A Novel

Book - 2013
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Muse is the story of the charismatic woman who was the inspiration behind Petrarch's sublime love poetry. Solange LeBlanc begins life in the tempestuous streets of 14th century Avignon, a city of men dominated by the Pope and his palace. When her mother, a harlot, dies in childbirth, Solange is raised by Benedictines who believe she has the gift of clairvoyance. Trained as a scribe, but troubled by disturbing visions and tempted by a more carnal life, she escapes to Avignon, where she becomes entangled in a love triangle with the poet Petrarch, becoming not only his muse but also his lover. Later, when her gift for prophecy catches the Pope's ear, Solange becomes Pope Clement VI's mistress and confidante in the most celebrated court in Europe. When the plague kills a third of Avignon's population, Solange is accused of sorcery and is forced once again to reinvent herself and fight against a final, mortal conspiracy.
Publisher: [Toronto] : Doubleday Canada, c2013.
ISBN: 9780385668217
Characteristics: 324 p. ;,23 cm.


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Aug 17, 2019

Set in early fourteenth century Avignon where the only career choices for a woman were being a wife, a harlot or a nun. Solange 's mother is a harlot, but Solange is raised by the Benedictines and trained as a scribe. Events cause her to leave the monastary and she meets the love of her life, the young poet Francesco Petrarch (a historic person). Who is the "muse" of the title? Is it Laura, a married aristocrat who Petrarch lauds with romantic poems or is it his secret lover, Solange? All is revealed to the reader. Not only is this novel a very enjoyable read but it provides a fascinating well-researched portrait of the times. If chosen by a book club, it is possible 'all' the members will read it cover to cover. Discussion could be on what career would they choose if they had lived then -- wife, harlot or nun?

Mar 30, 2015

Just an excellent book, Conceit the same. You really get a clear insight, however fictitious, of the times. Hope there is another book coming soon.

Aug 26, 2013

Mary Novik's second novel (her first was titled Conceit) is a great read,
full of intricate and fascinating historical detail about Avignon during the papal interregnum, and replete with a heroine whose life encompasses many of the roles of women (and men) during the late Middle Ages.

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Aug 17, 2019

LouhiKuutar thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over


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