A Golden Web by Barbara Quick (Published by HarperTeen, April 6, 2010)
Alessandra Giliani is not like most girls in fourteenth century Italy. She is very intelligent and loves to read, even dreaming of someday being a scholar. But because she doesn’t behave as a proper lady should, her stepmother dislikes her, and is unkind to her. Alessandra would like to study medicine, but that is not proper for a young girl of her place and time. The only proper choices for a young woman are an arranged marriage or life in a convent.
When Alessandra learns that her stepmother, in her eagerness to get Alessandra out of the family’s home, has convinced her father to arrange Alessandra’s marriage, she is desperate to escape. Before her marriage, Alessandra goes to spend a time of solitude in a convent, and from there she is able to escape, disguise herself as a boy, and fulfill her dreams of studying medicine. However the future her father planned for her still awaits her someday and she may not be able to keep up her disguise forever.
A Golden Web is a fascinating and romantic historical novel based on the legend of Alessandra Giliani, who may have been the world’s first female anatomist. Barbara Quick brings Alessandra to life as a smart and courageous young woman who risks everything to live her dreams in a time when women had few rights and no power to decide their own futures. Highly recommended for readers who love historical fiction.
Disclosure: Review copy provided by publisher.