La Luministe by Paula Butterfield


With La Luministe Paula Butterfield delivers a touching and compelling chronicle of female artist Berthe Morisot and the nineteenth century impressionist world she helped to birth. From unpaved streets of Paris to Baccarat lined parlors, we are treated to a vivid dramatization of the beginnings of modern Paris. Surviving the Franco-Prussian war, the Siege of Paris, and a dogged love for Manet, Berthe Morisot masters light and becomes the first impressionist to exhibit in a public museum. From Ms. Butterfield’s artful pen, we are handed one more narrative to illuminate women’s history. I recommend this book for fans of historical fiction, art, women’s history, impressionism, Paris.

Sofonisba Was Not Always Forgotten

In 1774, Giambattista Zaist wrote Notizie Istoriche de’ Pittori, Scultori, ed Architetti Cremonesi or Historical Notes of Painters, Sculptors, and Architects of Cremona.

For seven pages he writes about the accomplishments of Sofonisba Anguissola, recounting her early years, her time in Spain, her long legacy.

He concludes with these words,

“che superò l’artifizio non solo de piu esperti Pittori dell’ arte , specialmente del ritrarre di naturale, ma eguaglio`, al dir del Soprani, lo stesso Tiziano.”

“She surpassed the art not only of more experienced Painters of art, especially in natural portraiture, but equal, as says Soprani [1674], to Titian.”

Sofonisba was not always forgotten from history. Soprani and Zaist noted her. Vasari raved about her in his Lives of the Artists-and Vasari saw her work contemporary with all the Renaissance masters. Still, centuries after her accomplishments, her legacy continues to be stripped from her.

Sofonisba’s legacy deserves attention and correction.

The Tudor Vendetta

tudor-vendettaGortner, C.W. The Tudor Vendetta. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 2014

The Tudor Vendetta is an accessible and engaging historical fiction of Queen Elizabeth I’s secret mission to safeguard her illegitimate child, tucked away in the custody of erstwhile supporters, who betray their charge. Queen Elizabeth turns to the protagonist Brendan, himself a hidden Tudor bastard and a potential threat to the crown. When the Queen enlists Brendan’s support, he’s never certain whether she needs him or seeks to trap him. As the truth about the Queen’s secret child is revealed, only Brendan’s bravery can save the boy. In the process, Brendan proves his valor and wins back the heart of his true love.

Tudor Vendetta is a fresh narrative on the reign of Elizabeth I, the Virgin Queen. Gortner seamlessly folds the drama of a sexual Elizabeth into the story of her coronation, making a good read, both believable and enjoyable.

Donna DiGiuseppe, 2015