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5.0 out of 5 stars Fall Under the Spell
Simply stated, Vreeland has delivered a novel full of passion: for life, for love, for art, and for betrayal. The prose is lyrical, provocative, and moving. It opens with young Artemisia testifying in papal court during Italy's Renaissance after being raped by her father's artist friend. The betrayal of her father's friend pales in comparison with the plot set against her...
Published on Nov. 8 2002 by Hippolytos

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3.0 out of 5 stars Great story, poor writing, good audio tape
Oh, how I wanted to like this novel. But the writing is second-rate, at best. The story is of Artemisia Gentileschi, the great post-Renaissance painter, contemporary of Galileo. She is raped as a young woman by a colleague of her painter father, and tortured to test the "truth" of her accusation. Later, she goes on to become a recognized artist with commissions...
Published on Feb. 15 2004 by Joanna Daneman


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5.0 out of 5 stars Fall Under the Spell, Nov. 8 2002
By 
Hippolytos (Washington, DC) - See all my reviews
Simply stated, Vreeland has delivered a novel full of passion: for life, for love, for art, and for betrayal. The prose is lyrical, provocative, and moving. It opens with young Artemisia testifying in papal court during Italy's Renaissance after being raped by her father's artist friend. The betrayal of her father's friend pales in comparison with the plot set against her by her own father. To escape Rome and her sullied reputation, Artemisia enters a loveless arranged marriage with a fellow painter and moves to Florence, Italy's art center. We follow Artemisia through her tentative marriage, her celebrated birth of a child, and the success of a female artist unparalleled during her time. All of her success cannot make up for her attack, her father's ruination of her reputation, her husband's jealously, and her child's imperiousness.
I stayed up all night to finish the book, as I could not put it down. It sweeps you into this woman's life and passion for her art, through which she learns the powers of rage and forgiveness. Highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Review from MyShelf.com, July 6 2002
By 
Nancy L. Mehl "Author" (USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
"At some times in our lives, our passion makes us perpetrators of hurt and loss. At other times we are the ones who are hurt - all in name of art. Sometimes we get what we want. Sometimes we pay for another to get what he or she wants." I looked at Palmira apologetically. "That's the way the world works."
Artemisia Gentileschi from THE PASSION OF ARTEMISIA
THE PASSION OF ARTEMISIA, is the story of Italian artist Artemisia Gentileschi. (1593-1653). The novel opens with Artemisia as a teenager. She has been raped by her painting teacher, a friend of her father's, but keeps the secret of the outrage because he tells her he loves her and promises to marry her.
Artemisia's father discovers the truth and files charges against Agostino Tassi. The young girl finds herself a participant in a papal court. Her cruel treatment at the hands of the court, the realization that her father's actions are not fueled by concern for her, but by his own selfish motives, and the release of her abuser, lead Artemisia to accept an arranged marriage to a stranger. However, she is grateful to leave Rome and go with her new husband to Florence, a city rich in artistic heritage.
Artemisia attempts to follow her passion - her painting - while hoping that she can also finally find the kind of love that holds no betrayal or pain. But is there room for both in her life? And what will be the cost if she follows her dream?
THE PASSION OF ARTEMISIA is another masterpiece painted from the heart of its author, Susan Vreeland. Like GIRL IN HYACINTH BLUE, Susan's previous novel, the reader is pulled into the dimness of the past and the existence of a world long gone. Susan breathes life into the shadows and brings Artemisia and those around her into vibrant and living color.
Reading a novel penned by this great talent is like stepping out of one existence into another. Losing yourself in the stories that Susan Vreeland paints is a breath-taking and wonderful excursion - one everyone who loves to read should experience.
THE PASSION OF ARTEMISIA has my very highest recommendation.
...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Touching Journey of a Well Known Woman in the 17th Century, April 10 2008
By 
Teddy (Richmond, BC) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Passion of Artemisia (Audio CD)
As the book opens, we find Artemisia, Italian Painter, at age 18 in court. At first it appears that she is the accused, however she is the witness being put through a painful form of torture to make sure she is telling the truth. The truth is that she was raped by the painting instructor hired by her father. Her father is more interested in getting his painting back than objecting to the torture his daughter goes through. He gets the painting back before the trail is over and drops the rape charges.

We follow Artemisia through all of her ups and downs, her marriage, child, and her extraordinary painting. She was a woman before her time and holds her head high. She ends up supporting herself and her daughter though her painting.

This touching story is written in beautiful prose, like the paintings of Artemisia herself. I felt as if I was there in the 17th century, experiencing Artemisia up's and down's with her.

The only complaint I have is that Vreeland chose to close the book at the end of Artemisia's father's death, rather than give closure to how Artemisia lived out the rest of her life. She however does give show important closure between Artemisia and her father.

I listened to the audio CD version of this book. The narrator, Bermingham Gigi was quite amazing. She has a beautiful voice that enhanced the characters and story, rather than detracting from, as sometimes happens with audio books.

I highly recommend this lovely and engaging story of a strong woman in Italian history.
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5.0 out of 5 stars You'll be passionate about this book, July 27 2004
By A Customer
I came upon this book by accident and this may indeed be the reason for its success for me--it wasn't over-hyped or suggested by a friend as the "next best thing." Having known nothing about "Artemisia," I purchased this book because I enjoyed "Girl in Hyacinth Blue," yet another book I found on my own. Let me tell you, this book is so much better. While reading the descriptions of the scene on each page, it is easy to put yourself right there and imagine yourself living in Italy in the 1600s. For example, while describing the herb garden at the convent, you can almost smell the oregano described on the page. Few authors have this kind of talent. Also recommended, but not over-hyped: THE BARK OF THE DOGWOOD
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5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating!, May 18 2004
By 
M. Roudabush (Los Angeles, CA United States) - See all my reviews
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I had studied Artemisia in a Women's Art History class in college, so I had some idea about her biography. And I think Vreeland did an amazing job of stringing out a believable tale of what her life was really like. This book really captured the essence of "Judith" and offered a believable account of what Artemisia must have been thinking when she painted it. It's the only Susan Vreeland book I've read (and the least known, unfortunately!), and I can't wait to read another! I couldn't put this one down!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Why Can't More Books Be Written Like This?, May 7 2004
By A Customer
This book was so beautifully written, I could not put it down! It is about the true artist Artemisia, who lived in the 1600's in Europe. At the beggining of the book, she has to be put on trial for her own rape. She is accused of being a whore and has to endure the sibille (a series of ropes tied to your fingers, attached to a screw that is turned tighter and tighter) while being questioned.
Then she is married off to a stranger, who happens to be a painter. They get along okay at first and have a beautiful daughter, Palmira. But then she has to choose between staying with her husband and going off to become a painter.
Which path will she choose? Read it to find out!
I loved the characterization! I felt like I was right there in the room with Artemisia. It was beautifully written and I read it in just two days!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Vreeland's Artemisia: Incandescent, May 1 2004
By 
Katherine Frederick (Bridgeport, WV United States) - See all my reviews
Vreeland's character of Artemisia brings to life a 400 year old story, revising the myth surrounding women in art. Here is a strong woman full of passion, overcoming adversity to fulfill her basic necessity: the need to paint. Her visions were innovative, and her will unbreakable. Vreeland captures the harsh reality of the patriarchy and displays humanity at its finest and its worst. It is under this construct that Artemisia struggled, and we struggle today, with the constant purgatory of the artist versus Woolf's "angel in the house". This book is a worthy historical account written in the truest emotions of fiction. Brava, Susan Vreeland.
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5.0 out of 5 stars a novel of . . . novel substance, March 26 2004
By A Customer
Pardon the pun, but this is a novel approach to a novel subject, taking the form of a novel. Like Vreeland's GIRL IN HYACINTH BLUE, the canvas she paints is extrordinary and beautiful, with it's well-drawn characters and moving descriptions. The trial involving the rape is an especially heart breaking and disturbing scene as well as an unfortunate comment on human nature (or the lack thereof).
THE PASSION OF ARTEMISIA is destined to become a classic.
Also recommended: McCrae's BARK OF THE DOGWOOD
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4.0 out of 5 stars Italian canvas, March 12 2004
By 
Laudan Tehrani "TehraniGirl" (Charlotte, NC United States) - See all my reviews
This book certainly hooks you in early. I couldn't put it down and I knew nothing of the real Artemisia Gentileschi, so I had no other story to compare to. I found this book fulfilling in some places and disappointing in others. I can see with Susan Vreeland's description all the beauty of seventeenth century Italy; Rome, Florence, Naples, Genoa, she paints a vivid portrait of a struggling and talented woman.
While some places I thought came off the pages and touched me, others left me hanging and a little sad. I don't really think she had a rich life just for her wonderful paintings, what about love? She never did have love. Arranged marriage, a womanizing cheater for a husband, befriends a distinguished man and yet nothing more than friendship blossoms. She lives her entire life as a struggling painter working for comissions and taking care of her daughter. I was rooting for Artemisia, I was hoping since life hadn't been so great to her, something was going to turn around in her favor.
It isn't a bad story, it should be read at least once, it has some beautiful lines and some great characters. I liked it, but had Susan Vreeland made the character a little more anxious about love and attaining love, perhaps I would have liked it even more.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Great story, poor writing, good audio tape, Feb. 15 2004
By 
Joanna Daneman (USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Oh, how I wanted to like this novel. But the writing is second-rate, at best. The story is of Artemisia Gentileschi, the great post-Renaissance painter, contemporary of Galileo. She is raped as a young woman by a colleague of her painter father, and tortured to test the "truth" of her accusation. Later, she goes on to become a recognized artist with commissions from the Medicis and other nobles of Italy and England.
The writing is embarrassingly flat and unsurprising. Though occasionally, Vreeland has a fine passage about the art of seeing, most of the telling is pedestrian. After the exciting first chapters, this novel falls flatter than a coat of latex.
The audio tape is a good production, the narration by Gigi Bermingham is wonderful, with the actress able to produce character voices with changes in timbre and tone, effortlessly. Her Italian pronunciation is perfection. Sad that she must be reading second-rate material. I enjoyed the tapes, the book, but I wish the writing had excelled. Vreeland can do better. Wish she had done so here with the rich material at hand.
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