Jennifer Wardrip's Reviews > A Golden Web

A Golden Web by Barbara Quick
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's review
Aug 27, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: trt-posted-reviews

Reviewed by Lynn Crow for

Alessandra has always been the odd one out in her family, more interested in reading scientific texts and exploring the forest with her older brother than proper feminine pursuits. She dreams of studying medicine and becoming a doctor - an unheard of ambition for a girl.

Her oddness draws the ire of her stepmother, who turns on Alessandra when her father's away. When her father agrees to arrange a marriage for her at her stepmother's insistence, Alessandra knows she must take desperate action.

Running to Bologna disguised as a boy, Alessandra quickly earns the admiration - and in some cases jealousy - of her fellow medical students. Finally, she is living out her dream! But how long can she keep up her deception? And what consequences will she face if she is discovered, in a time when women healers are often burned as witches?

A GOLDEN WEB is an inspiring historical tale. Quick creates an authentic picture of 14th-century Italy so vivid readers will felt as though they've visited it. Alessandra is a strong, smart, and sympathetic character determined to pursue the course she knows is meant for her, but still concerned about how this will affect her family. Her father and siblings are equally well-drawn and enjoyable to read about.

The tension rises in the second half as Alessandra takes the ultimate risk, and readers will have trouble putting the book down before they find out what becomes of her. Some may find parts lean more toward telling rather than showing, and a few major events feel rushed, but overall this is an engaging read for any fan of historical fiction.
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message 1: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Thank you for the lovely review of my novel, Lynn. You do a great job of summarizing the plot without giving away the story. I'm so glad that you felt inspired by Alessandra! I absolutely loved researching and writing A GOLDEN WEB--and I can't wait to share it with lots and lots of readers. Right now, the publication date on April 6 seems all too far away!

Have you read my novel VIVALDI'S VIRGINS? You might like that one, too. It was published by HarperCollins as an adult novel--but has crossed over to young adult readers at well. There's more on my web site (including a book trailer) at

Happy reading,

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