Saturday, June 4, 2011

Book Review: A Golden Web

Media Type: Book
Title: A Golden Web
Author: Barbara Quick
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: Hardcover; 266
Release Date: April 6, 2010
Source: Publisher/TBS
Intended Reading Group:
Young Adult

Content Screening:
Nothing of note

HDB Rating:
5 Keys to My Heart

Alessandra is desperate to escape.

Desperate to escape her stepmother, who's locked her away for a year; to escape the cloister that awaits her and the marriage plans that have been made for her; to escape the expectations that limit her and every other girl in fourteenth-century Italy. There's no tolerance in her quiet village for Alessandra and her keen intelligence and unconventional ideas.

In defiant pursuit of her dreams, Alessandra undertakes an audacious quest, her bravery equaled only by the dangers she faces. Disguised and alone in a city of spies and scholars, Alessandra will find a love she could not foresee -- and an enduring fame.

In this exquisite imagining of the centuries-old story of Alessandra Giliani, the world's first female anatomist, acclaimed novelist Barbara Quick gives readers the drama, romance, and rich historical detail for which she is known as she shines a light on an unforgotten -- and unforgettable -- heroine.

I'm usually not a big fan of historical fiction, but Alessandra's story drew me in right from the beginning. Her story is one that fills story books. The girl who is trapped, and longs to be free. Who knows that she is destined for something better. However where Alessandra's story strays from the norm, is that she actually does it! She doesn't just dream about leaving, she doesn't just wish to be better, she does it.

As a character, I fell in love with Alessandra instantly. Her fiesty attitude, her love of learning, the way that she didn't care about the conventions of the times. She is truly one of those characters that will sear her way into your brain. Oh, and she's so smart too! I loved the times throughout the book when she simply wasn't satisfied with the answer that was given to her, and she set off to come up with her own that was more logical. Alessandra is the woman's liberation front, before that actually existed. The fact that she had to dress as a man to accomplish what she wanted didn't change that she was all woman. I truly admired her.

Of course woven in and out of her epic journey is a Cinderella story of sorts. Complete with the evil stepmother who wishes that she would just disappear as soon as possible. The romance aspect of the book was really sweet. I liked how realistic it was, and how it was based on a mutual respect of one another. Alessandra and her beau have my heart. Prepare to be emotionally involved in this story as well, the ending wrenched my heart from my chest, but I am still in love with this book.

A Golden Web is a perfect example of a well balanced, well executed and extremely well researched historical novel. If you are not yet a fan of historical fiction, you might want to start with this one! Alessandra's story is one that is easy to believe in, and although Barbara Quick mentions that we aren't entirely sure if she actually existed, if she did she is my hero. Thank you to Quick for sharing her with us! I eagerly await more.

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.


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