266 Pages (Hardcover)
April 6, 2010
Alessandra is desperate to escape.
Desperate to escape her stepmother, who's locked her away for a year; to escape the cloister that awaits her and the marriage plans that have been made for her; to escape the expectations that limit her and every other girl in fourteenth-century Italy. There's no tolerance in her quiet village for Alessandra and her keen intelligence and unconventional ideas.
In defiant pursuit of her dreams, Alessandra undertakes an audacious quest, her bravery equaled only by the dangers she faces. Disguised and alone in a city of spies and scholars, Alessandra will find a love she could not foresee -- and an enduring fame.
In this exquisite imagining of the centuries-old story of Alessandra Giliani, the world's first female anatomist, acclaimed novelist Barbara Quick gives readers the drama, romance, and rich historical detail for which she is known as she shines a light on an unforgotten -- and unforgettable -- heroine.
If you are a fan of historical fiction, you should check this one out. It was quick, interesting, inspiring tale of Alessandra Giliani, Italy's first anatomist (who may or may not have actually existed). Part biography, part fiction and part cinderella story,A Golden Webis a book you want to check out.
Alessandra was lucky enough to grow up in the country where she was allowed to ride, play games, study and read like a boy. That is until her stepmother deems her actions unacceptable for a women and starts the process of finding her a wealthy husband. Alessandra wants nothing less than to be married. Getting married would strip her of her freedom, and quite possible kill her in childbirth like it did her mother. What Alessandra wants is to go to Bologna to get her degree in philosophy so that she may be admitted to the school of medicine. A women studying medicine would be accused of being a witch, and quite possibly killed. But even that is not going to stop the very intelligent and determined Alessandra. She realizes that in order to get what she wants, she has to hide not only her identity, but her gender as well.
I really enjoyed this story. I loved all the characters, the plot and the realistic nature of how the time period was portrayed. I love historical fiction, and I love Italy, so maybe I'm biased... But regardless, Alessandra is a strong female character, drastically ahead of her time, and that is something alot of people can appreciate. She goes behind the backs of people she loves, risks her life, gives up comfort and domestic luxuries to transcends the limits put upon her, and prove not only what she is capable of, but what women in general can achieve.
The ending! Gosh, I'm not gonna say much about it. But wow, not what I was accepting... Not what I was hoping for... You'll see what I mean.
So in short, if you like historical fiction, try this one out. It was a very quick read and an inspirational and entertaining story.