Hope and Life Press is pleased to announce the release of the first book in our Melitensia category with The Jeweler’s Polish, written by the Iowa novelist, poet, teacher, and homeschooler Marie Ann Dean. The Jeweler’s Polish is a Catholic historical fiction novel set primarily in the small Mediterranean island of Malta at the time of the Knights Hospitaller or the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem. Containing a near-gothic narrative that includes knightly orders, Masons, Illuminati, conspiracies, curses, mysterious jewels, apparitions of spirits, poisoners, gender dysphoria, the evil eye, and incest, The Jeweler’s Polish presents to readers the 21st century young Englishwoman, Emerald Rohan Grady, and her ancestral namesake, the Lady Emerald Esther Maria de Rohan, niece of the kindly but corrupt Grandmaster Emmanuel de Rohan-Polduc.
But who, in reality, was Lady Emerald? Who was Lucas de Pinto? What made Captain Azzopardi meet his men in secret, at nighttime, in the historical city of Valletta? Who betrayed the kingdom of God and worked for the kingdom of Man? Why did Lady Emerald have to meet Pope Pius VI in Rome? How were the Jesuits and the Masons involved? Above all, who was the Repentant? The Jeweler’s Polish is available in paperback and ebook editions from Amazon worldwide, Hope and Life Press, and other major booksellers.
“Malta is a fascinating, yet somewhat mysterious, island nation known throughout history as the home of the famous, but somehow also mysterious, Knights. In The Jeweler’s Polish, accomplished author Marie Ann Dean brings us on one woman’s fascinating voyage of self-discovery to Malta. Dean adroitly weaves together the tale of that woman’s journey with events in the lives of historical figures connected with the Knights in Malta and elsewhere. As her prose portrays transformations in her characters, the reader is also brought to contemplate profound, yet very simple truths. You will enjoy The Jeweler’s Polish” – Monsignor Richard Soseman, J.C.L., Official of the Congregation for the Clergy, Vatican City State.
“From the start of the story, Marie Ann Dean draws the reader into an historical mystery that will capture the imagination. She does a masterful job of tying the past history of the Church and of Europe to current times. The heroines, Emerald both of old and of new, guide the reader through an exciting adventure that falls just short of discovering the biblical Antichrist. I highly recommend The Jeweler’s Polish” – James A. Toups, author of The Storm: A Time of Mercy, Choices and Hope, Principal at RMR Corporation.
“Marie Ann Dean’s familiarity with the isle of Malta and her literary skills are put to good use in constructing a near-gothic narrative, combined with an intriguing apocalyptic storyline involving the identity of the Antichrist and the timing of the Second Coming. The result is a highly entertaining read, reminiscent of The Da Vinci Code but of higher literary quality and more complex . . . a very diverting and compelling first novel that leaves enough plot threads untied to demand a sequel or two. The Jeweler’s Polish leaves the reader wanting more!” – Mary Ann Beavis, Ph.D., Professor of Religion and Culture, Saint Thomas More College, University of Saskatchewan.
“In The Jeweler’s Polish, the heroine Emerald’s plans to travel initiate a journey to seek the ‘jewels’ of her heritage. The story is immersed in intrigue, secrecy, and the adventurous danger of the hunt. Traitors, mistresses, knights, and monks fill the pages of an effervescent novel. The pages turn quickly: Dean diligently weaves the tale of Emerald’s search for her hereditary matrix that serves both to elude and define her. Any reader of The Jeweler’s Polish who has sought family trees, or who has been fascinated by the Da Vinci Code, or Angels and Demons, will no doubt be riveted to Emerald’s search. The mystery is laced with danger and delight, discovery and disappointment, with new clues uncovered and the real hidden treasure of the heroine’s beneficence.
“One travels through multiple settings following both Emerald’s contemporary life and that of her centuries-old namesake – merry old England, Paris, Rome, yet always returning to a crisscrossed Malta: between two continents and between eras; the failing religiousness of the late Renaissance and the violent birth of contemporary democratic secularity. Within the thrill of the search, Dean’s work is, in the end, a battle between good and evil. And in the end, Emerald’s search rises above ennui and passivity to a new receptivity of the divine: the polish of a grace from beyond brings light both because of her goodness and despite her weakness.
“Is it not everyman/everywoman’s journey to seek their source and uncover treasures hidden for the ages – whether in Tehran, Tokyo, or New York? In The Jeweler’s Polish, one finds fellow seekers, while enjoying a well of literary refreshment. One hopes that Dean’s excellent work of final delight will reach many readers. One also hopes that readers will uncover, at least, some of their own hereditary jewels – the soulful treasures of any truly good persons, which often remain hidden until finally polish by Grace and Love itself” – Reverend Brian Miclot, Ph.D., Professor of Philosophy, Saint Ambrose University.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Marie Ann Dean is an American novelist and poet from Iowa, with a particular interest in Catholic contemplative spiritualities in the Latin Rite tradition. A teacher by profession and former Montessori homeschooler, Dean helped set up various classical education schools and Montessori homeschools across the United States (US). She also lectured on English Literature at the University of Notre Dame (US), and on both Theology and Literature at Bristol University, United Kingdom (UK). As a practicing Catholic and pastoral counselor, Dean has served as lecturer to diocesan teachers in the US and Canada, also teaching catechesis and Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) classes as director. She was also a lay chaplain with the Westminster Diocese, United Kingdom (UK).
Dean has a Bachelor’s degree in History and Philosophy/Theology from Marycrest College, and a Master’s degree in English Literature from the University of Notre Dame. She was also Downside Scholar Fellow in Theology at Bristol University. Dean holds a Master Teacher’s Certificate from the National Association of Private Catholic and Independent Schools. An international Catholic blogger since 2007, Dean writes regularly on matters of the Catholic faith and spirituality at Etheldreda‘s Place and The Courtyard. She is also twice winner and Grand Prize-winner of the Mississippi Valley Poetry Contest with her poems. Dean enjoys painting in watercolors, acrylics, and oils.