A well told story. I feel that the author pitched this to a young adult audience. As a mature reader the angst felt around the rape was somewhat shallow. Still, the difficulty of raising a daughter alone and of the betrayal of the woman as artist is the middle ages is a fascinating story and the juxtaposition of the life of the nuns who eschewed marriage provides some excellent material for thought.
The author of Girl in Hyacinth Blue offers us another luminous novel, this one about a woman’s passion for her art. The story is based on the life of post-renaissance painter Artemisia Gentileschi, the only woman to paint in the style of Caravaggio. At 18, Artemisia is raped by her art teacher and then publicly humiliated in a papal Roman court. In an attempt to salvage the family’s reputation, her father forces her into a loveless marriage with a Florentine painter. Artemisia must struggle against her husband’s jealousy of her talents, the strain of motherhood, and the chauvinism of the art world. Set against the great cities of Italy during a time of political and artistic upheaval we see a woman who dared to follow her heart and defy convention to forge her own place in history.
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