Had I read the blurb, I would have KNOWN that it was meant for me none the less, but something about the neon pile of bodies reached into my brain and demanded to be brought home.
Unfortunately, “brought home” was as far as the demand went. It sat in my literal TBR pile until several says ago, when I pulled it at random and was then unable to put it down again.
The Everlasting follows four separate-but-connected-without-being-trite stories; a biologist in 2017, an illegitimate Medici daughter in 1559, a monk in 897, and a young girl in 165. You will be tempted throughout to ask Wikipedia about these people and the kin that they mention, but DO NOT! This book is deeply researched, and most people mentioned are rooted in both fact and fanciful faith. If you google too far, you will spoil the intricate and glorious connections within.
The book begins with a quote from Shelley (not the badass Mary, but her foppish husband Percy):
Go Thou to Rome, – at once the Paradise,
The grave, the city, and the wilderness.
Each character fits into a time period mentioned above, and each section is a visceral account of Rome and the people within. You will taste the book. You will smell it. You will find yourself writhing in the vines and weather of the city on a hill.
I cannot tell you much more, but I laughed. I cried. I gasped. I clutched at my stomach and ached. I want to live in this novel.