Happy Publication Day to Passion Blue by Victoria Strauss!
Victoria's inspiration for this book came from an editor who'd read her book The Lady of Rhuddesmere and wanted her to write a YA that dealt with the development of astrology throughout history. From that nugget of direction, Victoria took off running. She set Passion Blue in Renaissance, Italy, a time in which astrology was not just superstition, but a precise, exacting science, when every court had its own astrologer and anyone who could afford it had his or her horoscope cast at birth.
Since astrology is such a big part of Passion Blue, I thought it only appropriate to check out the book's horoscope for today. Couldn't be more on point! From Yahoo:
"Your ego needs a stroke or two today -- but try not to overdo it! It's all too easy to slide into megalomania, especially when you really are this awesome. Take what you need and leave the rest for others."
With that in mind, I'll only post one of the fabulous reviews that the book has been getting. Here's the starred review from Kirkus. Congrats, Victoria!!
Giulia is bright, curious and a gifted artist, born to a noble father and his humble mistress in 15th-century Renaissance Italy. Now her fate rests with her father’s widow, who’s sending Giulia to a Padua convent. Desperate to avoid a cloistered life, Giulia obtains a talisman that’s promised to deliver her heart’s desire: marriage to a good man and a home of her own. Convent life is hard. Highborn nuns enjoy freedom; others, like Giulia, labor at menial tasks. When her artistic talent’s discovered, she’s invited to join the close-knit group of artist nuns whose renowned work helps support the convent. Guided by Maestra Humilità, daughter of a famous artist, Giulia begins to learn this exacting craft with tasks like mixing egg tempera. Artists create their own colors, their recipes closely guarded secrets. Humilità’s precious passion blue is one; its beauty draws Giulia like a flame. So do visions of love and freedom beyond convent walls. But stealing away to meet handsome Ormanno, another talented artist, is risky. Fantasy elements and a historical setting rich with sensuous detail are satisfying, but it’s Giulia’s achingly real search for her heart’s desire that resonates most today, when millions of girls still have limited choices. A rare, rewarding, sumptuous exploration of artistic passion. (author’s note) /(Historical fantasy. 12 & up)