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Dulcinea tells the story of Dolça, the fictional muse behind Don Quixote—a must-read for fans of Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks and The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd.
The daughter of a wealthy Barcelona merchant, young Dolça Llull Prat is besotted with the dashing, bootstrapping Miguel Cervantes from their first meeting. Despite Miguel’s entreaties, the ever-practical Dolça, with her love of luxury and her devotion to her own art, repeatedly refuses to upend her life for him, although she always welcomes his attentions on her own terms. When Miguel renders her as the lowly Dulcinea in his great Quixote, revealing their association, he commits an unforgivable offense and their decades-long affinity is severed—until he reaches out to her one last time.
The roads of Spain are no place for a noblewoman seeking to reunite with her former lover, but Dolça needs to unburden herself of a secret. Disguised as a peasant and accompanied by her trusted nursemaid, Dolça makes the difficult trek, facing bandits, the menacing reach of the Inquisition, and her own misgivings. Will she arrive in time? And if she does, will she be able to tell Miguel what she has concealed from him for so many years?
A richly imagined heroine, Dolça leaps from these pages as a woman of flesh and blood, one committed to both duty and desire. Dulcinea explores the choices we make in life, the regrets we harbor, and the courage we find to make amends.