When seventeen-year-old Giulia, the orphaned, illegitimate daughter of a Milanese nobleman, learns she’s to be packed off to a life behind convent walls, she begs an astrologer-sorcerer for a talisman that will secure what she’s certain is her heart’s desire: true love and a place where she belongs. But does she really know the compass of her heart? The convent of Santa Marta is full of surprises, including a workshop of nuns who are creating paintings of astonishing beauty using a luminous blue mixed from a secret formula: Passion Blue. As Giulia’s own artistic self is awakened she’s torn: should she follow the young man who promises to help her escape? Or stay and satisfy her growing desire to paint?
This richly imagined novel of a girl’s daring journey towards self-discovery transports readers into the fascinating world of Renaissance Italy where love and faith and art inspire passion—of many different hues.
Passion Blue is a Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Books of 2012
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Victoria Strauss is the author of eight novels for adults and young adults. She has written hundreds of book reviews for magazines and ezines, including SF Site, and her articles on writing have appeared in Writer's Digest and elsewhere. In 2006, she served as a judge for the World Fantasy Awards.
An active member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), she's co-founder of Writer Beware, a publishing industry watchdog group that tracks and warns about literary fraud. Victoria was a 2012 winner of an Independent Book Blogger Award and was honored with the SFWA Service Award in 2009.From School Library Journal:
Vividly set during the 15th-century Italian Renaissance, Strauss’s novel has a strong and thoroughly likable heroine who is only one of many well-developed female characters. Artistically brilliant, 17-year-old Giulia Borromeo is desperately searching for her heart’s desire–a husband. She is so desperate that she makes a bargain with a sorcerer for a talisman to aid her. He warns her, “Be very sure you know what [it] is. Or you may find yourself surprised by what you receive.” As the illegitimate daughter of a nobleman, she has no security regarding her future. When her father dies, Giulia is forced into a convent by her father’s jealous wife. From the moment she is dragged through Santa Marta’s door, she plots her escape. She is surprised to learn of the beauty within, and that nuns and novices have vocations. When her extraordinary talents are discovered, Giulia is offered a place in the famous painting workshop. Her world expands as she learns the tools, materials, and techniques of great Renaissance painters. By chance, she meets a young male artisan repairing a convent masterpiece. They begin a clandestine romance. Her two desires–painting and a husband–war within as she contemplates her future. In a time and place when women were excluded from nearly every realm of life, Giulia and the other members of Santa Marta excel in spite of gender and cultural restrictions.–School Library Journal November 2012, Lisa Crandall, Capital Area District Library, Holt, MI
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