Wednesday, July 10, 2024

The Virgins of Venice

Good morning, dear readers! Join me in welcoming author Gina Buonaguro to the blog today to introduce her novel, The Virgins of Venice. It's a great opportunity to lose yourself in the 16th century.

Welcome, Gina!

~ Samantha 


The Virgins of Venice

Guest Post by Gina Buonaguro

In sixteenth-century Venice, one young noblewoman dares to resist the choices made for her.

Venice in 1509 is on the brink of war. The displeasure of Pope Julius II is a continuing threat to the republic, as is the barely contained fighting in the countryside. Amid this turmoil, noblewoman Justina Soranzo, just sixteen, hopes to make a rare love marriage with her sweetheart, Luca Cicogna. Her hopes are dashed when her father decides her younger sister, Rosa, will marry in a strategic alliance and Justina will be sent to the San Zaccaria convent, in the tradition of aristocratic daughters. Lord Soranzo is not acting only to protect his family. It’s well known that he is in debt to both his trading partners and the most infamous courtesan in the city, La Diamante, and the pressure is closing in.

After arriving at the convent, Justina takes solace in her aunt Livia, one of the nuns, and in the growing knowledge that all is not strictly devout at San Zaccaria. Justina is shocked to discover how the women of the convent find their own freedom in what seems to her like a prison. But secrets and scandals breach the convent walls, and Justina learns there may be even worse fates for her than the veil, if La Diamante makes good on her threats.

Desperate to protect herself and the ones she loves, Justina turns to Luca for help. She finds she must trust her own heart to make the impossible decisions that may save or ruin them all.

Connect with the author

Gina Buonaguro is the co-author of The Wolves of St. Peters, Ciao Bella and The Sidewalk Artist, as well as several romance titles under the name Meadow Taylor. The Virgins of Venice is her first solo novel.

She has a BA in English from Villanova University in Pennsylvania and earned an MA in English from the University of British Columbia while on a Fulbright Scholarship. Born in New Jersey, Gina Buonaguro lives in Toronto.

Connect with her on her websiteFacebookLinkedIn

Thursday, July 4, 2024

Cover Reveal!

Dear readers, I'm excited to finally share this with you! The cover art for my James A Hamilton biography was designed using a family portrait owned by one of his descendants. I am so thankful that I was put in contact with them through Columbia University during my research. Columbia holds James A Hamilton's former estate, Nevis, and it is now their Nevis Laboratories campus. They have been very supportive of my research, and I loved my visit to James's home. 

The image of the portrait that I was provided with was one that I had not found online or in any library collection during my research, so I was beyond excited when Helen Hamilton Spaulding gave her permission to use it for the cover design by Pen & Sword.

You might also notice James's signature in the background. I've spent so many hours trying to read his letters that I am going to need to schedule an eye exam, but I loved how he ALWAYS included his middle initial reminding everyone of the father of whom he was so proud. 

This book is in the editing stage right now and scheduled for publication in January 2025. I really can't wait to share it with you. It not only examines the life of James Alexander Hamilton, but through his experiences and connections you will relive the early republic era. James was born in the year of the Constitutional Convention, served in the War of 1812, watched his son and nephew leave to fight in the Civil War, and advised countless presidents and leading men of the early nineteenth century. I hope you will enjoy learning more about him and our country's roots.

You can preorder your signed hardcover copy directly through my bookshop.

Thank you for your ongoing support of my writing and this project!