Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Lake Street Press; 1 edition (June 3, 2010)
Review Copy: Publisher
What I Thought:
So is alchemy considered science or magic? Nonna's Book Of Mysteries will certainly make you wonder...
In this book we follow Emilia in her quest to become a painter...something that is highly frowned upon for the young women of her time. I like Emilia's character because she was strong willed and determined. She followed her dream even though people were against her. It was nice to see that ambition in a character.
The storyline was an interesting one; it went beyond painting to alchemy, treachery, and love. While I realize that this is not christian fiction I think it could possibly appeal to the open-mided YA readers of that genre. I would consider it more of a historical read; the time period that the story is set in along with the work of the characters makes it into an easy cross-over genre book.
Christian faith and beliefs were the be-all, end-all at that time so it comes into play throughout the majority of the book. I should also note that it is a very "clean" read.
About The Book:
At age fourteen, all Emilia Serafini wants is to learn to paint so that she can become an artist. But painters’ apprenticeships for young women don’t exist in the Florence of Renaissance Italy. The odds appear stacked against her until she receives a fascinating book, A Manual to the Science of Alchemy. It was once her grandmother’s and Emilia turns again and again to the Manual for guidance.
When Emilia meets the wealthy, brooding Franco Villani, her life takes a thrilling, but dangerous turn. Franco will do anything to win a place in the court of the powerful Cosimo de’ Medici. Well aware that Cosimo prizes ancient manuscripts above all, Franco realizes Emilia’s Manual would be invaluable to him in more ways than one.
Infused with the mysticism of alchemy, Nonna’s Book of Mysteries is an exciting portrait of a young woman who defies convention to seek her destiny.