That's the title of my novel, which I am close to publishing as an e-book. The manuscript is now being formatted, the cover is ready, so once all the technical details are wrapped up, I'll be publishing.
My novel, which I began work on three years ago, is a piece of historical fiction, set in Perugia at the beginning of the 16th century. In many ways, it was inspired by a gorgeous textile that I bought several years ago from Marta Cucchia, a very talented weaver in Perugia who is trying to keep the Umbrian weaving tradition alive at her family's Giuditta Brozzetti laboratorio.
This is my first novel, so I suspect there will be mistakes and criticisms but I hope these will help me to improve my writing in my next novel, now in the works.
But, I'm getting ahead of myself!
The Virgin and the Griffin tells of a young woman's struggle to find a measure of joy and beauty in a violent, fear-filled society in a Renaissance Italian city fractured by politics and war, yet a place where great beauty and love are still possible.
In 1504 Perugia, an ancient city in central Italy, is a place of great art, great violence – and a great many secrets. Isabella Bevilacqua, a young weaver in her family's small workshop, understands this very well. Her dreams of creating a work of great beauty must, like her burgeoning relationship with the enigmatic Father Michele Gialletti, remain carefully hidden from her family and from Perugia's powerful weavers' guild.
Keeping secrets is essential to survival in this city, where wealthy and jealous noble families clash viciously on the streets, in the piazzas – even within the Cathedral of San Lorenzo....
Much of the background to my novel is based on facts: Pope Julius, known so well for commissioning Michelangelo to paint the Sistine ceiling, did in fact march an army on Perugia to control the warring families. Great painters discussed in the novel, such as Raphael, really did live and work in Perugia.
And Perugia is, of course, a beautiful, mysterious, sometimes marble-hard city that fascinates.
I can't wait to publish my novel and bring my characters to life!