"I read Book One of the Miramonde Series and enjoyed it immensely. I love Amy Maroney's writing and have got completely caught up in the world she has created. "
"Book 2 of The Miramonde Series, continues the mesmerizing tale of a Renaissance-era female artist and the modern-day art scholar who risks everything to learn her secret.
1504: Artist Mira wants nothing more than a peaceful life by the sea, painting portraits of wealthy merchants. But when she and her new husband try to help a friend, they are catapulted into a series of dangerous adventures that leave them scrambling to survive.
2015: Art scholar Zari races through France, working feverishly to connect Mira with a series of masterful unsigned portraits. Meanwhile, an academic rival peddles his theory that the works were made by a famous male artist. Will Mira be lost to history forever?"
I read Book One of the Miramonde Series and enjoyed it immensely. I love Amy Maroney's writing and have got completely caught up in the world she has created. Mira is a very believable character, shaped by her experiences and she is talented, determined, but real, rather than feisty. The accompanying cast of characters are equally well-drawn and I really feel that I've come to know them all. The modern-day story of Zari's struggles with the snobbish academic world are equally well written and I really sympathised with her frustration as she continued to try to prove that Mira was the real artist of the paintings. It is a plus point that Zari's story is not just about the paintings and the past, but includes her on-off relationship with Wil, the charismatic Dutchman. The path of true love never did run smooth and Wil seems determined to prove the adage.
Much of the back story is explained but I do feel readers would benefit from having read The Girl from Oto first, as it added a greater depth of understanding for me having met all these characters before. This is a classic tale, by which I mean that the characters are on a physical journey and these journeys are punctuated by drama; new characters appear who move the story along, or tie up certain parts of the plot, and there is always a sense that all these separate strands will be pulled together. Reading this, as I did with Book One, I felt like I was in good hands and that the author knew exactly where we were going.
I only had two very tiny niggles. The first is the use in the early fifteenth century of the word 'gobsmacked' which is a word that has only come into use in Britain in my lifetime and it sort of jumped off the page a bit. The other is the ending. I won't give away any spoilers but I wished the book could have ended in a different way, or a slightly different place, but this is a measure of how much I enjoyed the book. (You'll understand, once you read it.)
I believe there is a prequel to these books and I am keen to read it. I really didn't want to leave this world and that's testament to the power of Ms Maroney's skill as a storyteller.
© Annie Whitehead