Sandi is blogging from the WhistleStop Cafe kitchen. It's all about good home cooking; food, family and fun. Thousands of posts . . .

~In the south and around the world.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Friday Favs ~ a Virgin and a Griffin

How is that for a catchy blog title?
Something about a virgin, will always catch your attention
(and provide for some interesting google searches)

I am so excited to share this story with you.
I have a friend who has published her first novel ~ and it is ReALLy GooD.
I couldn't wait to download it  ~ and spent the weekend wrapped up in a story about 15th century Italy.
I wanted to do a bloggy post, and sent Sandra some questions. She does such great job of describing the art and people of 15th century Perugia, so I asked about that . . .

"I first visited Perugia in June 2007 and I fell in love with the city on my first day there. Of course, the city got a grip on my heart within that first day . It has some wonderful art (and almost every work I described in my novel is still there to be seen and enjoyed.) I loved the medieval atmosphere, the architecture, the churches, and, of course, the fantastic food and wine"

The novel leads us through the relationship of a priest and his students, both of whom work in their family's business. I wondered how Sandra came to write a novel about a textile maker  . . .

"I had begun to collect beautiful, hand-woven table runners from Perugia. These were produced by a young woman named Marta Cucchia, who is struggling very hard to keep her family's workshop in Perugia alive, while also preserving something of the Umbrian craft of weaving."
"From a beautiful table runner . . .the idea for a novel began to unfold: the story of a young weaver in Perugia, during the time of the Renaissance, who yearns to do something special just once in her life. She wants to create, with her loom, a work of great beauty. To leave her mark in the world"
"The first piece I bought from Marta was a beautiful table runner covered with scarlet griffins and the Latin motto: 'Per ardua ad astra' which translates roughly as: 'Only through adversity do we reach the stars.'
This quote is in the novel ~ I loved it then, and appreciate it even more now.
I was fascinated by the strong female characters in the book ~ Sandra is a strong woman on her own, but I asked her about that . . .
"I've drawn these women from real life. Most of my friends are very strong, determined women, who support each other in so many ways.  I firmly believe that women's friendships are crucial to our well-being, for so many reasons, and I wanted to bring that out"
"And, of course, my friend Letizia Mattiacci (who is from Perugia) is an inspiration. She is a very proud, determined Italian woman, who is running a wonderful bed-and-breakfast in the hills above Assisi"

The book is available on-line through for your kindle or e-reader. Download it today for a cozy weekend of reading . . . or share it with your bookclub.

Then come back and let me know how you loved it ~
You can also follow mi amici Sandra's life in Rome on her blog Leaping Without A Net .
I'm looking forward to sharing a glass of wine with her in May and discussing her next novel.
It'll be your Friday favorite to~
Y'all join in~

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