The Miracles of Prato A Novel Author:Laurie Albanese, Laura Morowitz Italy, 1456. The Renaissance is in glorious bloom, an age of unbridled creativity, commerce, art, and innovation. One of the most colorful men of this astonishing time is Fra Filippo Lippi, equally revered as a painter and reviled as a rogue. A great artist, he serves Cosimo de' Medici and the Catholic Church, creating masterpieces in celebratio... more »n of God and His glory. A Carmelite monk, he acts as chaplain to the nuns of the Convent Santa Margherita—and it is here, behind the cloister walls, that he encounters the greatest temptation of his life. Penniless and beautiful, young Lucrezia Buti has been driven to Santa Margherita more by poverty than piety. Mesmerized by Lucrezia's flawless features, Lippi sees in her face the inspiration for countless Madonnas. With the help of his powerful friends and an unscrupulous prioress, he draws upon favors that will lead to dangerous consequences, and brings the young woman to his studio to serve as his model. Painter and muse are soon united in an exhilarating whirl of artistic discovery. As weeks and months pass, a passionate love develops between the irascible artist and the young nun, resulting in a scandalous romance that threatens to destroy them even as it fuels some of Lippi's greatest work. Their affair sparks anger, envy, and vengeance . . . and it will take a miracle of undying faith, unsurpassed beauty, and unfathomable love to save all that Lippi and Lucrezia cherish. A gorgeous novel that brings together real and imagined characters from Italy's rich history, The Miracles of Prato is a moving and unforgettable tale of desire and devotion, both sensual and spiritual, set in an extraordinary time and place when beauty, faith, and art were celebrated above all.« less
This tale of Renaissance Italy was written "as a testament to the incredible love between a cloistered woman and the extraordinary painter-monk who left behind some of the most beautiful artwork of all time." Fra Filippo Lippi falls in love with his model Lucrezia Buto who was sequestered among the nuns of Santa Margherita after the death of her father. This fate was not uncommon in an age when women without funds were at the mercy of unhappy decisions made for them. But to fall in love with a painter and have an illicit affair brought difficulties unimagined. The novel strikes a good balance between reality (the piety of the age; the excitement of the time; and the world of art) and a heartfelt romance. The summary above says it better than I.