The Scroll of Seduction by Gioconda Belli
A Novel

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Manuel is a man of many talents; an art historian and professor, he is also an exquisite storyteller. When he meets 16-year-old Lucía on an outing from her boarding school, he offers to narrate a story of dire consequences—that of the Spanish Queen Juana of Castile and her legendary love for her husband, Philippe the Handsome.

Promised to Prince Philippe the Handsome to solidify ties between the Flemish and Spanish crowns, Queen Juana immediately fell in love with her betrothed with all the abandon and passion of her fiery personality. Theirs was one of the most tumultuous love stories of all time.

But Juana, who was also one of the most learned princesses of the Renaissance, was forced to pay a high price for being headstrong and daring to be herself. Those at court who could not fathom Juana as heir to the throne of the most important empire of its day conspired against her and began to question her sanity. Eventually she came to be known as Juana the Mad. But was she really insane, or just a victim of her impetuosity and unbridled passion?

As the novel unfolds, Lucía and Manuel become enmeshed in a complex psychological web that seduces and incites them to relive Juana and Philippe's story, and eventually leads them to a mysterious manuscript that may hold the key to Juana's alleged madness.


About Gioconda Belli

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Gioconda Belli's poetry and fiction have been published in many languages. Her first novel, The Inhabited Woman, was an international bestseller; her collection of poems, Linea de fuego, won the prestigious Casa de las Americas Prize. She lives in Santa Monica, California, and Managua, Nicaragua.Nacida en Managua, Nicaragua, Gioconda Belli es autora de una importante obra poética de reconocido prestigio internacional. Es autora de La mujer habitada, Sofía de los presagios, Waslala, El taller de las mariposas y un libro de memorias titulado El país bajo mi piel. Publicada por las editoriales más prestigiosas del mundo, Gioconda Belli vive desde 1990 entre Estados Unidos y Nicaragua.
Published October 13, 2009 by HarperCollins e-books. 336 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Manuel seduces the willing virgin by dressing her in a period costume and mesmerizing her with a longwinded narration of Juana’s life: Beginning with her birth in 1479, the tale takes a dark turn with Juana’s passionate marriage at age 16 to Philippe the Handsome, Archduke of Burgundy, whose ties...

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Publishers Weekly

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Soon, Manuel dresses Lucia like Juana, and, as he seduces (and eventually impregnates) her, she channels Juana's spirit, allowing Belli to create—in sensuous detail—a turbulent, emotion-driven version of events that is at odds with historians' accounts of Juana's schizophrenia.

Jul 24 2006 | Read Full Review of The Scroll of Seduction: A Novel

Entertainment Weekly

Juana, third child of 15th-century Spanish monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella, was so in love with her husband, Philippe the Handsome, she was jealous even of his corpse.

Sep 22 2006 | Read Full Review of The Scroll of Seduction: A Novel

A strong female voice in Latin America alternates between past and present in

Oct 01 2014 | Read Full Review of The Scroll of Seduction: A Novel

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