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.
I was instantly swept off my feet as I vigorously turned every page of this impressive novel. I was so taken by Cram’s authorship I devoured this lovely story in a few hours. Trust me, you won’t be able to put The Towers of Tuscany down.
Cram certainly accomplishes the task of transporting the reader to 14th century Tuscany with her lush and detailed descriptions. You feel the cobblestones beneath your feet, you envision the rolling golden hills, the deep thick forests, the offensive smell of dung in the air, and towers straining to touch heaven. You also comprehend the harshness of the time period, the many challenges women faced, the unkind treatment females tolerated and endured.
I was instantly drawn to Sophia. She’s stubborn, possesses the strength of a thousand men, her passion and endless devotion to painting will affect you greatly. Her love for painting consumes her soul, she takes great risks to pursue and continue her enthusiasm. As Sophia paints she loses herself in her efforts as she reflects on the lessons her beloved father taught her at an impressionable age. Cram’s intricate depictions of creating the art and the how to’s allow the reader a vivid glimpse of the lush prose so vividly detailed enabling imagery to appear before your eyes. Sophia is a memorable character, emotionally compelling.
The narrative is full of suspense with a fair share of twists and turns. It is fast paced and you won’t be able to stop reading once you begin. As you follow Sophia in the dicey pursuit of her passion you will be anxious to discover what transpires with every turn of the page.
Cram has certainly impressed me with this outstanding debut effort. She is an authoress to keep your eye on, no doubt a promising career ahead of her. I anxiously await her next novel, if this is an indicator of what’s to follow, we are in for wonderful reading adventures.
Lovers of art and painting you will thoroughly enjoy this book. A story filled with drama, suspense, romance and plenty of turbulence you will not want to miss reading this truly affecting novel. Highly highly recommend. Wonderful story from beginning to end.
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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 http://www.carolcram.com.
The Towers of Tuscany Blog Tour Schedule
Monday, December 15
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Tuesday, December 16
Guest Post at The Book Binder’s Daughter
Wednesday, December 17
Review at Unshelfish
Thursday, December 18
Spotlight at The Never-Ending Book
Monday, December 22
Guest Post at Boom Baby Reviews
Saturday, December 27
Review at Book Nerd
Monday, December 29
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective
Monday, January 5
Guest Post at Let Them Read Books
Tuesday, January 6
Review at 100 Pages a Day – Stephanie’s Book Reviews
Thursday, January 8
Interview at Dianne Ascroft’s Blog
Friday, January 9
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time