Feminist historic fiction based upon true events?! Fast becoming my new favourite thing! I was delighted when Costanza dropped through the letterbox, I’d had my eye on this for some time (publishes August 2024). It’s 2024 and we don’t have enough of women lifting other women up – why do we need to back in time to find these heroic stories?! Perhaps to inspire us… because this one is truly inspirational. Betrayal and revenge is rife but so is sisterhood and community.

Rachel Blackmore has clearly done her research to create such a compelling read based upon a difficult period of time. Costanza is an inspiration to us all as she navigates a difficult marriage in the 16th Century. Beautifully told, wonderfully imagined, a book for us all.

About the Book

Rome, 1636. History calls her a Muse. Temptress. Fallen woman. This is her story.

In the scorched city of Rome, the cobbled streets hum with gossip and sin. Costanza Piccolomini is a respectable young wife – until she meets Gianlorenzo Bernini, the famed sculptor and star of Roman society, whose jet-black gaze matches his dark temper. From the second they set eyes upon each other, a fatal attraction is born.

Their secret love burns with a passion that consumes them. But with every stolen kiss and illicit tryst, Costanza’s reputation is at stake. Meanwhile, Bernini has a dangerous desire: he wants to make Costanza immortal. He vows to possess her not just in body and soul, but also in marble.

When Bernini unveils his sculpture of Costanza, she is exposed as his lover, marking the undoing of their affair – and the beginning of a scandal which will rock Roman society. For Bernini would rather destroy Costanza than let her go.

Betrayed. Abandoned. Banished. This was meant to be the end of Costanza’s story. But Costanza is no ordinary woman: from the ashes, she will rise…

Based on a true story, Costanza is a dizzying and sensual historical novel that brings to life a feminist icon who has been written out of history. This utterly addictive tale of desire and betrayal is perfect for fans of The Marriage Portrait and The Miniaturist.

About The Author

Born in Birmingham the daughter of a theatre director and a teacher, Rachel developed her love of language and storytelling at a young age. She went on to study Early Modern History, before embarking on a career in politics which morphed into a long bout as a speechwriter – a craft she now teaches.

Photo from Rachel Blackmore’s X profile.

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