The Passion of Artemisia by Susan Vreeland
After being raped and publicly humiliated in court, Artemisia marries a stranger and goes on to become one of the only famous post-Renaissance female painters.
I read this book because I enjoyed Forest Lover. Susan Vreeland has a gift; when she describes a painting, you know exactly what it looks like, even before looking at it on the Internet. She has the same gift for her historical settings; I truly feel like I've been to post-Renaissance Italy. I'm in awe of her skill.
The Second Duchess by Elizabeth Loupas
Barbara had heard the rumors about the Duke murdering his first wife before she married him, but she doesn't suspect the rumors might be true.
This book is a page turner with unique characters that drew me in. The way she built the setting was fantastic, but the history doesn't get in the way of a quick pace and a good love story. I was sorry to put it down and can't wait to read her next novel, The Flower Reader.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
In a world run by a cruel government, Katniss is forced to join a competition where she and twenty-three others must fight to the death.
This book is a bestseller for a very good reason. I enjoyed every page. It's creative and action-packed, it has great characters, and it has depth and meaning. Andrew and I had to run out and get the second book as soon as we were done with it.
To Be Queen by Christy English
Eleanor of Aquitaine is Queen of France until she escapes her unhappy marriage to be with Henry and become Queen of England.
I've heard so much about Eleanor of Aquitaine lately that I was eager to read this book to find out what was so great about her. Now I understand; Christy English did a great job of portraying this strong, powerful, controversial woman. It gave me a hunger to learn even more about Eleanor.
Here are some gorgeous paintings by Artemisia: