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EXCERPT: Turning the World to Stone

History is full of playerswe hear about, and yet they often seem so unpalatable. These are the controversial figures; the "anti-heroes" many of us have read of in Sophomore English Literature classes or heard about on the evening news. I'm thinking of the Neros, Antonys, Caesars, Cleopatras, Mata Haris, Pattons, and Caterina Sforzas.

WHO? Who was that last one?

Caterina Sforza--a notable Italian noblewoman of the 15th century. She, like most of the others I mentioned, should not always be judged by today's standards. So many things were different in her worlds. 15th century Italy was far from being the Italy of today. Warring factions snapping against the Pope himself, as well as each other, made the Rennaissance a terrifying and war-like place, that it's impossible to imagine it in today's world. As a woman, Sforza would have had to play her cards ruthlessly, just to survive. It was a man's world, a violent stage of executions, attempted poisonings, and tortures.

Whenever examining history, it's so integral to look at it from the standpoint of the culture, political scene, and ideals of the day. Authors of historical fiction have a passion for this--me included! And I'll also state that some of these controversial people are the most enjoyable to flesh-out. This week, I'm delighted to welcome Kelly Evans to Brook's Journal, as she shares a brief snippet from her book on the life of Caterina Sforza--Turning the World to Stone.

Enjoy and READ ON!!!

Turning the World to Stone

By Kelly Evans

“And the conspirators? What of them?” Luisa asked.

“Archbishop Salviati was hanged from the window of the Signoria for all in the palazzo below to see.”

Caterina had now recovered from her initial shock. “But the count. What proof is there of his involvement?”

“Just before he was hanged from the same window as Salviati, Francesco Pazzi revealed the whole plot, complete with dates and times of meetings and the name of everyone involved, including his own uncle.”

Shuddering as she imagined not one but two decaying bodies hanging in Florence’s main palazzo, Caterina’s lips grew thin. “And this uncle? Jacobo?”

“He has fled the city and remains in hiding. There are many in Florence who want him found and brought to justice, I’m certain it’s only a matter of time before the lure of gold makes someone betray the man.”

Caterina sank into her chair, suddenly exhausted. So it was true, all of it. She’d seen the meetings, witnessed Francesco Pazzi here, under her very roof. What she thought was papal business turned out to be so much more that it made her feel ill. And Caterina had not said a word. About the meetings and how often she saw Francesco leaving with Girolamo, patting each other on the back and laughing. Why would she? She had no idea what they spoke about.

“What do I do? How can I bear it?” She rose and began pacing around the library. “What will people think of me?”

This time she’d asked a question neither of her closest advisors could answer.

All About the Book

Vilified by history, Caterina Sforza learned early that her life was not her own. Married at age ten, she was a pawn in the ever-changing political environment of Renaissance Italy.

Resigned to her life as a fifteenth-century wife, Caterina adapted to the role she was expected to play: raising and educating her children, helping the poor in her new home, and turning a blind eye to her husband’s increasingly shameful behaviour. But Fate had other plans for her, and soon Caterina’s path would be plagued by murder, betrayal, and heartbreak.

“Could I write all, the world would turn to stone.”

All About Kelly

Born in Canada of Scottish extraction, Kelly Evans graduated in History and English then moved to England where she worked in the financial sector. While in London Kelly continued her studies in history, concentrating on Medieval History, and travelled extensively through Eastern and Western Europe.

Kelly is now back in Canada with her husband Max and a rescue cat. She writes full-time, focussing on illuminating little-known women in history with fascinating stories. When not working on her novels, Kelly writes Described Video scripts for visually impaired individuals, plays oboe, and enjoys old sci-fi movies.

Connect with Kelly


This title is available to read on #KindleUnlimited.

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1 Comment

Cathie Dunn
Cathie Dunn
Jul 06, 2023

Thank you for hosting Kelly Evans today, with such an intriguing excerpt from her new novel.

Cathie xo

The Coffee Pot Book Club

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