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From critically acclaimed historical novelist Diane Haeger comes The Ruby Ring, an unforgettable story of love, loss, and immortal genius . . .

Rome, 1520. The Eternal City is in mourning. Raphael Sanzio, beloved painter and national hero, has died suddenly at the height of his fame. His body lies in state at the splendid marble Pantheon. At the nearby convent of Sant’Apollonia, a young woman comes to the Mother Superior, seeking refuge. She is Margherita Luti, a baker’s daughter from a humble neighborhood on the Tiber, now an outcast from Roman society, persecuted by powerful enemies within the Vatican. Margherita was Raphael’s beloved and appeared as the Madonna in many of his paintings. Theirs was a love for the ages. But now that Raphael is gone, the convent is her only hope of finding an honest and peaceful life.

The Mother Superior agrees to admit Margherita to their order. But first, she must give up the ruby ring she wears on her left hand, the ring she had worn in Raphael’s scandalous nude “engagement portrait.” The ring has a storied past, and it must be returned to the Church or Margherita will be cast out into the streets. Behind the quiet walls of the convent, Margherita makes her decision . . . and remembers her life with Raphael—and the love and torment—embodied in that one precious jewel.

In The Ruby Ring, Diane Haeger brings to life a love affair so passionate that it remains undimmed by time. Set in the sumptuous world of the Italian Renaissance, it’s the story of the clergymen, artists, rakes, and noblemen who made Raphael and Margherita’s world the most dynamic and decadent era in European history.
As she enters the Commencement Ball at West Point Military Academy on a spring evening in 1837, in her pink gown with white silk roses and ropes of pearls, Cecelia Stovall looks---and feels---like the perfect, innocent Southern belle. Little does she know that at that dance she will meet the man who will change her life---and the lives of all her fellow Southerners---forever. Cecelia falls instantly in love with the dashing young Northern cadet, William Tecumseh Sherman, and they embark on a fiery, secret rendezvous despite their broad cultural differences and the expectation that they will marry others. Their love remains poignantly aflame and survives the worst obstacles over years of separation and longing. And then the long-threatened Civil War starts, and both Cecelia and William assume prominent positions on opposite sides of their country's deepest and fiercest rift, as William becomes the very same General Sherman who will be feared and hated throughout the South.

Legend has it that Sherman's love for Cecelia was the reason he spared her hometown of Augusta during his infamous march to the sea, in which his troops cut a swath through nearly every other town in Georgia and burned Atlanta to the ground. Now Diane Haeger, the author of the acclaimed The Secret Wife of King George IV, has re-created this lost romance in a sweeping and lyrical novel that will be treasured by the history enthusiast---and hopeless romantic---in everyone. A multilayered historical saga spanning a quarter-century, Diane Haeger's My Dearest Cecelia is an epic novel of star-crossed lovers Cecelia Stovall and General William T. Sherman---a romance for the history books.

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