Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Who says that all Italian women of the 1400’s accepted their fate without question?  Why should they accept that the sciences were privy only to men?  One woman, Alessandra Gilliani of Persiceto dared to differ and follow her dream. No one could suppress this young girl's quest for knowledge.
A Golden Web, by Barbara Quick, is a story of hope and inspiration to women of all times.  Alessandra, still in her  teens dreamt to learn grander things.  She wanted to study medicine in the great University of Bologna (the oldest University in Europe). 
Alessandra was the second of three children living with her loving father and wicked stepmother.  Albeit her knowledge of reading and writing- which she had astutely learned through her father (whose business was the production and selling of manuscripts and illuminated books- a lucrative venue of the times), Alessandra was denied the right to even consider pursuing her studies.  Her stepmother had other plans for her, which included the convent and a marriage of convenience.
Alessandra never gave up on her dream.  She went along with a betrothal (without ever seeing her bridegroom) and also agreed to the convent life...for awhile.  Having learned how to ride and fend for herself with the help of her brother, Nicco, Alessandra had a plan of her own: to escape and finally study at the University. 
This would include a phenomenal change in her lifestyle...But nothing could stop her.  Alessandra would conquer her dream and quench her thirst for knowledge.  She secretly prayed to the Virgin- whose face was painted to the resemblance of her late mother...a special icon given to her by her father for her time of need.  Later, this icon would prove to be both a life saver, as well as her demise.
And what of her betrothed? ...A delicious surprise but not without a twist of tragedy...
Alessandra Gilliani would become the first anatomist woman in history- but at a very dear cost.
I loved this story as I thrive reading about women achieving their utmost.  Alessandra surprised me to no end.  I cheered for her as she made her way up the ladder reserved only for men.  But ultimately, Alessandra’s tragic life brought me to tears as I revered and mourned this true heroine.
This book took me completely by surprise; where I thought I’d be reading about a time in the 1400’s- I got more than I bargained for.  A Golden Web introduced me to a young woman that marked history unsung hero that contributed life, joy and science to the world by breaking barriers with her courage and youthful loving spirit.
A Golden Web is a quick, entertaining while informative historical read filled with love, courage and passion.  This is a story I will certainly cherish.  Thank you, Barbara Quick for writing this outstanding novel. After reading this, I look forward to reading all of this author’s books! I loved it.
Note:  At the end of the book, the author also includes a most interesting insight on her research (that is still ongoing!)- I was fascinated to learn about the real historical figures and the mystery behind Alessandra Gilliani-what a delightful bonus to an already fabulous read.
 Harper Collins is graciously giving away a copy of this superb novel to 1 Lucky US Winner. Thank you!
1 Chance: Leave a comment with your email
                                             1 Extra Chance every time you tweet, Facebook or post about this.
       5 Extra Chances for posting this on your Sidebar.
                Good Luck!  Winner Announced om Sunday, April 25th


Clarence Carlyle said...

Nicely reviewed. Came to your site while looking for reviews on the books that we are looking forward to keep in our office library.

Being an avid reader, I think the world of books is the most remarkable creation of man. Nothing else that he builds ever lasts except books. In their world, there are volumes that have seen this happen again and again and yet live on, still young, still as fresh as the day they were written, still telling men's hearts of the heart of men centuries dead.


Mystica said...

I like the story line as its an unusual one. Thank you for highlighting this book for us. Please count me in. I am a follower.


Alexa Adams said...

This is the first I have heard of the book, and it sounds enchanting. Thank you for the review and the giveaway!


Jenny Q said...

Great review Ms. Lucy! Sounds fascinating. Sign me up!

Lynn Irwin Stewart said...

I'd like to be entered in the drawing -- I'm a follower.

Rowenna said...

I shouldn't thank you for adding to my already precarious pile of books to be read--but this sounds fabulous! Thanks for the recommendation!

hyalineblue079 at yahoo dot com

Unknown said...

I, too never heard of "A Golden Web" this book sound like an interesting read.

nancysoffice at gmail dot com

Amy said...

Great review! I absolutely love anything dealing with Italian Renaissance. This sounds like a must-read!

Please enter me in the giveaway!

Linda said...

I'm intrigued by this story. I remember reading about the struggle here in the USA by Elizabeth Blackwell to enter medical school and yet this novel involves a woman's similar struggle 400 years earlier. Amazing!

Thanks for the giveaway, and I am a follower through Google Reader.

Anonymous said...

another great book I woule love to win

Roberta said...

Just love the girl on the's amazing how a cover can make you want to read the book and sounds like from your review this one is as good as it's cover. Off to post on my sidebar next...thanks Lucy!
Fondly, Roberta

The Insouciant Sophisticate said...

Please enter me in the giveaway!

stephaniefleischer889 AT gmail DOT com

Barbara Quick said...

Lucy, your review of my novel is one I will treasure. (I also cried while writing the end of Alessandra's story!) Gaining access to the hearts of readers is the most special thing that can happen to a novelist. I feel so grateful to you and all the marvelous book-lovers who are finding A GOLDEN WEB through the magic network of the blogosphere. Long live Alessandra Giliani! And long live stubborn and courageous girls and women everywhere!

Kate the Book Buff said...

I would LOVE to win this book! I'm really trying to branch out of all the English hisfic I read. This sounds perfect. I am a follower, and I also tweeted about this giveaway.

vvb32 reads said...

Can't resist. Sounds so tempting.
vvb32 at

Diane said...

This book sounds great! You've really sold it. :O)
estrella8888 at roadrunner dot com

Julie said...

I've heard a ton of good things about this book and really need to read it!

Unknown said...

I'd love to read this book!

lillyswistek at gmail dot com

brokenteepee said...

Please enter me.
Thank you
It's on my side bar at
kaiminani at gmail dot com

brokenteepee said...

thank you
kaiminani at gmail dot com

Martha Lawson said...

I would love to read this one. It sounds really good!

mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

Hot Off the Shelves said...

I would love a chance to read this. Please enter me.


Hot Off the Shelves said...

I posted a blog about this.


Teddy Rose said...

This sound so good! I love to read about strong women. I would love to win.

I am a follower.

teddyr66 at yahoo dot com

Terése said...

i would love this book.


Anonymous said...

This sounds like a fascinating book. I love it when the author researches well and uses it to make the story that much better. I had never heard of Allesandra, but will be finding out more about her.
Thank you for a good review.
I can't wait to read this book.
librarypat AT comcast DOT net

Unknown said...

The first time I saw this book, the cover just drew me it, it is so beautiful. I love reading about people who I have never heard of before but made an impact on the world. Wonderful review Lucy, I can't wait to read this.

Please enter me for the giveaway. I posted on my sidebar

I tweeted


Roberta said...

Just posted on Facebook :}!/profile.php?ref=profile&id=1222723325

Roberta said...

Added link to my sidebar...woo hoo!

brokenteepee said...

thank you
kaiminani at gmail dot com

Benita said...

Beautiful story. I'd love to read this.


Jenny Girl said...

Lovely review Lucy! But I would expect nothing less. I would like to read this book because of the subject matter, an historical woman who against the odds, tries to do what she wants for herself. Throw some university knowledg in there and I am all giddy with excitement. Thank you for the recommendation and contest.

Misusedinnocence said...

I follow and would love to read this. :)

Unknown said...

What an inspiring story. This is one to be shared with many young women who still feel they are trapped by tradition and beliefs. I eagerly anticipate reading this book.

I am a current follower through Google friend connect.

Please enter me in the giveaway.

bstilwell12 at comcast dot net

Unknown said...

I tweeted about this giveaway:

bstilwell12 at comcast dot net

Nicole C. said...

I would love to read this book!


Bombtastic Belle said...

Souns like a great read, thanks for teh chance!

brokenteepee said...

thank you
kaiminani at gmail dot com

SakiVI said...

I totally want to read this book!

brokenteepee said...

thank you
kaiminani at gmail dot com

Becca said...

No need to enter me in the contest, but I wanted to say what a well-written review. Looks like an interesting read.

Jenny said...

You make this book sound fun and fascinating! I'd love a chance to win it. Thanks for the giveaway!

Sandra K321 said...

I just found your blog and it looks like it has some very interesting reviews. I would love to be included in your giveaway (I just became a google friend follower.)

brokenteepee said...

thank you
kaiminani at gmail dot com

angie said...

I would love to read this!
I tweeted
email bangersis(at)msn(dot)com

Aik said...

1 Chance: I'd love to read this! Thanks!

5 Chances for posting this on your Sidebar

1 EXTRA Chance for tweeting:

aikychien at yahoo dot com

~The Book Pixie said...

I absolutely loved this book and would love to be able to have a finished copy of it! Please enter me. :D

+1 Tweeted:

+1 Facebook:!/profile.php?id=695450277&v=wall&story_fbid=111618782208844

+5 Sidebar:


brokenteepee said...

thank you
kaiminani at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

Thank you for making this available to us.

Lana said...

I wasn't quite as enamored with A Golden Web, but I have no doubt you will also love Barbara Quick's other work. I adored her Vivaldi's Virgins and highly recommend it if you haven't gotten around to it yet!

I did enjoy learning about a woman you so rightly term an unsung heroine, and I enjoyed reading your review as well. So I've linked to you here.

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