Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Color Song: A YA Heroine Struggles To Be An Artist in 16th Century Italy #Giveaway

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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 she creates 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 15th 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 for themselves. Faced with the prospect of lifelong imprisonment in the convent, forever barred from painting as a punishment for keeping Humilita’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 precious blue. And Venice, with its graceful gondolas and twisting canals, its gilded palazzi 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, where art and ambition, love and deception hover like dense fog, can Giulia find her way?

This compelling novel explores timeless themes of love and illusion, gender and identity as it asks the question: what does it mean to risk everything to follow your true passion?


Color Song by Victoria Strauss is a sequel.  The first book of this YA historical saga is Passion Blue.   Readers should be aware that Color Song contains many references to the events of Passion Blue.  These would be a good reminder if you’ve already read it, but they would be spoilers if you haven’t read it.    This wasn’t a problem for me, but spoiler sensitive readers are advised to read Passion Blue first.  I received an uncorrected proof of this book from the publisher via Net Galley.                                                  

The fictional central character, Guilia Borromeo, is a young female painter in 16th century Italy who hears colors singing to her.  This factor is what makes the book distinctive.  It’s the reason why I was attracted to it.   Hearing colors, or seeing music are examples of a difference in perception that is known as synesthesia.  I am interested in artists with synesthesia.  Find out more about it from the Wikipedia article Synesthesia in Art

Guilia, the illegitimate daughter of a nobleman, had been consigned to a nunnery in Padua.  It’s there that she learned to paint.  Guilia seemed to think that her convent was the only place where nuns painted.  I came across a 16th century prioress in Florence who painted named Plautilla Nelli.  She wasn’t the only one.  There is actually a scholarly study called Nuns As Artists: The Visual Culture of a Medieval Convent by Jeffrey F. Hamburger.

Although there is a romance element in this novel, this book is primarily about Guilia’s efforts to continue painting and attain some degree of autonomy in a historical period where few women could ever hope to have any freedom at all.  There were exceptions.  The exceptional autonomous woman shown in Color Song will surprise readers.. On the other hand, there were also some events in the plot of this book that I found predictable.

Synesthesia wasn’t in the foreground for the overwhelming majority of Color Song, but one plot development did turn on Guilia’s ability to hear colors.  That incident led me to imagine an art detective series in which the protagonist has a gift like Guilia’s.  I continue to look for a book whose central focus is an artist’s synesthesia.


Buy the Book

03_Victoria StraussAbout the Author

Victoria Strauss is the author of nine novels for adults and young adults, including the STONE duology (THE ARM OF THE STONE and THE GARDEN OF THE STONE), and a historical novel for teens, PASSION BLUE. She has written hundreds of book reviews for magazines and ezines, including SF Site, and her articles on writing have appeared in Writer's Digest and elsewhere. In 2006, she served as a judge for the World Fantasy Awards.

An active member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), she's co-founder, with Ann Crispin, of Writer Beware, a publishing industry watchdog group that tracks and warns about literary fraud. She maintains the popular Writer Beware website, Facebook page, and blog, for which she was a 2012 winner of an Independent Book Blogger Award. She was honored with the SFWA Service Award in 2009.

She lives in Amherst, Massachusetts.

For more information please visit Victoria's Strauss's website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Goodreads.

Color Song Blog Tour & Book Blast Schedule

Monday, September 16
Book Blast at Passages to the Past
Book Blast at The True Book Addict
Tuesday, September 17
Review at Oh the Books
Book Blast at The Maiden's Court
Wednesday, September 18
Review at Casual Readers
Review at Leeanna.com (Passion Blue)
Thursday, September 19
Review at Leeanna.com
Monday, September 22
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Feature at Oh the Books
Tuesday, September 23
Book Blast at Flashlight Commentary
Wednesday, September 24
Review at History from a Woman's Perspective
Interview at Bibliophilia, Please
Book Blast at Reading Lark
Thursday, September 25
Book Blast at A Book Geek
Friday, September 26
Review at Reading Room Book Reviews
Book Blast at Just One More Chapter
Monday, September 29
Review at Tribute Books Mama
Interview at Math, Science & Social Studies...Oh My!
Tuesday, September 30
Review at Book Babe
Book Blast at Historical Fiction Connection
Wednesday, October 1
Review & Interview at Bookish
Book Blast at Historical Tapestry
Thursday, October 2
Review at Brooke Blogs
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book
Friday, October 3
Review at A Bibliotaph's Reviews
Book Blast at The Lit Bitch
Saturday, October 4
Book Blast at Susan Heim on Writing
Monday, October 6
Review at WTF Are You Reading?
Book Blast at Let Them Read Books
Tuesday, October 7
Review at A Leisure Moment
Wednesday, October 8
Review at Peeking Between the Pages
Friday, October 10
Review at A Bookish Affair

To enter to win any of the following prizes please complete the form below:

2 Grand Prizes Winners: One Kindle Paperwhite with custom Color Song cover with Color Song and Passion Blue ebooks pre-loaded, plus swag (postcards, bookmarks), and signed paperback editions of Strauss's Stone duology (The Arm of the Stone and The Garden of the Stone) (US only)

2 winners: Signed hardcovers of Color Song and Passion Blue, plus swag (postcards, bookmarks) (US and Canada)

5 winners: Signed paperbacks of Color Song and Passion Blue, plus swag (postcards, bookmarks) (US and Canada)

Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on October 10th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on October 11th and notified via email.
Winner have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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