The Last Masterpiece

The Master's Protégé Trilogy Book 3

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
323 Pages
Reviewed on 11/02/2022
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Sarah Stuart for Readers' Favorite

The Last Masterpiece: An Italian Renaissance Tale (The Master’s Protégé Trilogy Book 3) opens with Celeste Gabrielle in Venice to collect her sister Veronica from the convent where she has lived humbly for ten years and take her to her own home in Florence. Veronica appears to have changed from being a promiscuous young girl to a devout woman, but is she the instrument that will bring down her family? Catholic Luciano, Celeste’s beloved husband, sides with the Arrabbiati in opposition to Prior Girolamo Savonarola and his fanatical sacking of the arts to create Florence as the New Jerusalem. Is Veronica the only member of her extended family Celeste should fear? Italy in the fifteenth century is brought to vivid, exciting, gripping life in this historical novel by Eleanor Chance.

I have a passionate interest in art, and I love family sagas, so I opened The Last Masterpiece eagerly. A visitor to Florence, Venice, Rome, and Milan, the ancient and beautiful cities of Italy, I found myself there again, not just admiring them but swept back to late the fifteenth century, living its history. The tragically widowed Celeste is torn between the handsome and godly, and satanic evil men such as Savonarola and Celeste’s beloved Luciano’s eldest son and heir. I hadn’t thought to meet Michelangelo or watch Leonardo da Vinci design helicopters. Can Celeste protect her children? Will anything rekindle her desire to paint? This is a romantic thriller that twists and turns to bring The Master’s Protégé Trilogy to a truly dramatic end.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

Celeste’s sister, Veronica, has been sequestered in a convent for the past ten years as penance for shaming her family. Their brother, Marco, reaches out to Celeste to help him remove Veronica from the convent and reinstate her within the family. But is that the wisest thing to do? Veronica’s former husband claims he’ll kill her if he ever sets eyes on her again. And there are other bad men from Veronica’s past. Will this act of charity on Celeste’s part wreak havoc on her own family? And what about her painting? She is a talented artist, after all, and her works are in considerable demand. Will she be able to reconcile herself with what her sister has done and resume her passion for painting?

Eleanor Chance’s historical fiction novel, The Last Masterpiece: An Italian Renaissance Tale, is the third book in The Master’s Protégé series, bringing the life and times of a brilliant female artist full circle to the completion of what can be defined as her most significant masterpiece. The story itself is a masterpiece, detailing the vibrant artistic circles of the Italian Renaissance. Like passionate historical fiction authors like Tracy Chevalier (Girl with a Pearl Earring), Irving Stone (The Agony and the Ecstasy), and many others, this author will have readers' rapt attention right from the beginning. Although it is the third book in a series, this one can also stand alone, as enough background information is shared to help readers catch up. The author pays considerable attention to detail, both historical and in the arts, making the Renaissance truly come alive. Powerful and passionate.

Maria Victoria Beltran

The Last Masterpiece by award-winning author Eleanor Chance is the third installment of the captivating The Master’s Protégé series. The story takes place in Venice, Florence, Rome, Milan, and New York. It is 1496, and Celeste Gabriele, the wife of Duke Luciano Vicente, a mother, and a revered master artist, leads a happy and privileged life in Florence when she receives a letter from her brother in Venice. He asks her to help remove their rebellious sister Veronica from the convent where she has been relegated for the last ten years. She hastens to Venice and brings her sister back to Florence, where political tension is brewing, instigated by the puritan fanatic Girolamo Savonarola. What follows is a series of events that results in political and personal turmoil that will change her life forever.

Eleanor Chance’s The Last Masterpiece unravels in Renaissance Florence at a time when Savonarola became the moral dictator of the city. Talented, focused, compassionate, and brave, Celeste’s character is admirable. This strong female character should teach other women that they can be whatever they want to be in life. The author’s vivid descriptive literary style and engaging dialogue take us back to the late 15th century. Meticulously researched, the narrative is evocative of past eras with interesting characters like Michelangelo and da Vinci. The Last Masterpiece is also a family saga with its highs and lows over the decades, family secrets, changing relationships, raising children, triumphs, and tragedies. Above all, it’s the story of a woman who works hard to pursue her dreams and desires.