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The Pumilio Child

4.38  ·  Rating details ·  47 ratings  ·  34 reviews
The Pumilio Child is a dark, unsettling thriller that challenges the perception that Italy during the Renaissance was cultured and refined. The day-to-day reality was surprisingly barbaric.

Ya Ling’s cultured life of privilege in Beijing is cruelly cut short when she is abducted and shipped to the slave market in Venice. When celebrated Renaissance artist Mantegna sees her
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4.38  · 
Rating details
 ·  47 ratings  ·  34 reviews

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Nov 08, 2018 rated it did not like it
My issues with this book are never-ending. If I were to attempt to explain them all, I'm afraid this review would be longer than the book itself.

If you enjoy historical fiction with next to zero actual historical facts, then this book is for you. Unlike most every other reviewer of this book, I expect more from an author that chooses to take on this genre.

Set in the mid 1400's, this is a story about a young virginal girl, Ya Ling, that is kidnapped from her upper crust family in China and traff
Jeanette Heidenberg
Apr 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Pumilio Child is a deeply moving historical novel that tells the story of Ya Ling, a young girl who is kidnapped from her home in China and sold into slavery in 15th century Italy. The author, Judy McInerney, found her inspiration for this book in the famous Camera degli Sposi frescoes by Renaissance painter Andrea Mantegna. And just like Mantegna, she has a remarkable way of creating a story that feels three-dimensional. The characters are multifaceted and relatable. The sounds, smells and ...more
Di Paterson
Apr 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Pumilio Child is an amazing book, which tells the story of Ya Ling, a Chinese girl who is sold into slavery in Renaissance Italy. Her story is interwoven with that of a master painter, and the power struggles in Mantua at the time. But it is Ya Ling's strength that shines through. She endures cruelty and subjugation, but she never allows despair to take over, so with innate strength and intelligence, and a fair bit of Confucian philosophy, she fights to find her way home.

The book is enthral
Yvonne (It's All About Books)

Finished reading: February 23rd 2019

"It is nature. And the will of the Divine. That's how life is. Cruel and unfair. We may question the injustice, but we both know we are powerless against it."

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Anne Cater and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

(view spoiler)
Feb 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-books-read
I do enjoy a spot of historical fiction, especially when it’s set during such an evocative time period. Not only does this novel bring to life Renaissance Italy, it also features a main character from Beijing. I love anything to do with Eastern history so I knew that these two cultures blended together would make a fascinating read for me.

I must admit that initially it took me awhile to warm to our heroine, Ya Ling. What happens to her is horrific, she is stolen from her privileged family on th
Apr 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: pigeon-books
The Pumilio Child by Judy McInerey is an intriguing, colourful, gripping tale about slavery, healing, cultural differences, superstition, cruelty and human trafficking in the Middle Ages from China to Italy. This is one of the best researched, well-detailed stories I've read.
I cannot recommend this book enough to those looking for a gripping, period novel that draws the reader in and leaves an indelible mark, both sad and beautiful. This story evoked many emotions in me. Anger, disappointment, h
Apr 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Pumilio Child is a disturbing read since it dashes so many illusions about the Italian Renaissance to smithereens. It's the story of a young Chinese-Mongolian girl, Ya Ling, who is abducted on the eve of her wedding and sold as a slave in Venice. There, she is purchased by the artist Mantegna, who at first is keen to capture her beauty in paint, but later forces her to sleep with him. We get a vivid glimpse of the artist's family life--he's deeply in debt as the Gonzagas of Mantova, the ruli ...more
The Idle Woman
Nov 06, 2018 rated it it was ok
Over the past year, while working on Mantegna (I'm an art historian), I’ve often though it a shame that there aren’t more novels about him. He had the kind of life that cries out for fiction and so, when I stumbled across this novel on Netgalley, I couldn’t resist. But I didn’t get on with it terribly well. It isn’t just that I found it hard to engage with it as a piece of historical fiction – though I did – but I found myself growing increasingly frustrated by the numerous errors, which could h ...more
Cheryl M-M
Feb 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Ya Ling is a young, bright and talented woman, who lives a life of luxury in Beijing. Shortly after her betrothal she is brutally kidnapped, and in matter of months goes from an important wealthy woman to a mere concubine. Bought by a painter, who insists he wants to paint her beauty, but never actually paints her. His attitude towards women and his servants is a complete contradiction to the exquisite art he creates.

What the author captures beautifully is the way the worlds of East and West col
Helen Ball
Mar 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
When I closed the pages of the Pumilio Child for the final time I held the book against my chest, took a deep sigh and had to take a moment to reflect on the journey I had just taken. From the hutongs of 15th century Beijing to Renaissance Italy and through 400 years of female survival… and then I immediately picked up my phone and spent the next two hours on Googling images of the frescos described in the book, along with the barbaric practices at the birth of the ‘modern age’.

The story opens i
Lel Budge
Feb 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: blog
The Pumilio Child by Judy McInerey is historical fiction at its best and is a gripping tale about kidnap, slavery, cultural differences, superstition and cruelty in the 1400’s China and Italy.

If you love a historical novel that just pulls you along and that touches your heart a little….this is for you…its both sad and yet beautiful.

An emotional read that’s for sure….the whole gamut, fear, horror, disgust and anger and hope, it will put you through the wringer…..

Ya Ling is such a deep character
Gail Wylde
Apr 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pigeonhole
I loved this book from start to finish. It gripped me right from the beginning and I don't think it will let me go any time soon! This was a rollercoaster of emotions, leaving me breathless at times. All the characters were very strong, I loved Ya Ling, almost from the opening of the book. Some of the male characters will bring out the worst in you. The historical facts will leave the reader gasping with how some things were in Renaissance Italy. I'm finding it hard to write the review without g ...more
Nov 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I wished for this on #Netgalley because I was intrigued by the book description. I am so glad I received a copy for review as this book kept me entranced from start to finish.
The early part of the book focuses on Ya Ling's upbringing in China, as the spoiled daughter of 2 renowned Beijing healers. It is her healing knowledge and Confucian wisdom that sustains her once she reaches Renaissance Italy, where the remainder of the book is set.
The Pumilio Child is rich in detail, with strong characters
Jennifer Lynch
Jan 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
The Pumilio Child tells the story of Ya Ling, a young Chinese girl who is abducted and sold as a slave the day after her betrothal by a man considered a family friend. She is taken to Italy where she is then purchased by the Renaissance artist, Andrea Mantegna. Ya Ling vows to remain strong and find her way home to Beijing.
I wanted to like this book but, in the end, I found it a real struggle to finish. I didn't like Ya Ling. I don't feel she is a character I can empathise with and I found her
Alison Alice-May
Apr 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was a most unusual book. It starts in China and ends in Italy. There is one fabulous strong female character who grows with each turn of the page. She is kidnapped just before her wedding and taken as a slave to Italy. She is high born and virginal, unaware of the ways of a foreign country and its people. The whole book is a difficult read as there are periods of torture and general unkindness throughout. It is well worth it though as the author uses her carefully researched knowledge to gu ...more
Apr 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was an absolutely fascinating account of a young Chinese girl Ya Ling who was abducted and sold as a slave on the eve of her betrothal. The story takes the reader on Ya Ling's journey from Beijing to renaissance Italy and how she triumphed through adversity and what a journey it was. The author's research into this period was thorough and I was appalled at some of the brutality that was common place at this time. A breathtaking story which made me sad, angry and even made me smile at times. ...more
Apr 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had the opportunity to read this via the PigeonHole along with many other and most especially with the author!! This is a tale about a custom in 15th century Italy that no-one really wants to talk about but is very prevalent. It features strong women, cruelty from men and women, survival, and most especially endurance! The main character, Ya Ling, suffers most cruelly but rises above and this is her tale, very well told!
The descriptions bring the time to life and made me, as a reader, feel ev
Anusha Jayaram
Apr 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was a wonderful read! Incredibly detailed and well-researched, spanning vastly different cultures and people, it had me hooked right from the first chapter. I read The Pumilio Child online, via ‘The Pigeonhole’, which offers authors – a lot of new voices - a platform for their work.
It's ironic to think I almost did not read this book! I did not particularly enjoy my last read on Pigeonhole, and was therefore not too keen to invest time in another book that might cause disappointment.
An usual and enthralling story that mixes China and Renaissance Italy.
I loved this book even in the darkest moment as well as I liked the description of Renaissance Italy, so well researched and without the usual cliches.
The main character was wonderful, a strong and lovely woman that grows with each page read.
The entire cast of characters is well written and the style of writing is great.
A real page turner that you cannot put down.
Highly recommended!
Many thanks to Unbound and Netgalley for this
Shelagh Wadman
Apr 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a fantastic read! I loved the storyline and its main character soon to be married Ya Ling who was kidnapped from her home in Beijing and taken to Italy, sold as a slave to Mantega a renowned artist who treated her terribly. She overcame all the heartache to become a respected Healer in the Palazzo. The Pulimio children’s growth was stunted so that the could be sold for entertainment to the rich and famous! A story of love, pain, resourcefulness, revenge and triumph! I enjoyed this novel imm ...more
Liz Deakin
Apr 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a fascinating book, I was completely gripped from start to end. The characters were well written and very colourful, I was thoroughly mesmerised. The story, centres around Ya Ling whom is kidnapped from her home in Beijing and sold to a well renown artist in Italy. We follow Ya Ling through her trials and tribulations until the novel cumulates in the most exceptional ending. The story is tragic, cruel, heart breaking and ultimately heart warming, most certainly worth a read. I highly recomm ...more
Claire Busuttil
Apr 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just finished tbis novel and I highly recommend it. It takes you into an era where power, reputation and fear of sin and execution where the basis of society. A journey of endurance, of heartache and hope. A story of deprivation, the price of human life based on simple greed, secrets, abuse, love and soldiarity. A rollercoaster of emotions that keeps you wanting more. Very well research, and the author writes in such a way that you feel like you unknowingly part of the story as well. Will defi ...more
Sue Maynes
Apr 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This story details the darker side of life in medieval Italy. Stolen from her family in China, Ya Ling not only survives the slavery she is forced into, but rises above the abuse and the pain inflicted on her to becomes someone greater than those who hurt her. The research behind the story, the weaving of the various threads, the intriguing addition of the Pumilio, is done with excellence. A very good story.
Sue Jenkins
Apr 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A most engrossing read. I enjoyed reading about Ya Ling, who has to endure so much throughout her life after being kidnapped from a life of riches in Beijing and taken to Venice during the Renaissance period and sold to a painter. Despite her appalling treatment, she shows great endurance and determination. This was a well researched book and certainly opens your eyes to what went on during this time to create the Pumilio children!
Apr 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This wonderful and often unsettling tale engages you from start to finish. It has it all from slavery to the corrupt court, the famous fresco painter Mantegna and evokes the times vividly. It's always the sign of a good book when it has piqued your interest that you have to investigate further for yourself. Judy has a wonderful way of keeping up the pace and delivering shocks and surprises. I thoroughly recommend it.
Zelda Rhiando
Jan 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Pumilio Child takes a great premise, and follows it unflinchingly through the twists and turns of life in Renaissance Italy. Ya Ling is a very strong character, and the juxtaposition of her early life in Mantua versus her experiences in Venice works particularly well. By turns heartbreaking and horrifying, it’s a great read. Recommended!
R Y Fowler
Apr 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
An interesting story, with lots of historical detail underpinning the narrative. The story covers a lot of ground and so can feel a bit rushed in places, but ultimately delivers a satisfying conclusion.
Nicola Mackenzie-smaller
I found this a little slow to start, but once it got going it really got going. This book covers horrifying historical events in Italy, through the story of a Chinese girl trafficked and sold to the painter Mantegna and covers fascinating detail, by way of a gripping drama. Highly recommended.
Apr 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Many thanks to The Pigeonhole for the opportunity to read this pre publish book . Epic , excellent , intricate . Fantastic read . Thoroughly recommend .
Ya Ling is kidnapped from her well-off Chinese family and sold in to slavery in 15th century Italy. Mantegna, a Renaissance artist, buys her with money that he can't really afford to spend, and takes her home to a very disapproving wife and household.
Ya Ling is admirable calm and stoic through all of her trials and tribulations, and eventually work as a respected healer, as her family taught her back in China.
The author really makes you feel for the characters in her novel - pity and later pri
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