"She arrives glowing from the effort of running, strands of red hair coming loose from her kerchief (she tucks them in, marks on her neck like bruises on fruit. A few minutes late but not enough for anyone to mention it. Is almost surprised to find herself in the wards once more amid illness and suffering (on an evening such as this). Her mind is elsewhere."
Having posted information about this book when I got it from the library, I know the seven chapters are peopled by girls and women caught in the act of reading, and the book celebrates women in culture over the last seven centuries.
This first chapter is about "Simone Martini, Annunciation, 1333," and now I'm curious about why she's late, why she has bruises on her neck, what she's doing amid illness and suffering in the wards, and what's on her mind that is "elsewhere." Like Tracy Chevalier's Girl With a Pearl Earring, this novel revolves around art. I've already discovered the cover is a close-up of the artwork above. Each woman in each chapter is, as it were, caught reading. Who are these women, and will we be told what they're reading?
Gilion at Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Fridays. Click here for today's Mister Linky.