Sunday, December 8, 2019

Love That Moves the Sun by Linda Cardillo: Vittoria Colonna and Michelangelo

The story of a poetess and one of history's greatest artists, Love That Moves the Sun by Linda Cardillo drew me into an age I knew little about--16th c Italy.

Vittoria Colonna left her family as a girl to live with the family of her betrothed, a politically advantageous arrangement. Vittoria flourished under her future mother-in-law's education, finding in Costanza's large library books that "lit a fire, a conflagration that burns in me to this day." And she and Ferranti's childhood friendship blossoms into passionate love.

Ferranti was raised to be a warrior and spent most of their married life fighting in the continual wars as alliances shifted between kingdoms, the Pope, and the Holy Roman Emperor. Vittoria enjoyed the freedom this allowed her while agonizing over the growing distance between her and her beloved husband.

After Ferrante's death, Vittoria retreated from the world, nursing her grief and growing her faith rooted in the Catholic Reformation. When her poetry was shared with the world, she became doubly famous as the finest poet since Petrarch and as the virtuous widow who gave up worldly pleasures and stellar marriage opportunities.

When she meets Michelangelo they become soul mates, their relationship deepening as they commune over how art fuels faith. As the artist works on The Last Judgement mural in the Sistine Chapel, Vittoria writes a volume of poetry for him.

I have no army. I have no ambassadors. I have no weapons other than my pen and my brain.~ from Love That Moves the Sun by Linda Cardillo
Vittoria wrote deeply felt poems, confessional and passionate, never meant for public distribution. Influenced by the Reformation, Vittoria's theology challenged the status quo of the Catholic church.

Although rooted in history, Vittoria's story touches on eternal themes: The position, power, and struggle for self-determination of women of intelligence and ability; Vittoria's progressive atittude toward personal faith that challenged authority; and the timeless anguish of women whose beloved husbands and sons go to war.

His home was elsewhere now, in the company of his fellow soldiers, and defined by his sword, his armor and his horse.~ from Love That Moves the Sun by Linda Cardillo  

I learned much about Italy's history and the cycle of shifting power that fueled endless war as well as the history of Catholicism during a time when John Calvin and others were fomenting the Protestant Reformation.

I was given access to a free egalley by the publisher through NetGalley. My review is fair and unbiased.

Love That Moves the Sun
The passionate bond between Renaissance poet Vittoria Colonna and famed artist Michelangelo
by Linda Cardillo
Pub Date 12 Dec 2018 
ISBN 9781942209553
PRICE $5.99 (USD)

Sample of Vittoria's poetry found at

VITTORIA COLONNA, on the death of her husband, the Marchese di Pescara, retired to her castle at Ischia (Inarimé), and there wrote the Ode upon his death, which gained her the title of Divine.

Once more, once more, Inarimé,
  I see thy purple hills!--once more
I hear the billows of the bay
  Wash the white pebbles on thy shore.

High o'er the sea-surge and the sands,
  Like a great galleon wrecked and cast
Ashore by storms, thy castle stands,
  A mouldering landmark of the Past.

Upon its terrace-walk I see
  A phantom gliding to and fro;
It is Colonna,--it is she
  Who lived and loved so long ago.

Pescara's beautiful young wife,
  The type of perfect womanhood,
Whose life was love, the life of life,
  That time and change and death withstood.

For death, that breaks the marriage band
  In others, only closer pressed
The wedding-ring upon her hand
  And closer locked and barred her breast.

She knew the life-long martyrdom,
  The weariness, the endless pain
Of waiting for some one to come
  Who nevermore would come again.

The shadows of the chestnut trees,
  The odor of the orange blooms,
The song of birds, and, more than these,
  The silence of deserted rooms;

The respiration of the sea,
  The soft caresses of the air,
All things in nature seemed to be
  But ministers of her despair;

Till the o'erburdened heart, so long
  Imprisoned in itself, found vent
And voice in one impassioned song
  Of inconsolable lament.

Then as the sun, though hidden from sight,
  Transmutes to gold the leaden mist,
Her life was interfused with light,
  From realms that, though unseen, exist,

Inarimé!  Inarimé!
  Thy castle on the crags above
In dust shall crumble and decay,
  But not the memory of her love.

Image result for vittoria colonna
Sketch of Vittoria Colonna by Michelangelo

See the trailer at

Read an interview with the author at Book Club Babble

“. . . a sweeping historical epic and a sensitively observed exploration of the passionate friendship between Colonna and Michelangelo . . . .  While Colonna and Michelangelo’s friendship forms the emotional center of the novel, the poet’s story and her journey as a woman and a writer are dynamic and multilayered. . . . A stirring and emotionally resonant portrait of a pivotal relationship in the life of Michelangelo.” – Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Helen Korngold Diary: December 1-7, 1919

Helen Korngold, Dec. 1919, New York City
Helen is enjoying her teaching position at Wellston. Her love of the children shines through.

Monday 1
School again – I feel good –check came in to-day. If Ward would stop making eyes at me – I’d feel better.

Tuesday 2
The girls are darling. Louise is a little doll – so is Virginia & Adel. The girls are all very sweet. The boys are interesting.

Wednesday 3
School again. Same as ever.

Thursday 4
If Arthur S. Kelly would only stop being to cute, I might be able to keep from kissing him – He’s so cute & fab.

Friday 5
I like Fri. It means a good time on Saturday. Herbert Pawlinger came to town. He is darling.

Sunday 7
Taught school. This is all so funny. Leo Rosen & the Meyer boys, Jesse & Henry are dears. All the girls are nice.


Dec 4

Arthur S. Kelley appears in the 1910 St. Louis Census as three years old and living with parents James W., age 43 and a farm laborer, Martha, 30, and siblings Bessie, Jessie, Hosa and Dessie.

Dec. 5
Herbert Pawlinger visited earlier in the year on April 13.

Herbert Lincoln Pawliger (2/121894 to 11/1967) lived with his family at 1915 Broadway in New York City.

His WWI Draft Registration shows he was of medium height and build with brown hair and eyes. He was a clothing salesman for Jay Tee Frocks.

On the 1910 New York Census was 16 and living with his family Max, 48 born in 1882, and a manufacturer of furs; Nettie, 40, born in 1883; Arthur, 19 and a salesman; and Ruth E. age 14 and born in 1895.

On the 1920 New York Census, he was in commercial sales, living with his parents and Arthur, a photographer, and Ruth who was a clerk at Standard Oil.

On the 1925 New York City Census he was living with his family: father Max Pawliger, who was a fur merchant in the company of Pawliger and Staubsinger; mother Nettie; and siblings Arthur and Ruth E.

Hebert’s WWII Draft registration shows he worked at Jay-Tee Frocks and was married to Minna. They had a child Winifred.

In December Helen and her parents and at least one sister visited the Pawlings in New York City in December at the invitation of Ruth Pawling.

Dec 7

Leo Rosen graduated from Washington University and appears in the 1927 Hatchet. He was on the debating team and had won sophomore honors. Leo was born in 1906 and died in 1991. Leo was a WWII veteran. The 1920 St. Louis Census shows Leo Rosen, student, living with his parents Paul and Ida Rosen and sibling Melvin. They also had a servant. Paul was a ready-to-wear wholesaler.  Leo married Diana Aronson and they had children Harold and Elinor. The 1940 St. Louis Census Leo shows was an insurance salesman.

Jesse and Henry R. Meyer appear in the 1920 St. Louis Census. Jesse was age 11 and Henry 13. They lived with Nancy W. Meyer, age 52 and a labeler in a cereal company, and siblings James R., Andrew who worked as a “stirrer” and Thomas who was a farm laborer. The 1925 Kansas State Census shows Henry R. aged 18 as head of the household, N.J. his mother aged 58, and James and Jessie.
In the News:

A note in the Dec. 4, 1919, The Jewish Voice showed a talk on George Elliott, Friend of Humanity at United Hebrew Temple.

The Jewish Voice had been running articles on the Ukranian pogroms and on Dec. 4 announced a protest mass meeting.




The newspaper also printed an article about one man's heartlessness.

One letter in reaction stated,

There is also an article showing that 250,000 Jews served in WWI.

A Dec. 7, 1919 article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch endeavored to calm fears that President Wilson was secretly paralyzed.

The Lincoln Monument in Washington, D. C. was nearing completion.

Christmas ads from the Dec. 7, 1919, St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
A very Gatsby ad:
The men needed a tie with those shirts.
For the ladies, you could get a fur coat.
Or, get her warm underwear.
You can't enjoy Christmas with the kiddies without booze.
For the kiddies:
I love the airplane in this ad!
'Moderately' priced player pianos were advertised:
That player piano adjusted for inflation:
Adjusted for inflation, $485.00 in 1919 is equal to $7,384.73 in 2019.
Annual inflation over this period was 2.76%.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Labyrinth of Ice: The Triumphant and Tragic Greely Polar Expedition by Buddy Levy

In 1881, American Lt. A. W. Greely and a team of scientists went on a journey to pass the record of reaching furthest North. Buddy Levy's new book Labyrinth of Ice takes readers on their journey of glory and horror. The men accomplished their mission of reaching furthest North and contributing important scientific data. They were also stranded over two winters with dwindling supplies.

Anyone who knows me or follows my book reviews will know that I am a life-long fan of Polar expedition literature. It started with reading The Great White South by Herbert Ponting when I was eleven years old. I read and reread the tattered, discarded library book  about the failed Scott Expedition to the South Pole. Scott and his team were such romantic, tragic heroes.

In recent years I have enjoyed the opportunity to continue reading outstanding books sharing the tales of Arctic and Antarctic expeditions, an armchair adventurer. Before the astronauts and space exploration, men of courage and vision took on the vast frozen spaces of ice, seeking fame, glory, short-cut passages, and scientific knowledge. They were the heroes of their day.

Labyrinth of Ice was a bone-chilling read. I felt I knew these men and suffered with them. The bravery and selflessness of some were offset by a self-seeking thief. Madness and despair were found alongside clear-thinking and innovative thinkers. When their supply and rescue ships failed to arrive, Greely struggled to keep the team disciplined, in good spirits--and alive as they suffered life-threatening conditions and starvation. Lady Greely, extremely self-educated in Arctic literature, pressured the government to send out rescue ships.

Eleven men had died before they were finally found. Public opinion turned from adulation to revulsion when rumors of cannibalism circulated the newspapers. The survivors went on to illustrious careers.

I was given access to a free ebook by the publisher through NetGalley. My review is fair and unbiased.

Labyrinth of Ice: The Triumphant and Tragic Greely Polar Expedition
by Buddy Levy
St. Martin's Press
Pub Date 03 Dec 2019
ISBN: 9781250182197
hardcover $29.99 (USD)

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Helen Korngold Diary: November 24-30, 1919

Helen Korngold, Dec. 1919, New York City
My sharing Helen's 1919 diary this year is coming to the last month. An exciting trip is in Helen's future--and a family crisis.

Monday 24
School. Kids didn’t know anything.

Tuesday 25
School. Heard Mr. Drinkwater the author of “Abraham Lincoln”. He was wonderful.

Wednesday 26
School as usual. That Willie Gastreich is a case all by himself. Had a little celebration.

Thursday 27
Football game. Washington won. 7-0 against St Louis. Si took me. He was pretty good. Came home – Ariel, Minnie Aberson & Zel Priwer came to dinner. We had a very good time. Retired at 12 bells.

Friday 28
Vacation – Girls went home about 11 o’clock. Organ grinder played, opera – fine. Didn’t feel well. Rested.

Saturday 29
Went downtown today.

Sunday 30
Taught Sunday School – It’s a pipe dream.

November  25

John Drinkwater spoke on “The Nature of Drama.” He was the author of Abraham Lincoln, his first smash play with 466 performances. It was playing at the Cort Theater on 48th St. when Helen visited New York City in December.

The play is found at

An article on the play with photos is found at
St Louis Post-Dispatch, Dec. 1, 1919
Nov  26
Willie Gastreich may be the William E. Gastreich born in 1907 to parents Emma and Albert, and who died in St. Louis in 1966. Another William Gastreich (born 1892) appears in the records, son of John and Emma, and whose WWI Draft Registration shows he was a laborer. This William married Lillian Guth.

Nov 27

The football game was BIG news! Helen went with Si Russack.


Minnie Aberson was born around 1898 and died in 1995. Minnie appears in the 1910 St. Louis Census with her family. Her father Philip was 36 years old, an immigrant from Russia in 1892 and naturalized in 1900, and a designer tailor. Her mother was Hattie, 27 years old, and she had sibling Hillard.

In 1920 Minnie is married to Louis M. Gelber. They lived with Minnie's family including her uncle Joseph Shapiro and grandmother Matilda Shapiro and siblings Mrytle, Zelda, Hillard, and Leo.

The 1907 Gould’s Blue Book for St. Louis City has an ad showing “Phil. Aberson, Tailor & Draper’ in the Victoria Building on Olive St.

Zel (Zelda) Priver was Helen’s cousin (daughter of Lena Frey). She attended Harris Teacher’s College with Helen’s sister Otila, and is in a photograph of the 1925 class and the reunion held in 1950.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving!

This year I have been sharing from Poems for the Very Young Child, compiled by Dolores Knippel and illustrated by Mary Ellsworth, published by Whitman in 1932. Here are the November and Thanksgiving poems from the book.

Wishing you many Thanksgiving Day blessings!
No photo description available.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Quilts, TBR, News

I am busy working on quilts and reading my review books--but not preparing for Thanksgiving because our son and his girlfriend are hosting their families! 
Here is my quilt April Showers Brings May Flowers at my quilt group show and tell.
After six years, all my Wizard of Oz blocks are designed, embroidered, and set in a quilt top! I worked hard on the first designs, sketching, and resketching Dorothy and her friends and the witches. Then we moved, Seeing the Riley Blake Dorothy's Journey fabric spurred me to come up with some more blocks and finish this top! 

I have my Hospital Sketches blocks sewn together and am working on a border.

I made grand-pup Ellie a wardrobe of scarfs that slip over her collar. Also a fleece coat. We had an early snow before Halloween that lasted a week. Ellie loved it! Now we are scrambling to clean the gutters and mulch the leaves.
Ellie with her collar scarf in the October snow

We went to Orchestra Hall to hear a concert with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Maestro Leonard Slatkin directed Pictures At An Exhibition and a piece commissioned for his 75th birthday, Another Time composed by Mohammed Fairouz, based on poems by W. H. Auden and sung by Miles Mykkanen. We heard Fairouz's  Cello Concerto Desert Sorrows when it premiered with the DSO several years ago. The concert began with Rossini's Roman Carnival Overture and an encore of a Russian sailor's dance started and ended the concert.
We also bought tickets to see the Swingel Singers in a Christmas Concert.


I was thrilled to notice that I am now an Amazon Top 1000 Reviewer! Whoo-hoo!

I found a note written to me by my grandfather dated right after I started college. "Write Write Write!" he advised.

I have been listening to the upcoming audiobook of Romalyn Tighlman's novel To The Stars Through Difficulties, which I reviewed here. I am so enjoying the audiobook and revisiting Romayln's wonderful story.

Several more egalleys have been added to my virtual shelf:

  • Fannie Lou Hamer by Maegan Parker Brooks, a biography of the Civil Rights heroine
  • The Cadottes: A Fur Trade Family on Lake Superior by Robert Silbernagel
  • The Girl in White Gloves by Keri Maher, historical fiction about Grace Kelley
  • Frida in America by Celia Stahr about Frida Kahol
  • The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner
  • Miss Austen by Gil Hornby

Still to be read are

  • The Great Unknown by Peg Kingman
  • A Good Neighborhood by Theresa Ann Fowler

Next up on my reading list is ARC

  • Eden Mine by S. M. Hulse

Also coming is ARC

  • Rachel Maddow: A Biography by Lisa Rogak

Today begins a week of work in the house--we are replacing forty-year-old vinyl flooring in the entryways with porcelain tile and then installing new carpet!
Before grouting...

The carpet is fifteen years old--and maroon! We will replace it with a lighter, neutral "sand" color, as seen in the computer-generated visualizer pic below.

There will be a lot of rearranging of furniture to come. I already moved the piano from the living room into my office.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Poems for the Very Young Child: Thanksgiving

This year I have been sharing from Poems for the Very Young Child compiled by Dolores Knippel and illustrated by Mary Ellsworth and published by Whitman Publishing Co, 1932.

Here are Thanksgiving poems from the book.