Book Drunkard

“I am simply a 'book drunkard.' Books have the same irresistible temptation for me that liquor has for its devotee. I cannot withstand them.” L.M. Montgomery

The Towers of Tuscany by Carol M. Cram, review

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Set amid the twisting streets and sunlit piazzas of medieval Italy, the Towers of Tuscany tells the story of a woman who dares to follow her own path in the all-male domain of the painter’s workshop. Sofia Barducci is born into a world where a woman is only as good as the man who cares for her, but she still claims the right to make her own mistakes. Her first mistake is convincing her father to let her marry Giorgio Carelli, a wealthy saffron merchant in San Gimignano, the Tuscan city of towers. Trained in secret by her father to create the beautifully-crafted panels and altarpieces acclaimed today as masterpieces of late medieval art, Sofia’s desire for freedom from her father’s workshop leads her to betray her passion and sink into a life of loveless drudgery with a husband who comes to despise her when she does not produce a son.

In an attack motivated by vendetta, Sofia’s father is crushed by his own fresco, compelling Sofia to act or risk the death of her soul. The choice she makes takes her on a journey from misery to the heights of passion-both as a painter and as a woman. Sofia escapes to Siena where, disguised as a boy, she paints again. When her work attracts the notice of a nobleman who discovers the woman under the dirty smock, Sofia is faced with a choice that nearly destroys her.


The Towers of Tuscany is the debut novel of Canadian author, Carol M. Cram.  I was impressed to learn that this is her first book as it has all the earmarks of a novel written by a veteran.  I very much enjoyed how much historical detail there was in the story as well as how much I learned about the process of painting.  Helping the reader to understand the development of panels and frescoes gives a new appreciation of art and offers much insight for the reader.

I like Sofia as a character.  She battled with adversity her entire life and learned to adapt and grow from it.  She creates a new life (and new persona for awhile) for herself and doesn’t allow anything to keep her from doing what she loves.

The book has several twists and turns and an ending I didn’t anticipate.  I can recommend this book for many reasons from fantastic character development to excellent writing.  I was completely engaged from start to finish.  I’m already looking forward to her next book.

*I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review*



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