One of my bucket list reading goals is to read all seven novels Susan Vreeland wrote. She is a sublime author who has taught me so much fact in her fiction, ranging from the treatment of women in Italy in the 1500s to how to make stained glass windows and Tiffany lamps. Her detail is amazing, but never boring. Her sentences flow with a poetic vibe that strikes a chord in any sensitive reader.
I did not know there was a female painter in Italy in 1500 whose fame rivaled Michaelangelo, and indeed, her paintings were greatly influenced by him. Her name was Artemisia Gentileschi, and the multitude of things she achieved during her lifetime in spite of a vindictive, jealous, uncaring father, whose friend raped her, arranged a marriage of convenience to an “adequate” painter in order to save his own reputation, and a daughter who disappointedly had no interest in painting. She embarks on a “lifelong search to reconcile family life, passion, and genius.” The book itself is a work of art. She is definitely a pioneering woman, ahead of her time and because of this suffered for her art. A sensitive story, including a search for meaning and peace on a spiritual level, Passion is one of Vreeland’s best novels.