In Renaissance Italy, 14 year old Emilia doesn't really fit the mold of the other girls her age. While her father despairs of her ever marrying, Emilia longs to paint and be recognized like the male artist of her time. Emilia dresses like a boy just to get a chance to work under and learn from one of Italy's most revered talents. But when an accident reveals Emilia's true identity, she is fired and she is once again forced to face the fact that her dreams may be unattainable.
Shortly after, another artist stumbles across Emilia and offers her an apprenticeship, with no disguises necessary. Emilia finds her way with the help of her unconventional and understanding mother and the aid of a century old family heirloom.
Nonna's Book of Mysteries is a coming of age story about a girl who defies convention at a time where there were very definite boundaries people, women especially, didn't cross. We get to see Emilia make mistakes and eventually find the path she was headed for all along. It's a fast paced young adult novel with an exciting glimpse of Renaissance Italy. I think it is a novel most adults would enjoy, as well. Emilia and the other cast of characters enrich the story and engage the reader. There is a little mystery to the story and a twist, too. This looks to be the first book in the series, I would love to see what happens in the next book.
Osborne, Mary, "Nonna's Book of Mysteries", Lake Street Press, 2010. Art, Mystery and Magic Amos Lassen Emilia Serafini at fourteen years old wants is to learn to paint so that she can become an artist. However there were no painters' apprenticeships for young women don't exist in the Florence, Italy during the Renaissance. Nothing looks good for her and then she receives a book, "A Manual to the Science of Alchemy". It had once … more
This is the best novel of historical fiction I have read in a long time. Mary Osborne transports the reader back to fifteenth century Italy. The main character is a determined young woman with a dream to become a painter. It is fun visualizing what some of these frescos look like. Osborne describes the fresco of the goddess Venus and the Holy Trinity to name a few. She is a very visual writer. I am motivated to learn more about Italian art because of this novel. This novel … more
Emilia's dream of becoming a painter doesn't look promising, after all, it is only the 14th century and women did not have opportunities such as this. Emilia's parents decide to let her pursue her passion and take painting lessons. The only thing is, she has to pretend that she's a he. She is emotionally shattered when her identity is uncovered and she can no longer take lessons. Her mother ends up giving her Nonna's Book of Mysteries and Emilia ends up learning a lot about … more
In "Nonna's Book of Mysteries," author Mary Osborne tells the delightfully warm story of Emilia Serafina, a teenage girl living in the Florence of the Medicis with the very true heart's desire to become an apprenticed painter in one of the city's famed botteghe. As the career of painter usually is a vocation reserved just for men, Emilia, encouraged by Violante, her wise and resourceful mother, attempts the impossible, flouting the wishes of her more conventional and, at times unscrupulously pragmatic, … more