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A formulaic foray into the world of Renaissance Italy, this novel based on the life of painter Fra Filippo Lippi will be lapped up by fans of historical romance. In the year 1457, Lippi, a Carmelite monk in Prato, spots the lovely Lucrezia Buti and wants to use her as a model for his paintings and frescoes. Lucrezia's visits to the painter's bottega are misinterpreted by the convent's corrupt and powerful prior general, with irreparable consequences for the girl. But Lippi and Lucrezia fall in love, and through a series of intrigues involving the disappearance of a relic revered as miraculous by the people of Prato, the painter and his lover are vindicated and can live happily ever after-at least until the hasty last chapter. Albanese (Blue Suburbia) and art historian Morowitz have taken a historical rumor and fashioned it into a saccharine, tidy and satisfying romance. (Feb.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.