Would you rather sacrifice your livelihood, your lover, or your life? When the Black Death comes knocking on your door, you’d better decide quickly.
Venice, 1510. Maria Bartolini wants nothing more than to carry on her father’s legacy as a master gilder. Instead, her father has sent her away from the only home she’s ever known to train as an apprentice to Master Trevisan, a renowned painter.
When the painter’s servants uncover the real reason why Maria has been sent away, they threaten to reveal a secret that could tear down her family and the future of their trade. But Maria's sacrifices may amount to nothing if the plague steals away everything she's ever loved...
From the author of the award-winning novel, The Gondola Maker, comes a rich tale of Renaissance Venice, a heroine with a lust for life, and love against all odds.
Morelli’s second entry in the Venetian Artisans series (following The Gondola Maker) is a Renaissance story rich in art and love, yet tempered by sacrifice and hard times during the bubonic plague’s siege of Venice in 1510. Lovely, titian-haired Maria Bartolini, daughter of Venice’s preeminent gold leaf artisan and a skilled gilder herself, falls in love with Cristiano Bianco, a low-born Saracen gold-beater working in their studio. Maria’s father discovers the romance, and she is dispatched to illustrious painter Master Trevisan’s workshop to study pigment technique until she can marry within their guild. While helping Trevisan craft gilded, decorative wooden panels for a convent, Maria also keeps a secret and fends off a meddlesome maid and an extortionist boatman. When her old neighborhood is quarantined, Maria loses contact with her family and Cristiano. As the Black Death devastates the city and loved ones are separated, the characters struggle for strength; when the plague begins to lift, Maria at first struggles but eventually finds her calling. Substantive period detail—especially about gilding technique and the bubonic plague—is woven seamlessly throughout the narrative, resulting in a vivid, transportive novel. (Booklife)