5 stars · history · young adult

A Golden Web by Barbara Quick

A Golden Web

Author: Barbara Quick

Pages: [hardcover] 266

Favorite Characters: Nicco & Pierina

Memorable Quote: “But history has lately been revealed to me as the place where I live, where we all live, side by invisible side with others who – if we get quiet enough and listen carefully enough – will touch us and tell us their stories.”


Alessandra is desperate to escape.

Desperate to escape her stepmother, who’s locked her away for a year; to escape the cloister that awaits her and the marriage plans that have been made for her; to escape the expectations that limit her and every other girl in fourteenth-century Italy. There’s no tolerance in her quiet village for Alessandra and her keen intelligence and unconventional ideas.

In defiant pursuit of her dreams, Alessandra undertakes an audacious quest, her bravery equaled only by the dangers she faces. Disguised and alone in a city of spies and scholars, Alessandra will find a love she could not foresee — and an enduring fame.

In this exquisite imagining of the centuries-old story of Alessandra Giliani, the world’s first female anatomist, acclaimed novelist Barbara Quick gives readers the drama, romance, and rich historical detail for which she is known as she shines a light on an unforgotten — and unforgettable — heroine.


 This book had me from the start. The writing style of A Golden Web had me feeling like a was reading an old fairy tale, mixed with a piece of history. It was quickly paced, easily read, and enjoyable from beginning to end. It certainly makes me appreciate how many opportunities I have in life in this time period, as opposed to a girl my age in Alessandra’s time. I’d hate to be married off, or forced to forget my own wishes for the future. These are exactly the sort of things that she faces, and has to fight against.

I love Alessandra’s rebellious stance, and how she tries to keep herself happy and get what she wants. She doesn’t try to bend to any other’s will, and I like this independence about her. She was very likeable-an important trait in any character-and had definition to her. She wasn’t flat or boring in the slightest.

I loved the historical aspect of the book. Beginning it, I half believed it was pure fiction, but when I reached the end and realized that Alessandra had indeed once been alive, the novel took on an entirely different context for me. I’m always up for learning a bit of history, and knowing someone could push the limits in this way just makes me think of where the world would be today, if it weren’t for those who pushed against society’s boundaries.

I found A Golden Web to be a quick, delightful read that will definitely stick around with me for a while. I give it 5/5 stars, and recommend it to those who like history, strong female characters, or a great read.

fiction · young adult

A Golden Web – Blog Tour – Tens List

Today I’m happy to welcome Barbara Quick, author of A Golden Web, to my blog! As part of the tour, she provided a fun list of top disguises to wear.

Top 10 Disguises to Wear

  1. A fly on the wall. Whether you’re an aspiring writer or actor, watching and listening unobserved will help you create three-dimensional and fully believable characters.
  2. Yourself as a boy. Alessandra Giliani did it in A Golden Web because it allowed her to study medicine at a time when females were barred from the university. There are places in the world right now where parents are cross-dressing their girls as boys to allow them to get an education
  3. Yourself as a child. Remember—really remember—what it felt like before the world tried to talk you out of being who you really are. It’s a big help in remembering what’s important to you.
  4. Yourself at the end of your life. There’s nothing like a fantasy of The Very End to help you notice and appreciate the sweet details of your daily life.
  5. A pair of someone else’s shoes (particularly if he or she is someone who seems to be dense, mean, unfair or all three). Fiction writers have to learn to love their villains, too.
  6. An evening gown, a push-up bra and a flower in your hair. (Certainly no explanation is needed.)
  7. A mud queen. Turn over some earth and plant something. Allow yourself to get dirty. Remember that the Earth is your mother.
  8. Julia Child or some other Iron Chef. Download a recipe for something highly delicious you’ve only eaten or seen at restaurants. If something jumps out of the frying pan onto the floor, discreetly throw it back in.
  9. Rock star. The closest I ever got to this one was doing a reading and book signing in Fairbanks, Alaska, in the dead of winter, for my first novel, Northern Edge, when the weather outside was 35 degrees below zero. Lots and lots of people came to see me. (Fairbanks will always have a special place in my heart!).
  10.  A dancer in Carnival! Take it from me: There’s nothing like a set of wings and sequins to put you in a cheerful mood.

Thanks so much, Barbara! This list definitely made my day.

Please check out the rest of this awesome tour, and come back June 1 for my review of A Golden Web!

Sunday, May 15: Ashley at Basically Amazing (Review)
Monday, May 16: Christie at The Fiction Enthusiast (In Her Own Words)
Tuesday, May 17: Erika at Moonlight Book Reviews (Character Interview: Alessandra)
Wednesday, May 18: Danna at Friendly Reader (Review)
Thursday, May 19: Britta at I Like These Books (Guest Post)
Friday, May 20: Lexie at Last  Exile Words (Review)
Saturday, May 21: Julia at Rex Robot Reviews (Video Interview)Sunday, May 22: Melissa at Mel’s Books and Info  (Review)
Monday, May 23: Kayla at Caught Between The Pages (Tens List)
Tuesday, May 24: Arya at Sea of Pages (Teenage Garage Sale)
Wednesday, May 25: Julia at Rex Robot Reviews (Review)
Thursday, May 26: Corrine at Lost For Words (Cover Post)
Friday, May 27: Kathy at I Am A Reader, Not A Writer (Review)
Saturday, May 28: Cindy at Books Complete Me (Video Interview)

Sunday, May 29: Britta at I Like These Books (Review)
Monday, May 30: Sandy at Pirate Penguin Reads (Editorial Interview)
Tuesday, May 31: Lexie at Last Exile Words  (Character Interview )
Wednesday, June 1: Kayla at Caught Between The Pages  (Review)
Thursday, June 2: Melissa at Mel’s Books and Info (Into the Past)
Friday, June 3: Jessica at A Fanatic Book Blog(Review)
Saturday, June 4: Danna at Friendly Reader (Guest Post)

Sunday, June 5: Christie at The Fiction Enthusias (Review)
Monday, June 6: Kathy at I Am A Reader, Not A Writer (Character Tweets)
Tuesday, June 7: Ashley at Basically Amazing (Tens List)
Wednesday, June 8: Erika at Moonlight Book Reviews (Review)
Thursday, June 9: Kari at A Good Addiction (Video Interview)
 Friday, June 10: Cindy at Books Complete Me (Review)
Saturday, June 11: Jessica at Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile (When I’m Not Writing)