uses a peephole hidden in a painting of Saint Peter to spy on his enemies and allies. The hole is cleverly masked behind the saint’s eye and can be discreetly opened and closed from behind by a hinged piece of metal.

Lucrezia always referred to her father as “uncle.” A term he insisted on. As newly ordained Pope Alexander VI, Lucrezia was still his bastard daughter and had little choice but to obey. Before the great anointing, Rodrigo Borgia flaunted power and ambition as an influential Cardinal with a mistress and many illegitimate children. As the Holy Father of all Christendom, Rodrigo set the rules. He demanded loyalty and obedience from everyone - even God himself.

Lucrezia cared little what title the man held or what she called him, admiring the full-length mirror sent as a present from her father, the new Pope. Her recently appointed apartment lay on the east side of the apostolic palace, far from political affairs and church business. The second-floor chamber window offered a sweeping view of the countryside and the beautiful garden courtyard below.

The display of Vatican wealth was breathtaking, even though her life had been far from penniless. Ornate gold leaf covered the wall paneling, and the vaulted ceiling portrayed a brightly painted mural of St. Anne, the patroness of unmarried women. Besides several clothing coffers that lined the wall, other rooms as large as her bedchamber were dedicated solely to her royal wardrobe.

Lucrezia pulled a dress from the pile on the bed and studied the elaborate satin design and low-cut bodice. In her fourteenth year, her body had finally matured. The sleek curve of her hips had taken shape, accentuating her petite waist. Childhood plumpness had been replaced with elegant cheekbones and a smooth stomach, but her breasts remained no larger than two firm peaches. She frowned. Would her bosom even fill any gown? She placed the elaborate hairpiece on her head. The weight crushed her golden ringlets as the words “Lady of Procida” repeated hypnotically in her mind. Uncle Rodrigo had made good on his promise of betrothal. It was one of the first papal decrees he made after becoming Pope Alexander. This evening, a formal dinner was planned to meet her fiancé, Don Gaspare Aversa, a young Procida nobleman. That was all she had been told of the boy who was to be her husband. It was all quite unfair, in her opinion.

“You primp like a peacock, Lucrezia,” Giulia teased and rubbed her swollen pregnant belly.

“And you are a jealous hag,” she countered and ducked as a hairbrush barely missed her head.

Giulia’s temper was legendary. As her uncle’s mistress, Giulia Farnese had Rodrigo’s ear, shared his bed, and flaunted his extravagant gifts, but she lacked the one thing she wanted most. The girl would never be his wife. As much as Giulia denied it, everyone suffered the prospect of her remaining his eternal mistress. Only five years Lucrezia’s senior, Giulia treated her like a daughter, telling Lucrezia what fabric to choose for new gowns, how to hold a spoon, and what fruits to eat to keep a smooth, firm stomach.

Giulia’s own belly bulged like a full barrel. Privately, the announcement of her pregnancy had pleased Rodrigo. His virility was one thing he valued as much as becoming pontiff. Publicly, the news brought a cool indifference from Rodrigo, which infuriated Giulia. She was already married to a noble crusader. Yet, to no one’s dismay, Rodrigo sent the man away a year ago to fight a long, drawn-out crusade in Turkey. Giulia did not care. If becoming Rodrigo’s wife was impossible, even with an unconstrained husband, at the very least, she would bear Rodrigo's children.

Lucrezia pulled up her long golden hair and twisted it away from her face, trying to decide how to best wear it for the upcoming feast. “What does Don Gaspare look like?” she asked, in an effort towards reconciliation, aware that Giulia had already glimpsed her fiancé that morning at Mass.

“He is a pompous ass masquerading as someone important when he is only a boy of sixteen!” she answered, her voice still sharp.

Lucrezia let her hair fall and flopped down on the bed, sprawling across the mountain of gowns. “Giulia, you know what I mean. What color is his hair? His eyes? Is he thin? Short? What about his face? Is it kind?” Even though Lucrezia did not know these things, she was sure she loved him already. Besides her brothers, Juan, Cesare, and Gioffre, she had never spent much time in the company of other boys but dreamt of them often.

Giulia’s eyes softened. “He is slightly taller than you. His hair is brown, the color of wheat berries in October. He is slight of build and immature... rather silly for my taste.” She threw a comb at Lucrezia but playfully this time. “I spoil you.”

“My husband will spoil me,” Lucrezia answered, sure of the future. “He will love only me, and I will bear him many children.”

Giulia tossed back her head and laughed. “Sweet child, love has nothing to do with it! You must learn how to please a man to keep him.”

This title is available to read on #KindleUnlimited.

Universal Buy Link

Michelle Elliott

Michelle is a historical fiction writer residing in Massachusetts. Divinity Undone: House of Borgia marks her debut novel. 

When not crafting vibrant stories set in the past, Michelle enjoys spending quality time with loved ones, traveling to new destinations, and appreciating nature. She is currently working on her next work of fiction, Of Heaven and Hellfire, to be released in December 2025.

Michelle brings history to life through immersive settings and compelling characters in her writing.

Connect with Michelle:

No comments:

Post a Comment