cover image Passion Blue

Passion Blue

Victoria Strauss. Amazon Children’s Publishing, $17.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-7614-6230-9

Giulia’s late mother was the “favorite mistress” of a count in 15th-century Milan, and when Giulia’s noble father also dies, his jealous wife arranges to send the illegitimate 17-year-old girl to a convent. Feeling like she is “falling down a well that has no bottom,” Giulia asks a sorcerer to make her a talisman, hoping it will help her find a husband instead. At the convent, Giulia begins to contemplate her true “heart’s desire” after she is invited to train as a painter under a talented maestra. The maestra tells Giulia she could run the workshop one day if she takes her vows and becomes a nun, but Giulia is falling for a craftsman repairing a fresco. Strauss (Guardian of the Hills) takes great care to illustrate Giulia’s complicated world fully, including the limited choices available to women during the Renaissance, convent life, and painting techniques of the time. Giulia’s path may not surprise readers, but her unusual story is sure to capture their attention. Ages 14–up. Agent: Jessica Regel, Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency. (Nov.)