There’s nothing I enjoy more than reading about 16th c Venice. But Imagine reading a book written by a person who actually lived in those days! Filamena Ziani (or Filamela: nightingale) was a female artist of 16th c Venice. This is the first actual English publication of her work , which was at the time, dedicated to her patroness, Felicita Lando. As a female musician-singer-writer, Filamena’s work never received the recognition due. Kris Waldherr, through her enchanting illustrations has magically recreated this written work of art, by the nightingale and ‘Virtuosa’ of the times- someone who actually existed back then and even has a palazzo named after her!
This story or ‘fiabla’ of forbidden love, is about a young Filamena who is raised by her older sister Tullia, a notable Courtesan. Tullia wants to shield Filamena from the world’s cruelties and the pain and torments that love can bring. One evening while her sister is entertaining noble society gentlemen, Filamena is invited to sing in the background. There she spots the man who was to become the love of her life...her forbidden love.
This novel is so beautifully created that you can just get lost in the splendor of the artwork. Every single page is designed to enchant. There are letters carefully tucked in envelopes and beautiful historical maps, card-size illustrations (the basis for the Love Tarot series) that can all be found within this splendid book. But not only is this book breathtaking and fulfilling to the senses as is, the story itself is incredibly captivating.
At the beginning, I read along for the sake of romance and getting lost in a world of a different era…but as I kept reading, I discovered that this was not an ordinary love story. I was surprised to find mystery, intrigue, and a twist of fate that I really did not expect. I enjoyed this book through and through and the fact that the story was written by someone who actually lived in a place and time that fascinates me makes me feel like I found a treasure.
In addition, the prelude to the Lover's Path is writen by Marina Rossetti, the curator of 'Museo di Palazzo Filomela (curator of the Museum of Filomela's Palace). Here, she briefly describes the life, work, art, and documentation supporting this historical figure, time and place.
Breathtaking, brilliant, interesting, interactive, historical - A splendidly precious creation.
Whether you immerse yourself into the reading, the history, the artwork, or just for the browsing- The Lover's Path is a definite conversation piece. This book is a real gem.
Side Note: I believe that although The Lover’s Path is a mere 135 pages and is unpretentious in its reason to be- it’s got great merit in having brought forth a woman’s voice, thoughts and talent that were sadly suppressed at a time when women had no place in the arts. It has sustained its message throughout the ages and Filamena’s talent has finally been brought to light. A special Thanks to Kris Waldherr for playing a major part in this success.
(I’ll be entering this one in the Women Unbound Challenge for sure!)
AND NOW FOR A SPECIAL TREAT………………………..
Courtesy of Kris Waldherr…
Courtesy of Kris Waldherr…
GIVEAWAY : The Lover’s Path!!!! (US only)
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Winner Announced on November 12th