Lymond Chronicles, by Dorothy Dunnett. Mario and I are reading them aloud in the evenings, a welcome break from TV, and although I've read them before (some of them multiple times), I'm still getting something new from the stories.
Set in Renaissance-era Europe, literally all over Europe, the stories are swashbuckling high adventure, romance, intrigue and much more. Picture a cross between James Bond and Errol Flynn, with sword fights and scheming villains and all sorts of costumed fun. With detailed plots and dozens of characters, not to mention quotes in every language, they're not an easy read, but that's one more thing I like - I'm a fast reader, so I really appreciate a story that makes me slow down and savor.
To top it off, a friend gave me a bag of clothes recently. She pulled out one piece and said apologetically, "It's not old, but I thought it was pretty." "It" was a black velvet flowered jacket with gold buttons, and "it" is well on its way to making history as several bags inspired by my favorite books. Combined with black and dark red satin, some scraps of gold fabric, a load of vintage trim and some buttons, that not-so-little jacket will end up being at least four bags.
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