cover image Blood Water Paint

Blood Water Paint

Joy McCullough.. Dutton, $17.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-7352-3211-2

McCullough's debut, told primarily in verse, introduces 17-year-old Artemisia Gentileschi, who was in real life a talented young painter during the Italian Baroque period. Grudgingly trained by her father and forced to sign his name to her clearly superior work, Artemisia chafes against the confines of being a woman in a male-dominated world. When an established artist takes an interest in her, Artemisia reaches for the opportunity to improve her craft, but she soon learns that his interest is less than noble and her protestations are no protection. Interspersed throughout Artemisia's story are those of ancient heroines Susanna and Judith, two women who stand against men who covet their bodies and seek to destroy. As Artemisia tries to tell the truths of these women on canvas ("I know/ what it is to be watched,/ to be leered at what it is to be a thing"), she grows into her own power and finds the strength to stand against her own rapist. A haunting, stirring depiction of an unforgettable woman, Artemisia's story will resonate deeply with readers today and beyond. Ages 14%E2%80%93up. Agent: Jim McCarthy, Dystel, Goderich & Bourret. (Mar.)