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Nonna's Book of Mysteries (Alchemy #1)

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  55 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
At age fourteen, all Emilia Serafini wants is to learn to paint so that she can become an artist. But painters' apprenticeships for young women don't exist in the Florence of Renaissance Italy. The odds appear stacked against her until she receives a fascinating book, A Manual to the Science of Alchemy. It once was her grandmother's and Emilia turns again and again to the ...more
Paperback, 354 pages
Published June 3rd 2010 by Lake Street Press (first published January 1st 2010)
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Jun 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
What I think I enjoyed the most about this book was how wonderfully strong, determined, and smart the protagonist is. Emilia Serafini is a fourteen year old girl coming of age in Renaissance Italy, and all she wants is to be a painter. This is not a typically achievable goal for a woman in that time period, but Emilia refuses to give up, even fighting against the marriage her father has already arranged for her.

To help her, Emilia relies on her book, A Manual to the Science of Alchemy, a tome th
Margo Tanenbaum
Jun 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
Author Mary Osborne's trip to Florence inspired this engaging novel of Emilia, a young girl in 15th century Florence who dreams of becoming an artist. Very few women became artists at this time, and while her mother is supportive, her father is eager to have her understand "the way things are in the world." However, he indulges her and allows her to apprentice with a local artist, while disguised as a young boy. When her deception is revealed, she is dismissed, much to her dismay.

Emilia finds s
Cindy Hudson
Aug 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
Florence in the 1400s was a world center for painting and culture. But the guild tightly controlled who could be licensed as a master painter, and girls and women were not allowed on their list. Still, fourteen-year-old Emilia Serafini lives for her art, and she’s desperate to find a way out of the marriage her father has planned for her. So she turns for guidance to a book her mother gives her that has been handed down through generations in her family: Manual to the Science of Alchemy.

But the
Feb 21, 2012 rated it did not like it
Fourteen-year-old Emilia wants nothing but to become a painter, but during the fourteenth century in Italy, that’s near impossible. That is, impossible until Makarios, a foreign painter recognizes her talent and asks her to become his apprentice. As Makarios’s apprentice, Emilia gets more worldly exposure and maturity, and through an old family treasure, she gleans wisdom.

At first, this book seemed really interesting—it’s talking about Renaissance Italy! How could someone write a boring book i
Jul 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Emilia's dream of becoming a painter doesn't look promising, after all, it is only the 14th century and women did not have opportunities such as this. Emilia's parents decide to let her pursue her passion and take painting lessons. The only thing is, she has to pretend that she's a he.

She is emotionally shattered when her identity is uncovered and she can no longer take lessons. Her mother ends up giving her Nonna's Book of Mysteries and Emilia ends up learning a lot about herself and her famil
Rebecca Stachniak
Feb 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I highly recommend this book to anyone. It is well researched in both art history and alchemy. The plot has some wonderful plot twists and I think the main character is a good and strong role model for girls. It is important to reinforce how far women have been able to advance with even basic rights. Emilia has great skill and should be allowed to paint like any boy.
Jan 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
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Jul 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
In Renaissance Italy, 14 year old Emilia doesn't really fit the mold of the other girls her age. While her father despairs of her ever marrying, Emilia longs to paint and be recognized like the male artist of her time. Emilia dresses like a boy just to get a chance to work under and learn from one of Italy's most revered talents. But when an accident reveals Emilia's true identity, she is fired and she is once again forced to face the fact that her dreams may be unattainable.

Shortly after anoth
Aug 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book took me to places I never expected. Nonna's book of mystery is a wonderful story full of magic, courage, and love. this book narrates the story of a young lady named Emilia who dream with become a artist ( a painter) but there is only one problem: girls are not allow to be artist, as a profession.

Throughout the story Emilia had a lot of choices to make referring to her future as a painter, and also her love life. in her fourteenth birthday he received book of alchemy that has been from
May 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Anyone with an affinity for reading will greatly appreciate and enjoy Mary Osborne's testimony to the strength of the human spirit and the will to succeed. Main character, Emilia Serafini, combats a malicious and cunning villain, appropriately named Villani, for her freedom to express herself and her love for God. At odds against the social conventions of the 1400s, Emilia never looses her desire for and commitment to painting.
Nonna's Book of Mysteries is a delightful story accompanied by a fe
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The Young Adult H...: Nonna's Book of Mysteries - March's Read 3 5 Mar 20, 2015 11:13PM  
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Mary A. Osborne is the award-winning author of Alchemy’s Daughter and Nonna’s Book of Mysteries. Her stories were inspired by travels to Tuscany and the walled village of Certaldo—home of medieval author Giovanni Boccaccio—where Ms. Osborne envisioned her young heroines slipping through the narrow, cobbled streets and ancient piazzas. Reading about alchemy, including work by C.G. Jung, gave her th ...more
More about Mary A. Osborne...

Other Books in the Series

Alchemy (2 books)
  • Alchemy's Daughter