The Clay Lady

Original title: La Dame d’argile

Publication Date:

June 2021



Original language and publisher

Territories Handled

Worldwide excl. French

Territories Sold

Italy (Casa Editrice Nord)


Literary Fiction

The Clay Lady

Original title: La Dame d’argile


Sabrina, a young art restorer at the Fine Arts Museum in Brussels, inherits a remarkably beautiful clay bust of a woman from her grandmother. Her curiosity piqued, she starts to see more of Pierre – an Italian renaissance specialist and former lover – for help in identifying the sculpture’s provenance and the identity of the mysterious artist who made it. 

In economically ravaged post-war Italy, Angela, a young woman from a poor family, is preparing to go into exile. She is leaving to be with her new husband, who left Italy to go work in a Belgian coal mine. In her small bags, she packs nothing but a few items of clothing and, hidden amongst them, a bust that used to belong to her mother – the only souvenir she takes as she travels into the unknown. 

In the late 14th century, Costanza Marsiato, the daughter of a master potter in Impruneta, a small town near Florence, dreams of freeing herself from the role assigned to her as a woman. Despite the prohibitions and taboos, Costanza still dreams of becoming a famous artist. She moves to Florence with little more than the clothes on her back, and a small terracotta Madonna she has made, inspired by the great masters. 

In 1472, Simonetta Cattaneo bids farewell to her family estate in Portovenere. At age 15, her parents are marrying her off to Marco Vespucci, the son of an influential Florentine family. Simonetta’s peerless beauty will soon turn her into both an artists’ muse and a powerful, coveted woman. But will that be enough to make her happy? 

Christiana Moreau leads us on a journey of self-discovery through different eras, interweaving the lives of four women whose lives and fates, though very different, are linked through a forgotten work of art. Four women who, to live freely, will have to liberate themselves from men’s desires. 

Christiana Moreau is a self-taught Belgian artist, painter and sculptor. She lives in Seraing, in the province of Liège, Belgium. La Dame d’argile is her third novel, after La Sonate oubliée (The Forgotten Sonata) and Cachemire rouge (Red Cashmere).

Marketing Information

  • The author’s third novel at Préludes, after the success of the preceding ones, which sold 15,000 copies.
  • Under option in Spain, Poland

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