My college studies were in art history so when offered a book about a woman striving to pursue a career in art in the 17th century I was immediately excited. I thank Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for sending me a copy of A Light of Her Own by Carrie Callaghan at no charge for my honest review.
About A Light of Her Own:
Publication Date: November 13, 2018
Hardcover; 320 Pages
In Holland 1633, a woman’s ambition has no place.
Judith is a painter, dodging the law and whispers of murder to become the first woman admitted to the prestigious Haarlem artist’s guild. Maria is a Catholic in a country where the faith is banned, hoping to absolve her sins by recovering a lost saint’s relic.
Both women’s destinies will be shaped by their ambitions, running counter to the city’s most powerful men, whose own plans spell disaster. A vivid portrait of a remarkable artist, A Light of Her Own is a richly-woven story of grit against the backdrop of Rembrandt and an uncompromising religion.
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About the Author:
Carrie Callaghan is a writer living in Maryland with her spouse, two young children, and two ridiculous cats. Her short fiction has appeared in Weave Magazine, The MacGuffin, Silk Road, Floodwall, and elsewhere. Carrie is also an editor and contributor with the Washington Independent Review of Books. She has a Master’s of Arts in International Affairs from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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A Light Of Her Own tells the story of Judith Leyster – a woman who actually lived and was the first women admitted to the Haarlem Artist’s Guild. In the book Ms. Callaghan imagines her apprentices with Frans de Grebber and becoming friendly with his daughter Maria. Both girls are training to be painters but only Judith feels the drive to become an artist and and start her own studio. It’s highly unusual for a woman of her time but she knows she has the talent and she wants to show it can be done.
Maria on the other hand just feels that her talent is insufficient to make up for her failings as a Catholic in a city where her religion is forbidden. She feels she needs to atone for any number of personal sins so she embarks on a journey for her father to find a lost relic and this ends up almost costing her her life.
There are also a series of seemingly unrelated subplots involving the guilds, a murder, linseed oil, lepers and virgin’s blood. I know that sounds totally bizarre and in some ways it is but trust me, it does all eventually make sense and come together in what I found to be an interesting read. I will say that having an interest in art and art history is going to make this book a more compelling read that if you don’t know your Rembrandts from your Picassos.
During the Blog Tour we will be giving away 2 signed hardcovers of A Light of Her Own! To enter, please see the Gleam form below.
– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on December 7th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
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– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.