Portuguese American Journal

Book: ‘Cut From The Earth’ by Stephanie Renee Dos Santos – Editor’s Note

In 1755, the famous Portuguese tile maker Pêro Manuel Pires is empathetic to a fault. He is dedicated to freeing slaves with the proceeds of his art and hiring the freed to work in his tile factory, triggering rage and repercussions from a competitor.

Pêro harbors a female artist whose risqué creations keep the shop’s works in demand by Lisbon’s elite. The success of her designs does not sit well with one of Pêro’s longtime workers, bringing him and his loved ones under the menacing eye of the Inquisition, with threat of imprisonment and closure of his shop.

Risking his life and liberty, Pêro is determined to push forward. But on All Saints Day, November 1st, Portugal is struck by earthquakes, tidal waves, and massive fires, and Pêro loses what is most dear to him. Will he escape? Or stay to fight for freedom and the future?

A historical novel set in 18th century Lisbon, Cut From The Earth is a riveting story of courage, determination and survival.

“A beautifully crafted story of an ancient art, the struggle for freedom, and the need for justice, Stephanie Renee dos Santos, masterfully brings us one man’s journey through the perilous 18thcentury Portuguese Inquisition and his battle to serve both his craft and humanity. Cut from the Earth is a gripping, breathtaking tale.”  ̶ Donna Russo Morin, bestselling author of Gilded Summers

“Stephanie Rénee dos Santos’ debut novel Cut From the Earth captures and immerses the reader into the Old World of Portugal in 1755: the noise and bustle and smells of the marketplace, the misery and fear of the slave auction, the insidious repressions of the Inquisition, and the luxurious lives of the aristocracy, whose patronage of the fine art of tile-making has put a heavy demand on the artists who labor to create the tiles which decorate palace and cathedral walls.

Dos Santos’ writing is rich in sensual details, which also reveal the transcendent love of art and family that is the center of this complex novel, the first of a planned series. The horrific event of the devastating Lisbon earthquake of 1755 does more than turn everyone’s lives upside down, it upsets an entire civilization, mirrored in the microcosm of one artist’s life. The writing almost sings itself off the page, engages the reader from the opening paragraph, and keeps you turning the pages to see what’s going to happen next.”  ̶ Mary F. Burns, author The Spoils of Avalon: A John Singer Sargent/Violet Paget Mystery Book One

“Thoughtful and rich with historical detail, Cut From The Earth, gracefully brings to life the mid-eighteenth-century world of Portugal’s master tile makers in the days immediately preceding the Great Lisbon Earthquake. Elegantly and expertly, dos Santos lets readers learn while entertaining them along the way.”  ̶ Alana White, author of The Sign of the Weeping Virgin

“With elegant and detailed prose, Stephanie Renee dos Santos’ debut novel Cut From The Earth illuminates an important and tumultuous corner of Portuguese art history that deserves to be better known. Impeccably researched and poetically written.” — Kris Waldherr, bestselling author of The Book of Goddesses and The Lost History of Dreams

“A gripping, rich story of a small devoted family of tile-makers in 18th century Lisbon. The father Pêro fights for the freedom of slaves; his artist wife must hide her gifts as he tries to protect her from the ever-threatening Inquisition. In a race against time to buy the freedom of a loved older slave, the earth erupts, a tidal wave crashes into the harbor, much of the city crumbles, and Pêro’s deep faith is shaken. Gorgeous writing leaps through this vivid story of an imperfect, loving man as one little family fights for its life and its principles. I read it breathlessly to the last page, sometimes with tears in my eyes.”  —Stephanie Cowell, author of Claude and Camille: a novel of Monet, American Book Winner


About the Author

Stephanie Renée dos Santos is author of Cut From The Earth, a Semi-Finalist for the 2019 Chanticleer International Book Reviews “Chaucer Book Awards”. This is her first novel. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Studio Arts from Whitman College. A native of the United States, she divides her time between the Pacific Northwest and Brazil. Find out more at stephaniereneedossantos.com


Book Details


  • Title: Cut From The Earth
  • Author: Stephanie Renee Dos Santos 
  • Publisher‏: Independently published
  • Date of publication: May 10, 2021
  • Series: The Tile Maker Series (#1)
  • Language‏: ‎English
  • Paperback‏: ‎350pp


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**Report a correction or typo to editor@portuguese-american-journal.comWe are committed to upholding our journalistic standards, including accuracy. Carolina Matos/Editor.

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