A bittersweet yet gentle love story set in Taboga, the Island of the Flowers, from where the Spaniard Francisco Pizarro sailed to the conquest of Peru and Paul Gauguin spent time when working on the French attempt to build the Panama Canal.
In the rough outskirts of Antigua, Guatemala, among the misted mountains and vlcanoes, there is a carved stone that marks the castle of Dona Beatriz, first elected woman governor in the Americas, and wife of Don Pedro Alvarado, Spanish Conquistador and Governor General of Guatemala. If that stone could speak, it would echo in the valley the legend fo La Sin Ventura, the Conquistador's Lady.
Talking softly, Don Pedro undid my buttons and ribbons. I heard his sharp intake of breath.
"Ah. yes...yes," he whispered, and I knew he found me beautiful. "My small fox," he said, and he spanned my waist with his hands. "Are you strong, little one?
Can you be a conquistador's lady?"
"Your lady," I whispered.
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The Photograph Upstairs
A haunting romance blending the glitter and glamor or the Gilded Age with a 20th century love story. The story is set in Newport, Rhode Island, home of those mansions called, in their time, summer cottages. Two women, Minnie Prescott, once mistress of the great house, Prescott Hall, and Anne Wellstone, her great-great-great niece, join hands across a century.
"There now," Aunt Minnie purred. "How lovely you look, dear." She reached for Anne, then pulled back. "I almost forgot. We're not allowed to touch. It's dangerous, you might be caught--our side of time."
"Your side of time?" Anne was puzzled, but wondering, too, how anyone could think she looked lovely. "You'll have to excuse me," she said, brushing at her jeans. "I am sorry, I was in a hurry and ran out to buy some bread, and then stopped here--I didn't know, really, I was coming. That happens to me lately." She glanced down at herself and saw, not jeans, but yards of yellow silk. "What on earth...?"
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Elizabeth Rogers, an elegant blonde and successful art dealer from Boston, arrives on Taboga Island in the Bay of Panama, intent on finding the lost paintings of the painter Paul Gauguin. From her research and from his own journal writings, Elizabeth is certain that Gauguin, suffering from malaria, had painted while hospitalized at the island sanitarium. Rumors on the island circulate about these mysterious hidden paintings. The island is caught up in its past, suffering from poverty and superstition, in a country oppressed by both church and state. The island’s local leader, Marco Rodriguez, cares deeply for his people. Although he has no official title, the islanders know him as the Devil Man—a dark, powerful figure from Panamanian legend. Marco is a third generation Devil Man, having inherited his “stone” from his father. Accepting the “stone,” he has made a pact with the Devil. Embedded in his arm is a small religious artifact known as the Devil Stone. Being a well-educated man, Marco is torn by opposing worlds, and is secretly uncertain of the alleged power of his “stone”. But who would he be without it? This is his terror. When Elizabeth and Marco inevitably meet, their worlds collide; their encounter is fraught with mutual distrust and attraction. A powerful tale of a doomed but irresistible love affair, they take chances, they make promises, and in their union is redemption.