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The Scroll of Seduction: A Novel of Power, Madness, and Royalty

By Gioconda Belli

On an time out from her boarding university, younger Lucía meets Manuel—art historian and beautiful storyteller—who stocks along with her the story of 1 of history's such a lot tumultuous loves: Queen Juana of Castile's mythical devotion to her husband, Prince Philippe the good-looking. Embracing a union thrust upon her through political necessity, Juana responds with all of the passionate abandon inherent in her fiery nature—and is compelled to pay a excessive cost for her sincere sensuality. For there are these on the Renaissance courtroom who won't permit such unabashed independence within the inheritor to 1 of the world's strongest empires—and they claim Juana mad, denying her ascension to the throne. yet is she actually insane, or is she only a sufferer of her personal impetuosity and unbridled hope? Or is Juana a pawn in a fierce energy fight for keep watch over of the throne?

Lucía attends raptly to the story Manuel relates—and their very own tale starts off to miraculously, dangerously replicate that of Juana the Mad and her liked prince.

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At noon on Sunday, may possibly you will have lunch with me? Manuel. within the Church of San Cipriano, no longer faraway from tuition, they took confession on Saturday afternoons. I walked in and genuflected as i attempted to make out the confessionals within the dim mild. They appeared like large wood armoires on each side of the church’s round nave. I took a seat at the benches close to one among them, the place a number of previous ladies have been ready their flip. i used to be instantly wrapped within the church’s cavelike, silent surroundings. irrespective of the days I had advised myself I wouldn’t be condemned for what I had performed, to begin with simply because hell most likely didn’t even exist, and secondly simply because God could comprehend me, being there made me consider like a sinner, an impure Mary Magdalene.

I even felt he in demand my braveness in status as much as him, and for weeks he used to be as candy to me as he had ever been. What was once Philippe petrified of? I had in simple terms to hear him to achieve that few issues terrified him up to the assumption of dealing with my mom and dad. whilst he was once distant, it used to be effortless to faux he might recognize simply find out how to behave. i'm constantly astonished by way of how without problems humans idiot themselves. They make nice claims approximately what they're going to do or say. Their lively intentions make it effortless to think daring.

She and Manuel could buy groceries in order that lets even have a few champagne in addition to caviar, Serrano ham, Manchego cheese, and that i don’t recognize what else sooner than dinner. I’d remain domestic to set the desk, whole with tablecloth, candles, and the silverware that Águeda had polished. Excited on the prospect, I acknowledged goodbye and deliberate to get all the way down to paintings. I don’t be mindful precisely what i used to be doing while I heard the alarm method that locked the home at evening begin. It used to be a valid that usually scared the daylights out of me, the sound of all these antiques being sealed, lock, inventory, and barrel, in an hermetic vault.

Manuel had long gone out to satisfy Genaro, so I stretched out at the mattress and seemed round the room. i made a decision to spend part an hour now not puzzling over whatever. I’d simply fake i used to be in a four-star inn and ignore Juana and the Denias for your time. i need to HAVE FALLEN ASLEEP. MANUEL KNOCKED ON MY DOOR AT approximately o’clock. i used to be so used to my tiny mobilephone on the convent that it startled me to get up in what felt like a cathedral. i used to be chilly and shivering. Águeda had ready lunch for us, Manuel stated, poking his head within the doorway.

He was once a stunning, broad-shouldered priest who had taken us on a non secular retreat the 12 months ahead of. “God is sizeable, an all-encompassing presence, who's however conscious of every certainly one of us. God is familiar with each people by way of identify. ” the belief of God calling me via my identify, taking into consideration me as Lucía, had made me weep. It was once in the course of that retreat while I first knew the idea of a loving, mild God. God is love, the priest advised us. That appeared even more applicable to me than the assumption of a white-bearded lord tallying up everyone’s sins in a booklet he’d dirt off on Judgment Day.

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