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So begins the "secret book" of Grazia dei Rossi -- a written legacy from a mother to her son. Heiress to a Jewish banking dynasty, secretary to the world-renowned Isabella d'Este, married to the Pope's Jewish body physician, and lover of the Christian Lord Pirro Gonzaga, Grazia dei Rossi is a woman suspended between two cultures, forced to choose between two men, two worlds.

As a young girl, she falls in love with a Christian prince and is compelled to make a choice: either convert or give up the love of her life. Love wins out over duty. She enters the House of Converts to prepare herself for Christian marriage. But the Gonzaga family has other plans for their kinsman. He is whisked away to make a more suitable match and Grazia is left in disgrace both at court and with her own people. But Grazia is not destined to languish in misery. An unexpected marriage proposal saves her and she takes up life again as the wife of Judah del Medigo, esteemed as a scholar and physician, adviser to kings and popes.

Under Judah's tutelage, Grazia begins her career as a scribe, scholar, and, eventually, confidential secretary to Isabella d'Este. Back in the world of courts and courtiers, she is once again impaled on the sharp horns of the old dilemma: love or duty. Her story, as it unfolds in her secret book, is the story of a woman determined to remain true to her own heart at all costs.

Inspired by an actual letter from the period, author Jacqueline Park has created an unforgettable heroine -- a girl unafraid to petition a duke on behalf of an errant father, a woman unafraid to risk the scorn of her family for love. From townspeople gathering in cobblestone piazzas to the jewels circling a lady's neck, first-time novelist Park renders Renaissance Italy alive and palpable with the care of a master, weaving a shimmering tapestry that is both grand and intimate.


About Jacqueline Park

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Park is the Founding Chairman of the Dramatic Writing Program and Professor Emerita at NYU's Tisch school of the Arts
Published September 5, 1997 by Simon & Schuster. 576 pages
Genres: History, Travel, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The SECRET BOOK OF GRAZIA DEI ROSSI

Kirkus Reviews

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But while her scholarly talents bring her fame--she publishes a book--and work (she eventually becomes the secretary of the Marchesa, a woman close to the center of power in Renaissance Rome), her life, shaped by war, plague, and persecution, is changed forever by her encounter with the dashing L...

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Publishers Weekly

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But I am a scholar and a scribe, so the best I have to offer you is a document."" It is 1526 as Grazia Dei Rossi--heiress to an Italian-Jewish banking family, wife of the pope's Jewish physician and the lover of a Christian knight--begins this ""libro segreto in the Florentine manner."" In this s...

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