The Painter’s Apprentice

Laura Morelli. The Scriptorium, $19.99 trade paper (406p) ISBN 978-1-942778-92-9
Morelli’s second entry in the Venetian Artisans series (following The Gondola Maker) is a Renaissance story rich in art and love, yet tempered by sacrifice and hard times during the bubonic plague’s siege of Venice in 1510. Lovely, titian-haired Maria Bartolini, daughter of Venice’s preeminent gold leaf artisan and a skilled gilder herself, falls in love with Cristiano Bianco, a low-born Saracen gold-beater working in their studio. Maria’s father discovers the romance, and she is dispatched to illustrious painter Master Trevisan’s workshop to study pigment technique until she can marry within their guild. While helping Trevisan craft gilded, decorative wooden panels for a convent, Maria also keeps a secret and fends off a meddlesome maid and an extortionist boatman. When her old neighborhood is quarantined, Maria loses contact with her family and Cristiano. As the Black Death devastates the city and loved ones are separated, the characters struggle for strength; when the plague begins to lift, Maria at first struggles but eventually finds her calling. Substantive period detail—especially about gilding technique and the bubonic plague—is woven seamlessly throughout the narrative, resulting in a vivid, transportive novel. (Booklife)
Reviewed on: 12/11/2017
Release date: 11/01/2017
Hardcover - 408 pages - 978-1-942778-96-7
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