If meditation is time travel, then I have been there with Leonardo and Sandro and Lisa. I brushed against their cloaks of country-rough sackcloth or city-thick velvet trimmed in fur, and run my fingers over the heavy embroidered stuff of their Sunday best. I’ve worn a wedding gown of stiff pearl-encrusted silk.
‘PEARL by PEARL’ – the past-life memories of a renaissance woman. A woman savant must experience her next life as a time-traveler to recover the missing paintings of Leonardo da Vinci and reunite with her lost love. Delphi Sharpe’s flashbacks of fifteenth-century Florence had been as real as the harsh institutions where she grew up, diagnosed as an autistic savant. After being liberated by a ruthless art collector, due to her psychic ability to speak with paintings, she lived in two worlds: an alternate reality where renaissance paintings communicated with her through mental telepathy, and the real world where she worked authenticating and restoring paintings. When Delphi meets her next life, time-traveler Cherry White, after an untimely near-death experience, she’s been ‘nearly’ dead for fifty-two years. Now, Delphi exists between worlds, forced to watch the life she should have had unfold, including her romance with a young man she met in a five-hundred year-old painting. Reincarnated, reinvented, and unfinished, two ‘art-whisperers’ must struggle against their conflicting goals to mine the distant past for sentient paintings willing to divulge their secrets to discover their shared lost identity and answer the question, will it take two lives to make one woman? ‘Pearl by Pearl’ is the conclusion of ‘The Indigo Pearl,’ a story of a thousand secrets locked in the amber of history, beyond artificial intelligence and beyond evolution itself which takes an autistic savant child, an insignificant orphan, on an extraordinary journey of reincarnation and time-travel.
‘THE INDIGO PEARL’- once upon a time, a child shines. A woman savant must experience her next life as a time-traveler to recover the missing paintings of Leonardo da Vinci and reunite with her lost love. Delphi Sharpe, orphaned at birth and diagnosed as an autistic savant, has the psychic ability to speak with paintings. At the age of fourteen, fated to live out her days in an institution, her uncanny gift catches the attention of a ruthless art collector who liberates her. Housed in luxury, the teenage Delphi continues to grow up in two worlds: an alternate reality where renaissance paintings communicate through mental telepathy, and the real world where she works authenticating and restoring paintings. Isolated and misunderstood, Delphi retreats further into her eccentricities and falls in love with a young man she meets in a five-hundred-year-old portrait. Fifty years after a freak accident she reincarnates as a time-traveler. Now she must battle herself to reunite with her lover. ‘The Indigo Pearl’ is volume one (of two) – a story of a thousand secrets locked in the amber of history, beyond artificial intelligence and beyond evolution itself which takes an autistic savant child from an insignificant orphan through an extraordinary journey of reincarnation and time-travel. The story concludes in ‘Pearl by Pearl,’ the continuing afterlife, past-life, and future life of two women with the same memories rivaling for the ghostly lover they now share.
Lisabetta, invisible to all but Jupiter, must convince Veronica of her existence through the eyes of her son. Veronica resists the voice of Lisabetta she can hear, thinking she’s losing her mind. When the two women make contact, Lisabetta dictates her life history to Veronica in the hopes that the work may inspire academic recognition for her years as Leonardo’s care-giver. Since Leonardo presents many overlapping symptoms of high-functioning autism, Lisabetta is able to relate to Jupiter and his expanded levels of vision and intellect.
Book two chronicles Lisabetta’s and Leonardo’s middle years of painting and traveling in the course of following commissions and oftentimes escaping debt, as well as Leonardo’s troubles with devastating accusations of social disgrace and heresy.
It also provides insight to the modern day protagonist’s story, as new incidents seem to parallel the past in uncanny ways. Characters from both centuries appear, mirroring similar life challenges, triggering emotional responses from both women, and an emerging rivalry for the affections of the same man threaten to disrupt the ‘Lisa project,’ and further alienate them from their friendship and goals.
Lisabetta’s talent and penchant for business expands as she grows into womanhood. She learns the art trade and tends to Leonardo, already an eccentric and erratic artist at eighteen. As an painter in her own right, and being socially ignored as an insignificant woman in a patriarchal society, she is now both agent and manager of Leonardo’s own studio. However, being an ‘invisible’ member of the artist’s guild and her low-profile in the busy ‘art factory’ studios, makes her better-placed to hear the dealings within the art community that enable her to propel her brother to fame.
Book one chronicles the childhood of Leonardo and Lisabetta, to the early years when they open their own art studio. The inseparable siblings are born of Caterina, another ‘invisible’ woman erased from the historical record.
A daughter of the notary class, Caterina, is reduced to peasant status after she and her lover, the young lawyer Piero da Vinci, produce their first lovechild out of wedlock, Leonardo da Vinci. Leonardo is six years old when Lisabetta is born and the two bond instantly, not knowing they are full brother and sister within a household of their half-siblings.
Leonardo carries his father’s name as he remains the only heir to the da Vinci clan, and another forbidden tryst conceives Lisabetta, Caterina’s and Piero’s second child to be brought up on a subsistence farm to protect Piero’s reputation. Leonardo is kept at a distance and Lisabetta is estranged from her biological father, adopted under the auspices of a contrived peasant marriage. The Buti’s crude cottage is the setting for two childhoods that promise lives of poverty and obscurity.
Leonardo, having the advantage of an acknowledged link to a prestigious family, is sent to Florence to learn a trade, but even with some degree of privilege he is illegitimate, and thus the rules of the notary guild declares him ineligible from becoming a lawyer in the da Vinci’s family business.
Leonardo becomes the star prodigy apprentice of the master, Andrea Verrocchio, and trains his sister on visits to the Buti homestead until the twelve-year-old Lisabetta is ready to be his junior assistant.
In the present century, the restless spirit of Lisabetta remains trapped in her famous portrait. She enlists a single-parent mother, Veronica Lyons, and Jupiter, her autistic six-year-old son, visiting the Louvre, to restore her identity. In exchange, Lisabetta vows to help the boy and his mother find their own place in a society that has rejected them. Through an ingenious plan, the spirit of Lisabetta is able to leave the Louvre with them and return to their home in North America.