One Great Lie: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

“She will imagine a ghost library of all the other books that aren’t there, and will never be there. All the voices and stories of women behind one kind of wall or another. Voices and stories stolen by thieves.”

One Great Lie by Deb CalettiWinning a scholarship to a writing workshop should be a dream come true for Charlotte Hodges. The workshop is led by Luca Bruni, Charlotte’s favorite author of all time at his private villa in Venice.

Being in Venice also gives Charlotte the chance she’s longed for to look into her ancestor Isabella Di Angelo. For generations, Charlotte’s family has held onto the knowledge that Isabella wrote a very famous poem that’s taught in just about every school now. A poem that’s always been attributed to a man. Without concrete proof, the true authorship is more family lore than fact. Charlotte hopes this summer she can change that.

Arriving in Venice, Charlotte finds the city more picturesque than she could imagine. But the villa is also more secluded–isolated, really. Bruni is even more charismatic in person. More brilliant. But he’s also much more erratic and, as Charlotte and the other young women on the retreat begin to realize, much more unsettling.

With help from an Italian grad student named Dante, Charlotte begins to uncover the truth about Isabella and the stolen poem. But as some secrets are revealed, Charlotte will have to decide if she wants to speak out about others about Bruni in One Great Lie (2021) by Deb Caletti.

Find it on Bookshop.

One Great Lie is written in close third person following Charlotte’s perspective. Charlotte is white as are most characters although there is some diversity among the other students at the retreat. Each chapter in the book is prefaced with a brief epigraph detailing a different female writer from the Renaissance and the reasons why her works are not as well known as they should be or, in many cases, as they could be.

From the beginning the prose is so charged–the foreshadowing so deliberately ominous–that are immediately drawn in waiting for the ground to fall out from under Charlotte; knowing that it’s only a matter of time before a writing retreat that seems too good to be true is proven to be just that.

Charlotte’s work dismantling her admiration for Luca Bruni after witnessing his predatory behavior firsthand connects well to Charlotte’s efforts to prove Isabella’s authorship of a poem previously attributed (and stolen by) a prominent male Renaissance poet. Themes of feminism play out in both plot threads as Charlotte sees firsthand the damage Bruni has wraught while researching the ways her ancestor Isabella’s poem was stolen.

A sweet romance with Dante and Charlotte’s growing love for Venice tempers the otherwise tense narrative.

One Great Lie is a tautly paced novel filled with evocative settings and suspense as Charlotte unearths the truth and tries to right an historical wrong.

Possible Pairings: Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly, Da Vinci’s Tiger by L. M. Elliott, You Too?: 25 Voices Share Their #MeToo Stories by Janet Gurtler, Blood Water Paint by Joy McCullough, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab, Love and Olives by Jenna Evans Welch

In which I post for the thousandth time (and share another poem I wrote–this time with an art history angle!)

So. This is my 1000th post here on Miss Print!

Since I actually noticed the milestone I figured it was a fine one to mark.

And since I’m on a poetry kick, it seemed like a fine one to mark with another poem I wrote. Since this is a milestone marking the passing of time, I decided to share a poem I wrote in 2008 about dying. This is inspired by an art history motif (momento mori) that reminds people death is unavoidable. I always liked the way the name sounds and the fresco in the poem made an impression when I learned about it in my Renaissance art class. I also liked the inscription and how it sounded so I decided to write a poem around it. And this might sound incredibly self-centered but it’s a poem I think about a lot. I really like it. I hope you do too.

Here it is:

Memento Mori

 

In 1428 Masaccio made a fresco for a Florentine church.

At the bottom of the picture

beneath the Holy Trinity

he put a skeleton illusionistically painted as though within a tomb.

An inscription above the would-be tomb reads:

“I was once what you are,

and what I am you will become.”

We are so fragile.

But no one seems to notice,

living with eyes half closed.

Pretending that a life so brief is time enough.

(This poem is an original work by me. Copyrighted. Please don’t steal it.)

Linktastic!: Literary Edition

Dear readers, I have a problem. Everything I see on Twitter is interesting. And I keep favoriting tweets with links for future reference. And then I never get back to them and never get to share them with anyone.

That stops with this Linktastic! post. I’m trying to use themes in these posts–a goal that will eventually become too lofty I am sure–so think of today’s as bookish or literary in nature:

  • Stephanie Perkins is getting ready to wrap up her loosely-connected trilogy of companion books with the forthcoming Isla and the Happily Ever After. With the release of the new book there will also be new covers for the other novels in the series Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door. While I adored the original covers and am crushed we won’t get to see Isla on the cover, I really like the new ones too! I think they’ll have wider appeal and I really like the overall design. I’m finding more every time I look at the covers (perhaps including some clues about what to expect in Isla) and just generally think they’re a lot of fun. You can see the covers at Shelf Life.
  • Continuing the romance theme: Flavorwire has an article by Emily Temple about the 10 Greatest Dystopian Love Stories in Literature. NOTE there is a fairly ENORMOUS SPOILER in the blurb for Never Let Me Go so skip that part if you haven’t read it. Actually, a lot of the summaries are spoiler-filled so just remember that I warned you. Of the ten I’ve read Never Let Me Go, 1984, The Hunger Games, Watchmen and I watched the mini-series of The Stand when I was really young and don’t actually remember anything but the religious undertones. I think some of the choices are interesting as a lot of these books have much more going on that . . . you know . . . being romantic. I’m not even sure 1984 qualifies but I did read it a while ago.
  • I’ve recently discovered I’m highly invested/interested in comic books even though I essentially never read them. I can and will debate the merits of comics as a reading format or the superiority of Batman over Superman but don’t ask me about recent plot developments. Case in point: Did you know Bruce Wayne had a son?! Did you know his son was Robin?! Did you know DC is planning to kill him off according to CBC News?!?!!??!!?
  • After some research and a loaner from Nicole, my mom recently got a Kindle Paperwhite to solve some of her vision problems while reading (in that she couldn’t). We’re really pleased with it. As the resident librarian I’m especially pleased at how easy it is to get books onto the Kindle as I can completely circumvent the Overdrive App (if you don’t know what that is, just be grateful). After seeing this article from librarian Dan Messer about why he hates the Nook I’m feeling even better about that decision.

The Curiosities: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

What happens when three talented writers decide to write  short stories and pieces of flash fiction every week to hone their craft and share with each other? If those three authors are Tessa Gratton, Maggie Stiefvater, and Brenna Yovanoff you end up with a website called MerryFates.com and, a few years and novels later, you also get a short story collection featuring such oddities as a vampire kept in a box for luck, a small town re-visioning of the Arthurian legend, and school for children to dangerous to be in the real world–because they are demi-gods.

The Curiosities: A Collection of Stories (2012) by Tessa Gratton, Maggie Stiefvater, and Brenna Yovanoff is, as the title suggests, a collection of short stories. But it’s also a lot more than that. Starting with the email exchange that inspired the project, The Curiosities is also a guide through the creative process of three talented writers.

Find it on Bookshop.

Already filled with inspiring stories, The Curiosities takes things one step further with a tantalizing guide through each story. Each story is introduced by two of the three authors. Footnotes, commentary and informative sketches can also be found throughout as the women reflect on their own writing and growth as well as the strengths found in each others’ stories.

Aspiring authors might find the overall package would have been complemented by a fuller explanation of the inspiration for some stories, particularly when a prompt was involved. With notes printed in each author’s own hand, the matter of deciphering who is writing in the margins also takes some time.

The Curiosities is a clever, wry collection that takes standard anthology conventions and turns them upside down. Filled with stories to inspire and amaze, this one is sure to appeal to readers who are meeting the authors for the first time as much as it will to long-standing fans.

In fact, Nicole and I had so much fun reading the stories that we were inspired to start a similar project this month. Little Women Stories is already up and running. You can find stories from Nicole and myself there every month. (August’s stories are already posted and so is September’s prompt if you want a preview of what to expect next month.)

Possible Pairings: The Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick

*This book was acquired for review from the publisher at BEA 2012

Miss Print Book Club in March 2012

I hope March is starting off in the right direction for all of you, dear readers. I run an online book club which is getting ready to read a new title for the next two months and wanted to tell you all about it.
For March and April my online book club is reading Fracture by Megan Miranda. I really enjoyed the writing in this book as well as the story and I think it has a lot worth talking about. Fracture is a short book so I hope some of you can fit it in and discuss it a little bit because I really think it has a lot going for it.
If you’re not already familiar with the club and want to see what it’s about (or how to join), you can find the information here: http://missprint.wikispaces.com/
You can find the current book’s page here: http://missprint.wikispaces.com/Fracture
The discussion questions are already posted and ready to, er, discuss here: http://missprint.wikispaces.com/message/list/Fracture