The Renaissance Club, a novel

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The Renaissance Club

A Time Travel Romance

“Enchanting, rich, and romantic, a poetic journey through the folds of time.”– Bestselling author Kerry Lonsdale.

What happens when a 17th century artist meets his superfan from the future?

A new world awaits May Gold. She just doesn’t realize it could exist in the rear view mirror, the past she has studied so well. 

In her tiny carrel at the college, imagining the Baroque sculptor Bernini’s arms around her, May was happy to daydream herself into that time. But could she exist there in reality?



She gets her chance to find out while touring St. Peter’s in Rome, when she parts the curtains of time and steps into the 17th century to find herself staring into the eyes of the genius who has been her hero and passion. 



A young historian, May is low woman on the academic totem pole. A new teacher, she earns little more than a Starbuck’s barista and is at odds with her department head. But when she’s with Bernini, she’s a completely different person, a poet who can speak her truth, a woman whose passion leads her into adventure.

When she returns to her time, she’s back to being nobody.

Can she give up everything, even the time in which she lives, to stay with her soul mate? But if she does, she’ll have to live in a century that treated women as property.

May must find a creative way forward, or doom her love to the dust of history.
 Can love outwit time?

PRAISE for The Renaissance Club

Highly recommended for lovers of time travel fiction or anyone looking for a compelling story about a woman trying to find happiness.” – Annabelle Costa, Author of The Time Traveler’s Boyfriend.

“Enchanting, rich and romantic…a poetic journey through the folds of time. In The Renaissance Club, passion, art, and history come together in this captivating tale of one woman’s quest to discover her true self and the life she’s meant to lead. Rachel Dacus deftly crafts a unique and spellbinding twist to the time-traveling adventure that’s perfect for fans of Susanna Kearsley and Diana Gabaldon.” — Kerry Lonsdale, Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author

Available through  Amazon.

Excerpt

A distant clang. The Swiss Guards were closing the outer doors and tourists were scurrying. Where was The Renaissance Club? In a panic, May dashed toward the Baldacchino and nearly collided with a man who stepped out from behind a pillar.

The young man in black frowned and didn’t apologize. With his long, dark hair and white sleeves rolled up on muscular forearms, he looked like an art restorer. A black jacket was draped over his shoulders. He held a long wooden measuring rod, the kind used by architects centuries ago. Maybe he was rehearsing for some sort of pageant.

“Ladies are not allowed here while I’m working,” he said stiffly. He aimed the rod at the nearest column and sighted up along it.

“I know you!” she exclaimed. She knew him well.

He straightened his jacket and bowed. “Everyone in Rome knows Cavaliere Bernini. But you may not be here. I need silence. I have a very big work to complete.”

His finger pointed up at the four twisted bronze columns, where May was astonished to see no bronze canopy on top. Tons of bronze had simply vanished. She looked back at him. Bernini lifted the instrument and peered up at the nearest column. Her living, breathing idol moved to one side to get a better angle. Lean and strong, he was even more handsome than in his self-portrait.

Now he was so intent on his investigation that he seemed unaware of her and the fact that her pulse was pounding. How had she come here, and where exactly was she?

He lowered the measuring rod, framed the air with his hands, and used his fingers to make rapid computations. He stared at her so intensely that she shivered. She remembered that searing gaze in his self-portrait.

“You’re disturbing me, signorina.” He turned away, clearly expecting her to leave.

How could she possibly move? Here was her genius, his hair curled with wiry energy, materializing the restless mind under it. His prominent cheekbones gave him the Neapolitan look that had embarrassed him and made him fabricate a Florentine heritage. He made a few quick calculations and looked at her again, eyes narrowed.

“I won’t say a word,” she promised, her pulse throbbing so loudly she wondered if he could hear it.

He lowered the rod and at last smiled. Historians had written that his smile could charm anyone, but he had never been painted smiling. What a shame.

 

Praise for The Renaissance Club:

“Enchanting, rich and romantic…a poetic journey through the folds of time. In The Renaissance Club, passion, art, and history come together in this captivating tale of one woman’s quest to discover her true self and the life she’s meant to lead. Rachel Dacus deftly crafts a unique and spellbinding twist to the time-traveling adventure that’s perfect for fans of Susanna Kearsley and Diana Gabaldon.” — Kerry Lonsdale, Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author

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You can see more of Rachel’s writing on Italy in the wonderful anthology, Italy: A Love Story: Women Write About the Italian Experience (Seal Press).

Explore More Bernini, Renaissance, and Baroque Art & History

To learn more about my story’s real historical hero, Gianlorenzo Bernini, you should read Franco Mormando’s definitive biography, Bernini: His Life and His Rome.

Another fascinating source on the tempestuous genius is Sarah McPhee’s new biography of Costanza piccolomini, Bernini’s Beloved.

The Culture Trip has some stunning images of the best of Bernini’s sculptures. Browse online if you can’t make it to Rome just yet.