Wednesday, November 8, 2017

The Painter's Apprentice: A Novel of 16th-Century Venice by Laura Morelli (Book Spotlight & Giveaway!)

I'm very excited to be featuring Laura Morelli's newest release! I am currently reading it and loving the story. I was itching for a good historical fiction set in Italy, and this one is set in Renaissance Venice. Look for my review later this week.

Book Details:

Book Title: The Painter's Apprentice: A Novel of 16th-Century Venice
Author: Laura Morelli
Category: Adult Fiction, 482 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: The Scriptorium
Release date: November 15, 2017
Tour dates: Oct 16 to Nov 17, 2017
Content Rating: PG-13 (some adult situations but no sex or explicit violence)

Book Description:

Would you rather sacrifice your livelihood, your lover, or your life? When the Black Death comes knocking on your door, you’d better decide quickly.

Venice, 1510. Maria Bartolini wants nothing more than to carry on her father’s legacy as a master gilder. Instead, her father has sent her away from the only home she’s ever known to train as an apprentice to Master Trevisan, a renowned painter.

When the painter’s servants uncover the real reason why Maria has been sent away, they threaten to reveal a secret that could tear down her family and the future of their trade. She is forced to buy the servants’ silence, but as their greed steadily grows, Maria resorts to more desperate measures. She questions whether her heart’s desire is worth risking her family, her trade, and her future, but Maria’s sacrifices may amount to nothing if the plague arrives on her father’s doorstep before she is able to get back home.

From the author of the award-winning The Gondola Maker comes a rich tale of Renaissance Venice, a heroine with a lust for life, and love against all odds.

Buy the Book:

Meet the Author:

LAURA MORELLI holds a Ph.D. in art history from Yale University, has taught college students in the U.S. and in Italy, and currently produces art history lessons for TED-Ed. She authored a column for National Geographic Traveler called “The Genuine Article” and has contributed pieces about art and authentic travel to CNN Radio, The Frommers Travel Show, and in USA TODAY, Departures, and other media. Laura is the author of the Authentic Arts guidebook series that includes the popular book Made in Italy. Her fiction brings the stories of art history to life. Her debut novel, The Gondola Maker, won an IPPY for Best Historical Fiction and a Benjamin Franklin Award.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Pinterest ~ Instagram

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Ends Nov 25

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Thursday, November 2, 2017

Wanderers No More by Michelle Saftich (Review & Giveaway!)

Book Details:

Book Title: Wanderers No More by Michelle Saftich
Category: Adult Fiction, 290 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Odyssey Books
Release date: August 2017
Tour dates: Oct 23 to Nov 3, 2017
Content Rating: PG (Very little bad language (if any), kissing, references to sex but nothing actual or explicit, some violence in the way of school bullying - no major adult themes like abortion or suicide etc.)

Book Description:

The war may be over, but the fight to belong is just the beginning.

Left homeless, starving, and almost killed by the Second World War, the Saforo family are refugees fleeing Italy for a better life. The shores of Australia are calling to them and they head off, packing dreams of jobs, a home and… soccer.

But from the moment they get off the boat, adapting to the Australian way of life is harder than it seems. Their family doesn’t speak right, eat right or even look right. As they struggle to build a simple life against the backdrop of 1950s’ racism, they start to wonder if they will be outsiders forever.

A true family affair, Wanderers No More will make you laugh, remind you of your family, and warm your heart.

My Review:
Reviewed by Laura Fabiani

I have long awaited the sequel to Port of No Return, which I loved. (You can read my review here.) And once again, author Michelle Saftich has written a story that I devoured as it brought back my own experiences growing up as an Italian Canadian with immigrant parents.

Wanderers No More begins where Port of No Return ended, with the Saforo family and their friends leaving the displacement camp in Italy after WWII and on a ship headed to Australia. Although, it's a sequel, this book can be read as a stand-alone and still be immensely enjoyed.

The story is told through the eyes of a young Martino, only six when they land in Australia in 1950, until he is a grown man with his own family in the late 1970s. I loved this kid. I thought it a brilliant idea from the author to make him the main character and use his point of view to bring alive both the wonder of starting one's life over in a strange country to the hardships of being different, discriminated against, not knowing the language and the customs of this new land.

The Saforo family and their friends went from one immigrant camp to another, with few belongings, doing menial hard labor so that they could finally afford a modest house after being displaced for years. We get to see the hardships they endure, especially the children, who are bullied at school.  And the triumphs as they excel in soccer and the pride of doing so. It is a story of loss, survival, hope and joy.

I became so invested in this novel and its characters. The pages flew by effortlessly as I lived with them their immigrant experience, making me appreciate all the more what my parents and grandparents did for me. Never boring, filled with emotions and vibrant scenes that pulled at my heartstrings, Wanderers No More is a touching portrayal of a family's will to leave their war experiences behind along with their beloved country and start anew and make their dreams come true.

Based on true events from the author's own family, this is one of the best books I've read this year. I hope Michelle Saftich continues to write novels with heart that celebrate family life and the bond of friendship. If you like immigrant stories, this one is not to be missed.

To follow the blog tour and read reviews, please visit Michelle Saftich's page on Italy Book Tours.

Buy the Book:

Meet the Author:

Michelle Saftich resides in Brisbane, Australia. She holds a Bachelor of Business/Communications Degree, majoring in journalism, from the Queensland University of Technology.

For the past 20 years, she has worked in communications, including print journalism, sub-editing, communications management and media relations.
Born and raised in Brisbane, she spent 10 years living in Sydney; and two years in Osaka, Japan, where she taught English.

Her historical fiction novel, Port of No Return, was inspired by a true family story. It was published by Australian independent publishing house, Odyssey Books in 2015. Its sequel, Wanderers No More was released in August 2017. Michelle is married with two children.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook

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Ends Nov 11

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