Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), and several Kindle ebooks.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Passion Blue Review

Victoria Strauss's YA novel, Passion Blue, won't be out until November, but I was fortunate enough to score an advance reader copy. Jim-Bob checked it out before I read it.


I was intrigued by the cover—my favorite shade of blue. Would the book be as good as its cover? Yep, it is! Here's the synopsis as posted on Amazon.com.

I've loved Renaissance Italy since ever since I took an art history course in college. Of course, during the Renaissance, the painters were male, and females had little choice in the direction their lives might take. Therein lies the book's premise: Giulia has two passions—she wants to be an artist, an almost impossible career choice for a girl in her time, and she wants a husband and family of her own. While her father is alive, she is allowed to live and work as a seamstress in his household. But when he dies, his wife uses Giulia's dowry to buy the orphaned girl's way into a convent. Desperate, Giulia acquires a talisman that will help her get what she wants, and she manages to hide it and some of her sketches as she's stripped of all her other possessions at the convent.

When a nun who maintains a painter's workshop in the convent acquires one of the sketches, she realizes the talent Giulia possesses and arranges for her to be an apprentice. under the nun's guidance, Giulia develops her talent and learns a lot about painting, but she still yearns for a family. When she meets a young artist, she soon is sneaking out to see him in the orchard at night. I won't give away the ending, but Giulia does get what she wants—although it isn't what she originally thought she wanted. Did her talisman help determine her destiny? Well—

Strauss has successfully captured the concerns of a young girl who searches for both love and a way to follow her dreams. While Passion Blue is written for young adults, who—like Guilia—might be struggling to find their own identity, it is enjoyable by us older readers, too.  Strauss skillfully blends character, plot, and setting into a richly textured novel—one that intrigues and satisfies the reader on several levels.

I highly recommend this book, which can be pre-ordered from Amazon.com now.
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2 Comments:

Blogger Victoria Strauss said...

Thanks so much for a lovely review!

6:37 PM  
Blogger CountryDew said...

Sounds like a good book! Thanks for the review.

8:50 AM  

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