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Passion Blue by Victoria Strauss
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Passion Blue (edition 2012)

by Victoria Strauss

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7112168,809 (3.65)3
Member:bibliothequaire
Title:Passion Blue
Authors:Victoria Strauss
Info:Amazon Children's Publishing (2012), Hardcover, 346 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
Tags:2013, Young Adult Literature

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Passion Blue by Victoria Strauss

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Passion Blue is a Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Books of 2012

When seventeen-year-old Giulia, the orphaned, illegitimate daughter of a Milanese nobleman, learns she's to be packed off to a life behind convent walls, she begs an astrologer-sorcerer for a talisman that will secure what she's certain is her heart's desire: true love and a place where she belongs. But does she really know the compass of her heart? The convent of Santa Marta is full of surprises, including a workshop of nuns who are creating paintings of astonishing beauty using a luminous blue mixed from a secret formula: Passion Blue. As Giulia's own artistic self is awakened she's torn: should she follow the young man who promises to help her escape? Or stay and satisfy her growing desire to paint?

This richly imagined novel of a girl's daring journey towards self-discovery transports readers into the fascinating world of Renaissance Italy where love and faith and art inspire passion--of many different hues.
  lkmuir | Nov 23, 2015 |
All her life, Giulia has dreamed of being an artist -- but she knows that's impossible for a girl in fifteenth-century Italy. The next best thing, she thinks, would be to marry a supportive husband who would let her pursue her passion as a hobby, at least. But when her father dies and his jealous wife packs Giulia off to a convent, she believes her dreams are doomed to be crushed, unless she can find a way to escape. Everything changes, however, when she meets Sister Humilita and the other nuns in her workshop -- a true painter's workshop, known across Italy for their artwork, particularly because of Passion Blue, a paint color invented and carefully guarded by Humilita. As an apprentice in Humilita's workshop, Giulia glimpses the life that could be hers if she stays: a life dedicated to art and painting, one she could never have outside of the convent. But just when she is beginning to feel settled at the convent, she meets Ormanno, a charming young artist who could offer Giulia a means of escape, if she is willing to betray Sister Humilita and her other new friends at the convent. Giulia thought she would have to choose between love and art -- with Ormanno, is it possible for her to have both?

I found this a delightful and well-researched look into Renaissance Italy. The main plot line is definitely YA, and some readers may be frustrated at 17-year-old Giulia's bad choices, but I thought they were realistically depicted and believable in the larger framework of the story. I thought the depiction of life at the convent was particularly well-done, showing as it did the many different types of women who chose (or were forced into) that lifestyle. All in all, a satisfying and enjoyable read. ( )
  foggidawn | Nov 7, 2014 |
I won this book in a goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review.

I wanted to read this book mostly because of the description of the sequel - it involves one of my favorite plotlines. I wasn't as sure I'd like this one but knew I had to give it a shot - and I absolutely loved it! I started it one night and finished it the next. It grabbed me from the first pages and I had trouble putting it down to do my work.

Victoria Strauss's writing style is wonderful! It is highly readable and very easy to get lost in. I really liked the main character. Sure, she made some bad decisions, but she's 17 years old and these decisions have to be thought about within the context of her society. It made sense to me that she would behave as she did. There were also interesting details thrown in throughout about art and mixing paint. I appreciated the research that went into this book.

I highly recommend this book. It's going on my alltime favorites list and I know I'll be re-reading it in the future. ( )
  RoseCrossed | Oct 3, 2014 |
I think the biggest problem with this book is that the author sets up a no-win scenario. Our main character can either give up all semblance of a "normal" life to stay in the convent where she can at least paint or she can give up painting to have a "normal" life with a guy we soon realize is a jerk. So when it gets to the end, neither option could really have been satisfying.

Which didn't bother me extremely much because she doesn't really deserve a happy ending. This is someone so dumb she spends her life savings to buy a "magic" talisman she thinks is guaranteed to find her a man to take care of her. And then even when it should be obvious the guy is a jerk, she still convinces herself he's not right up until the end.

As for the convent it seems more like summer camp or boarding school than an actual convent. The end also takes too long after we get to the foregone unsatisfying conclusion.

Overall it was competent but unsatisfying. ( )
  ptdilloway | Nov 21, 2013 |
If Megan Whalen Turner calls this a lovely read, then I'm for certain going to check it out.

ETA: So, I gave this one a go. I really wanted to like it, but the main character kept making such supremely bad choices and I kept getting embarrassed for her (trust me, this is an uncomfortable position in which to find yourself when you are empathetic person like me). The story is well-written, though, so don't let my issues keep you from giving this book a go.
  Cailiosa | Jul 25, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0761462309, Hardcover)

When seventeen-year-old Giulia, the orphaned, illegitimate daughter of a Milanese nobleman, learns she’s to be packed off to a life behind convent walls, she begs an astrologer-sorcerer for a talisman that will secure what she’s certain is her heart’s desire: true love and a place where she belongs. But does she really know the compass of her heart? The convent of Santa Marta is full of surprises, including a workshop of nuns who are creating paintings of astonishing beauty using a luminous blue mixed from a secret formula: Passion Blue. As Giulia’s own artistic self is awakened she’s torn: should she follow the young man who promises to help her escape? Or stay and satisfy her growing desire to paint?

This richly imagined novel of a girl’s daring journey towards self-discovery transports readers into the fascinating world of Renaissance Italy where love and faith and art inspire passion – of many different hues.

Passion Blue is a Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Books of 2012

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:32 -0400)

In fifteenth-century Italy, seventeen-year-old Giulia, a Count's illegitimate daughter, buys a talisman hoping it will bring her true love to save her from life in a convent, but once there she begins to learn the painter's craft, including how to make the coveted paint, Passion blue, and to question her true heart's desire. Includes historical notes and glossary.… (more)

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