Skip to Content
Wagner professors’ historical romance released

NEW YORK, Jan. 27, 2009 — “The Miracles of Prato,” a historical romance novel by Wagner College art history professor Laura Morowitz and English professor Laurie Albanese, was released today for sale. The book is published by William Morrow.
The authors will read from their new novel and autograph copies of the book on Thursday, Feb. 12 at 7 p.m. at Watchung Booksellers, 54 Fairfield St. (Watchung Plaza), Montclair, N.J.

Celebrating the art, passion, and culture of 15th century Italy, “The Miracles of Prato” brings to life the romantic story of the famed painter-monk Fra Filippo Lippi and the beautiful Florentine nun who was to become his muse, lover, and the mother of his children.

The novel opens with a child born in secrecy at the Convent Santa Margherita and taken from his mother by the head of the church’s Augustinian order. The infant’s fate and that of his mother hang in the balance. Yet their story soon extends far beyond the convent, to the greatest power centers of Florence and Rome.

Spiritual and sensual, adventurous and gripping, this epic story takes readers from the quiet cloistered life of Lucrezia Buti to the handsomely appointed chambers of the powerful Cosimo de Medici, from the birthing bed of a privileged Renaissance lady to the healing garden of a wizened midwife, from Fra Lippi’s private struggles to his public humiliations. Atmospheric and scrupulously researched, the novel conjures up a fascinating time and place, building on historical records to create a fictional account of a man so talented that both his patrons and the church patriarchs become pawns in a controversial struggle to keep him and his muse together.

To read a preview written by Laurie Albanese and published in the March 2, 2008 issue of the New York Times, CLICK HERE.

To read an interview with Laura Morowitz and Laurie Albanese about 'The Miracles of Prato' by Staten Island Advance arts editor Michael J. Fressola, published in the Feb. 8 issue of the Advance, CLICK HERE.


LAURA MOROWITZ is an associate professor of art history at Wagner College, New York. She is the author (with Elizabeth Emery) of “Consuming the Past: The Medieval Revival in Fin-de-Siecle France” (Ashgate 2003) and co-editor (with William Vaughan) of “Artistic Brotherhoods in the Nineteenth Century” (Ashgate 2000). She has published numerous articles and reviews in journals including the Art Bulletin, the Oxford Art Journal, Art Criticism, the Journal of the History of Collecting, and the Journal of Popular Film and Television. She loves haunted houses, the study of languages, European history, and pretzels. She currently resides in Verona, New Jersey with her husband and their two daughters. This is her first novel.

LAURIE LICO ALBANESE is the award-winning author of “Lynelle by the Sea” (Dutton 2000, Plume 2001) and “Blue Suburbia: Almost a Memoir” (Perennial 2004), for which she was a Booksense Best Books of the Year, Borders Original Voices, and Entertainment Weekly’s “Editor’s Choice” selection. A former book publicist and a favorite of independent booksellers, she was awarded a 1997-98 New Jersey Council on the Arts Fellowship in fiction, and a Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation grant to attend the Virginia Center for Creative Arts in 2000. Her poetry, short fiction, and journalism pieces have appeared in the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Mothering magazine, and elsewhere. A graduate of New York University, she teaches creative memoir writing and literature at Wagner College in Staten Island, and lives in New Jersey with her family.


“ ‘The Miracles of Prato’ is a time machine, taking the reader back to the height of the Italian Renaissance, revealing a world of childlike innocence and illicit passion, harsh injustice and saintly miracles, and wafting around it all like rare perfume, the creation of art for the glory of God.”
— Eleanor Herman, author of “Mistress of the Vatican”

“Like Fra Filippo’s paintings, this love story, set in one of the most intriguing historical periods, is suffused with clear, warm color and fine attention to detail.”
— Debra Dean, author of “Madonnas of Leningrad”

“With painterly language and writerly skill the authors of ‘The Miracles of Prato’ draw the reader into the lush sensory web of Italian Renaissance color and forbidden love. An age-old story of the triumph of the human heart over rules, money and propriety is set against a backdrop of artistic passion, overwhelming talent and stunning beauty. This is an enchanting story and will carry the reader away.”
— Judith Healey, author of “Canterbury Papers”

“In this richly imagined novel, Laurie Albanese and Laura Morowitz weave fact and fiction into a luminous tapestry. Inspired by the true story of the artist Fra Filippo Lippi and the woman whose beauty inspired his most famous works, ‘The Miracles of Prato’ is a captivating story of artistic vision, dark betrayal, and forbidden yearnings.”
— Christina Baker Kline, author of “The Way Life Should Be”

Back top