Publication Date: December 16, 2014
Lake Union Publishing
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Genre: Historical Fiction
Sofia is trained in secret as a painter in her father’s workshop during a time when women did not paint openly. She loves her work, but her restless spirit leads her to betray her extraordinary gifts to marry a man who comes to despise her for not producing a son.
After Sofia’s father is crushed by his own fresco during an attack motivated by a vendetta, Sofia realizes she must escape her loveless marriage. She flees to Siena, where, disguised as a boy, she paints again. When her work attracts the notice of a nobleman who discovers the woman under the dirty smock, Sofia is faced with a choice that nearly destroys her.
Meticulously researched settings and compelling characters are united with a strong heroine in this rich portrait of medieval Italy.
Sofia grew up learning and mastering her father's trade, painting. As the daughter of Antonio Barducci in 14th century Tuscany, Sofia now paints panels in secret for her father's business. Sofia has fallen into a loveless marriage at a young age to Giorgio, a man who has become upset that Sofia has not produced any sons for him. As Sofia's father dies in a tragic uprising, he tells her to take her latest panel and seek out Maestro Manzini in Siena. Sofia takes the chance to flee her unfulfilling life and husband, she ends up in Siena disguised as a boy, but having the chance to do the one thing she loves.
The Towers of Tuscany is a rollercoaster of a historical fiction novel that quite literally paints an image of medieval Tuscany through the eyes of a young woman. The painting process and subject matter was rich in detail and well researched. Some of my favorite scenes from the book were when Sofia was reminiscing about the past as her father was giving her lessons in painting. Sofia is an interesting heroine. She makes many brave decisions, continuing to paint under her husbands nose, fleeing to Siena, dressing as a boy, and then revealing herself. While her journey is fascinating, a lot of the writing is Sofia's inner monologue where we learn that while her choices are daring, her reasoning seems very selfish or arrogant at times. Luckily, Sofia grows throughout the story and when the plague enters the scene, Sofia will make have to make life or death decisions. Overall, a lavishly done historical fiction novel about a female medieval painter who had to make very difficult decisions throughout her life.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
Carol M. Cram is the author of The Towers of Tuscany, an historical novel about a woman painter in fourteenth century Italy. In addition to writing fiction, Carol has enjoyed a great career as an educator, teaching at Capilano University in North Vancouver for over twenty years and authoring forty-plus bestselling textbooks on business communications and software applications for Cengage Learning. She holds an MA in Drama from the University of Toronto and an MBA from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland. Carol is currently focusing as much of her attention as she can spare between walks in the woods on writing historical novels with an arts twist. She and her husband, painter Gregg Simpson, share a life on beautiful Bowen Island near Vancouver, Canada. Visit her at www.carolcram.com.
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