To celebrate the arrival of May, VERONA ALONE and VERONA AGAIN will be free to download on 30 April and 1 May, so you can get in a holiday mood.
May is traditionally the time when spring returns – and it is also the month of the Virgin Mary, when Roman Catholics sing hymns to the Virgin which are only sung in that month.
In ancient Rome, May was a month in which agriculture and the flourishing of crops was at the forefront of everyone’s minds. It is thought that the pagan festival the Romans shared with the ancient Egyptians and the pagans in the Northern hemisphere formed the origins of May Day, which is now marked as Labour Day in many countries, including Italy and the UK.
In ancient Rome, the start of May was marked with a five-day festival dedicated to Flora, the Roman goddess of flowers. The Festival of Flora, or Floralia, celebrated fertility as well as vegetation and flowers – the goddess was one of just 15 gods and goddesses to have her own high priest paid for by the Roman state, showing just how important she was. It was Julius Caesar who declared an official Festival of Flora, and the entertainments would have included theatre shows and acrobats, games at the Circo Maximo – as well as wearing garlands of flowers and scattering seeds to ensure the new harvest.
The Roman Festival was held from 27 April to 3 May, during which time a temple was built to the goddess and a sacrifice made.
The nymph Flora became a goddess after she was taken by force by the God of the West Wind, Flavonius, who married her and bequeathed his dominions to her.
Flora is also a protector of crops – and can prevent fungal infections in plants, or so the ancient Romans believed. And you will always know when Flora is near because she is surrounded by a divine fragrance.
May was, however, regardless of what you believe, a really good excuse for a party in ancient Rome. As the ancient poet Ovid wrote in his poems to Floralia “…Sparge, precor, donis pectora nostra tuis” – “I pray you, strew your gifts upon my chest.” Surely one of the most original chat up lines ever.
Want to head off to Italy now?
VERONA ALONE and VERONA AGAIN are FREE to download on 30 April and 1 May!
In VERONA ALONE, newly divorced former cellist Moira decides to fulfil a girlhood dream of visiting Verona during the summer opera season. There she is taken under the wing of a quirky and generous American who appears to have a secret, which is only discovered when she finds herself all at sea with him. VERONA AGAIN sees three couples fight to save their relations – who will succeed, who will fail and who will lose the love of their life?
Download VERONA ALONE
Download VERONA AGAIN
This May, it will also be three years since ROME ALONE – the first book in the series – was published on Kindle.
Download ROME ALONE and ROME AGAIN free at Kindle Unlimited or for £2.40 each.
Set off to the Eternal City for a weekend of surprises in ROME ALONE, as unhappy housewife Bee and newly-divorced Alzheimer’s expert Dr Neil McCarthy leave from opposite ends of the country for a mini-break full of the unexpected that will change their lives forever, as they make their way round the sites of ancient Rome. Return to Rome with them three years later in ROME AGAIN and discover the forces at work which they never suspected on their first trip.
Download ROME ALONE
Download ROME AGAIN
All books contain adult themes, dark humour and sexual content.
Main image: Piazza Bra, Verona
Images copyright A.Meredith 2018