The Shepherdess of Siena: A Novel of Renaissance Tuscany

By Linda Lafferty

Raised by way of her aunt and uncle amidst the rolling hills of the Tuscan geographical region, younger orphan Virginia Tacci has continually harbored a deep love for horses—though she is aware she may perhaps by no means have the opportunity to journey. As a shepherdess in sixteenth-century Italy, Virginia’s chances are doubly restricted by means of her peasant classification and her gender. but whereas she has a tendency her flock, Virginia is captivated through the bold equestrian feats of the high-spirited Isabella de’ Medici, who rides with the energy and braveness of any guy, a lot to the horror of her brother, the tyrannical Gran Duca Francesco de’ Medici.

Inspired, the younger shepherdess retains one dream as regards to her middle: to race in Siena’s Palio. Twenty-six years after Florence captured Siena, Virginia’s defiance will rally the damaged spirit of the Senese humans and threaten the pernicious reign of the Gran Duca. Bringing alive the wealthy historical past of 1 of Tuscany’s most renowned towns, this lush, eye-catching saga attracts an illuminating portrait of 1 lady with an unbreakable spirit.

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He stood, brush in hand. looking ahead to the sunrise. anticipating her. He had painted her from a distance for a 12 months now, the pastorella—the shepherdess—and her woolly fees. Virginia Tacci intrigued him, this thin woman of six years. His father, Cesare Brunelli, who knew every thing there has been to grasp approximately horses, acknowledged he recalled the day his ally introduced child Virginia to the stables. He acknowledged the entire horses stopped shuffling, consuming, snorting. They lifted their heads, listening. “The silence used to be eerie,” Cesare stated, “like prior to an excellent hurricane. ” That silence held until eventually it was once eventually damaged by means of the baby’s chuckle. “She has a present. The horses are by no means wrong,” Cesare Brunelli stated. “They realize her spirit—a wild spirit like their very own. ” It made the younger artist believe an emotion similar to jealousy. A burning itch to seize her. He felt the urge to dig in his nails, shiny with colour, to scratch her shape on canvas. yet she’s a lady. And a shepherdess. What sturdy will it do her, this wild spirit? His father’s phrases resonated within the artist’s brain. The younger guy could paint her, again and again, from each attitude. The sound of baying hounds broke into his recommendations. His eyes searched the rolling hills, blinking again tears opposed to the chilly wind. 4 velvet-cloaked riders paused at the crest of the hill, its grass bleached to straw through the Tuscan sunlight. 3 brothers and a sister, their horses liveried with the crimson ball of the de’ Medici, emblazoned at the cheekpieces and browbands in their bridles. A cold-throated gust tore on the cloaks of the riders. The woman’s billowing skirts crammed like sails within the wind. Her chestnut horse spooked, taking a steer clear of jump as rapid as a thunderclap. Hooves smashed the frosted grass because the gelding spun round. “Easy, cavallo,” the rider cooed as she accumulated her skirts, tucking them tight among her leg and the saddle. She sat deep within the saddle, her heels stretching low into the stirrup irons. the pony snorted, his nostrils flared. White puffs lingered within the iciness air. Her lips curved right into a smile on the horse’s pleasure. “This is why girls are not hunt,” acknowledged her eldest brother, dismounting. He flung again his cloak angrily, his hands counting the holes in his stirrup leathers. He adjusted his left stirrup somewhat shorter. “Where are the grooms? ” he grumbled. The well-oiled leather-based snapped as he yanked down the stirrup. “The Granduca of Tuscany should not need to dismount with the exception of the kill. ” “I commanded them to go away us in peace,” stated his sister, Isabella. “How usually will we communicate with no witnesses? i don't belief the good servants. they're paid to hold our secrets and techniques to different courts. ” Granduca Francesco grunted as he comprehensive with the stirrup. He straightened up and drew a silver flask from his driving jacket. “That, regrettably, is the reality. ” He took an extended draught of grappa, his eyes scanning the Senese nation-state. “With Ercole Cortile’s spying and his wagging tongue, I’d bet the Duca di Ferrara understands the fitting lacework of my mistress’s chemise.

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