Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Julia Justiss | History ReFreshed: The Gift of Self – Extraordinary Women
Author Guest / December 18, 2019

Christmas—the time for exchanging gifts with those we love.  But sometimes, the greatest gift we can give is to ourselves, sorting through the clutter of everyday life and conventional expectations to discover who we really are—and having the courage to pursue that.  In this month’s selections, we look at four women who manage just that. We begin chronologically with ENCHANTRESS OF NUMBERS by Jennifer Chiaverini.  Ada Byron Lovelace was the famed Romantic poet’s only legitimate child, who grew up estranged from the father her bitter mother thought deranged.  Because of her mother’s fears that she might inherit her father’s “insanity,” Ada was from childhood kept away from tales of fantasy and make-believe and led to pursue mathematical and scientific studies, subjects in which she excelled.  Though she debuts and makes the expected society marriage, she never gives up her intellectual pursuits, maintaining contacts with a number of leading scientists and philosophers. Through one of her former tutors, she meets inventor Charles Babbage and becomes fascinated by his “Difference Engine,” one of the earliest versions of a computer.  She will eventually write for Burbage’s machine an algorithm that some consider the first true computer program.  Before her tragic early death, she…

Julia Justiss | History ReFreshed: The Renaissance, A Lush Splendor
Author Guest / August 21, 2019

Complex as its luxurious brocaded gowns in rich colors, the Renaissance abounds in stories of intrigue, political maneuvering, lust, and murder, and features larger-than-life historical figures.  In this month’s column, we will look at four novels exploring this world of splendor and violence. We begin with THE VATICAN PRINCESS by C.W. Gortner, which features one of the Renaissance’s most fascinating characters, Lucrezia Borgia.  This novel, narrated in her own voice, deals with the central portion of her life, after her father, Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia, becomes Pope Alexander VI.  The beautiful Lucrezia and her brothers Cesare and Juan are stars of the Papal court–but also pawns in the political power games that seek to maintain the Borgias as the dominant family of Renaissance Italy. Her first marriage is annulled when the winds of fortune change, after which she is allied to a Prince of Naples.  His later death, and the convoluted scheming between marriages, lead to charges by her enemies that she was involved in murder and even incest. A third marriage to the Duke of Ferrara, scion of the equally powerful d’Este family, finally provides a measure of stability for a girl who has been forced to survive in a…

Fresh Pick | THE TUDOR SECRET by C.W. Gortner
Fresh Pick / March 30, 2011

Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles #1 February 2011 On Sale: February 1, 2011 Featuring: Brendan Prescott; William Cecil 352 pages ISBN: 0312658508 EAN: 9780312658502 Paperback $14.99  Add to Wish List Mystery Historical Buy at A new Tudor mystery series begins…treachery underfoot The Tudor Secret by C.W. Gortner The era of the Tudors was one of danger, intrigue, conspiracy, and, above all, spies. Summer 1553: A time of danger and deceit. Brendan Prescott, an orphan, is reared in the household of the powerful Dudley family. Brought to court, Prescott finds himself sent on an illicit mission to the king’s brilliant but enigmatic sister, Princess Elizabeth. But Brendan is soon compelled to work as a double agent by Elizabeth’s protector, William Cecil, who promises in exchange to help him unravel the secret of his own mysterious past. A dark plot swirls around Elizabeth’s quest to unravel the truth about the ominous disappearance of her seriously ill brother, King Edward VI. With only a bold stable boy and an audacious lady-in-waiting at his side, Brendan plunges into a ruthless gambit of half-truths, lies, and murder. Filled with the intrigue and pageantry of Tudor England, The Tudor Secret is the first book in The…