by Rachel Dacus

Would you give up everything, even the time in which you live, to be with your soul mate? That\’s what young art historian and teacher May Gold must decide when she slips through time\’s folds to meet the man of her dreams and the subject of her master\’s thesis — fiery 17th century genius artist Gianlorenzo Bernini.

In her fantasies May is in his arms, the wildly adored partner of the man who steered Renaissance art into the Baroque. In reality, she has just landed in Rome with her stodgy boyfriend and teaching colleagues for a tour of Italy. She yearns to unleash her passion and creative spirit.

When the floor under the gilded dome of St Peter\’s basilica rocks under her feet, she finds herself in the year 1624, staring straight into Bernini\’s eyes. Their immediate and powerful attraction grows every time she meets him during the tour. Passion blossoms, but history says they have no future. Can May thread her way through time, and will she take a perilous risk to begin a magical, exciting new life?

This time travel romance is perfect for lovers of Italy, art, and love stories.

He lowered the rod and at last, smiled. Historians had written that his smile could charm anyone, but he had never been painted smiling. What a shame.

“Why are you, a woman, studying my art?” His voice wasn’t deep but it was vibrant, with an Italian lilt. “Women only study languages, lute playing, babies, and needle work.”

“I’m a different kind of woman.” She remembered what a range of women he had known, from models to noblemen’s wives. In his era, women’s decent occupations could be listed in five lines.

“I do not wish to be rude, but because of your sex you cannot study art.”

“I’m an exception.” She enjoyed the way that startled him.

“What are you called?” he demanded.

“My name is May Gold.”

He bowed. “Signorina May Gold, Cavaliere Bernini is at your service! Your golden skin makes me think you are perhaps from Egypt, where women aren’t properly schooled in manners.”

She smiled at what he thought would be an insult. “I’m half Italian and half Jewish. And I am a student of your work, despite my sex.”

“How can that be?”

His superior certainty made the sarcasm pinch, but she knew he couldn’t easily understand. She might as well tell him what he would find unbelievable. “I’m a historian studying Baroque art, and you’re the focus of my study.”

He laughed loudly. “A woman historian? Impossible! And I know nothing of your Baroque. I am merely—” he bowed insincerely “—a genius of sculpture and architecture.”


-What inspired you to become a writer?

I blame my mother and a wonderful bookstore in Long Beach, California called Acre of Books, which introduced me to the idea that I could own such books as the Oz books, Nancy Drew, and the rainbow fairytale books. I took the owning one step further and started writing books for myself to read.

-If you could visit your book’s world for a day, what one thing would you do?

I’d certainly spend a day with Bernini. Like May, I’d just watch him work. They said Bernini could chisel marble for eight hours straight without stopping. He himself reported that while working on a sculpture, he was in a state of bliss. I’d like to observe that, though I would need a lunch break! But who knows what would get started by simply observing a charismatic genius. As May discovered, all kinds of delicious complications might arise.

-It’s two in the morning. What does your protagonist reveal in confidence? (Don’t worry, we won’t tell.)

Since I had a scene in my book with my protagonist awake at two a.m. (jetlag) I know what she’d do. Here’s the excerpt: She put on her earbuds so as not to wake the others and opened her tablet. Googling “relationships,” she found a webinar called “Taking Your Intimate Relationship to the Next Level Without Involving Your Partner.” The relationship coach promised: Unleash his instinct for intimacy and a ravishing relationship will be yours! But the relationship mentor hadn’t mentioned living in different centuries.

-Which of your characters would you go out for drinks with?

I’d go for drinks with George St. James, the time travel tour guide who knew everyone in history because of his ability to fold time. Plus, the person George is based on has introduced me to some wonderful drinks, among them Peach Bellinis, Whiskey Sour, and coffee with Frangelico. George is a composite of tour guides I’ve known, some while touring in Italy.

-You’re in a tavern, and a dwarf challenges you to a duel. What do you do?

I’d use my time folding ability as an author and take him and me back to his childhood, to the scene of the event in his life that made him want to pick fights in bars with strangers.. We’d work it through together, and then time travel back to the bar for a do-over, in which we wind up playing a drinking game involving Peach Bellinis and Whiskey Sours.

-Is there a genre you could never write? Which and why?

Horror. I’ve never understood why anyone would want to be horrified. I mean, just why. Also thrillers. I may read them, and stand in awe of authors who can construct them, but they’re so plot- and action-based that I’d lose interest writing one. I always want to know the Why of a character, not as much the What. (See bar encounter with dwarf above.)


Rachel Dacus is a poet, essayist, and novelist who writes about love and relationships, with a touch of the supernatural. Love and history are the themes of her debut novel, The Renaissance Club, a tale of romance between a young art historian and her hero, the fiery 17th century Italian sculptor Gianlorenzo Bernini. Praise for her novel — “enchanting, rich, and romantic” — describes the kinds of love and adventure stories Rachel enjoys, preferably set in exotic places. She has traveled to Italy and India and plans to expand her journeys beyond countries that start with the letter “I”.

She’s the daughter of a bipolar rocket engineer who worked on missiles during the race-to-space 1950’s. He was also an accomplished painter.

Her interest in Italy was ignited by a course in Renaissance art history that culminated in tour of northern Italy. She’s been hooked on Italy ever since. Her essay on Italy, motherhood, and infertility was anthologized in Italy, a Love Story: Women Write About the Italian Experience.

Dacus shows off her versatility in four poetry collections. Her newest is Arabesque. Three other collections are: Gods of Water and Air, Femme au Chapeau, and Earth Lessons. She raises funds for arts, human service, and healthcare organizations and takes walks with her way-too-smart Silky Terrier.

Find her online:



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