FeaturedHistorical Fiction

Shades of Brilliance


Loved it! 😍

The fascinating story of a woman who is an enormously talented artist in the 15th Century, and her struggle to become a recognized artist.

In her own words Eleanor Chance says she looked at Girl with the Pearl Earring and similar stories for her inspiration for this book. And she certainly succeeded ­- in the 15th Century women were definitely not recognized as anything more than social partners, wives and mothers. They were most certainly not recognized as artists and painters so the story of Celeste Gabriele makes for delightful reading as she makes her precarious way out of poverty to fame.

Celeste’s father had disgraced the Gabriele name, leaving his children destitute and Celeste looking after her younger siblings. Taking pity on them, her aunt Portia gets her a job as nanny to young Federigo Bennetto. His mother sends him for art lessons with a famous Venetian artist, Maestro Luciano Vicento. And here Celeste takes in the lessons meant for the little boy. She is rapt and secretly realizes she cannot desert without her art and secretly starts doing charcoal drawings, following his lessons. Inevitably the Maestro comes across her drawings and realizes that here is great talent – and the two fall in love, a love that is impossible as Luciano is married to the difficult Isabella.

In an effort to continue giving lessons to Celeste, Luciano takes her talented brother on as an apprentice and they continue painting in secret. But Celeste finds out that Luciano's wife is bearing another’s baby and decides to tell him. Isabella dies in childbirth, leaving the artists and lovers free to marry. Celeste is finally able to paint – and Luciano decides to put her works on show under her brother’s name – but the scheme is denounced and they face ruin from the wealthy artists’ guilds of Florence, until one of the great art promoters decides he wants to be her patron. Could she be the first woman to be recognized as a great Maestro?

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A journalist in South Africa, I moved to the UK. Assistant Editor of magazines, then into corporate communication. Fellow of IABC Author of Cry of the Rocks, and two romances. Won SA Writers' Circle book awards twice. Numerous reviews.


About the author

Eleanor Chance is an award-winning writer of suspense, thriller, and historical women's fiction, who thrives on crafting tales of everyday superheroes. Her novel, Arms of Grace, is a finalist in consideration for production by Wind Dancer Films and a silver medalist in the Readers' Favorite Awards. view profile

Published on September 25, 2020

110000 words

Genre: Historical Fiction

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