That was our headline back on December 11, 2000, for Susan Vreeland's Girl In Hyacinth Blue. We noted that it was selling very well at the independents and that the Penguin trade paperback had 125,000 copies in print after three trips to press. A little over a year later, Hyacinth now has more than 358,000 copies in print after 12 printings. The headline also suits Vreeland's second book, The Passion of Artemisia. The Viking hardcover is climbing independent bestseller charts around the country; its selection as the #1 Book Sense pick for January and February didn't hurt. First printing was 85,000 and the second is 6,000, for a total of 91,000 copies. Vreeland began her 25-city tour on January 14 in her home town, San Diego, and will finish up in Washington, D.C., on February 19. Her Web site (, designed by her computer engineer husband, lists 11 more events through mid-May in her home state. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is hosting the first U.S. show of Renaissance painter Artemisia Gentileschi's work beginning February 14.

With reporting by Dick Donahue