By the author of the acclaimed Passion Blue, a Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Book of 2012 and “a rare, rewarding, sumptuous exploration of artistic passion,” comes a fascinating companion novel.
Artistically brilliant, Giulia is blessed—or cursed—with a spirit’s gift: she can hear the mysterious singing of the colors as she creates them in the convent workshop of Maestra Humilità. It’s here that Giulia, forced into the convent against her will, has found unexpected happiness and rekindled her passion to become a painter—an impossible dream for any woman in fifteenth-century Italy.
But when a dying Humilità bequeaths Giulia her most prized possession—the secret formula for the luminously beautiful paint called Passion blue—Giulia realizes she’s in danger from those who have long coveted the famous color. Faced with the prospect of a life in the convent barred from painting as punishment for keeping Humilità’s secret, Giulia is struck by a desperate idea: What if she disguises herself as a boy? Could she make her way to Venice and find work as an artist’s apprentice?
Along with the truth of who she is, Giulia carries more dangerous secrets: the exquisite voices of her paint colors and the formula for Humilità’s Passion blue. And Venice, she discovers, with its gilded palazzos and masked balls, has secrets of its own. Trapped in her false identity in this dream-like place where reality and reflection are easily confused, and where art and ambition, love and deception hover like dense fog, can Giulia find her way?
This stunning, compelling novel explores timeless themes of love and illusion, gender and identity as it asks, What does it mean to risk everything to pursue your passion?