September 21, 2012

On the Library Table - The Whirling Girl, Barbara Lambert

Clare Livingston is an acclaimed botanical artist, known for her paintings of rare and endangered plant species.  As a child, she adored her uncle's tales of ancient cultures and delighted in the archeological games they played together.

Now recovering from a messy divorce, she learns that she has inherited property from her long estranged uncle.  To my niece Chiara, with forgiveness, said his will, and Clare travels to Tuscany to explore her legacy, longing to find traces of the relative who left when she was a mere teenager.    A wounded spirit and long a practitioner of convenient untruths, she is also hoping for answers to a lifetime of troubling questions and redemption of some sort, although she knows it not.

At her uncle's estate, Clare discovers tantalizing hints about a rare archeological find on the property.  She finds herself caught up in a circle of rural Tuscan aristocrats and pursued romantically by two archeologists who are also in search of her late uncle's discovery.  Even the aged caretakers of the estate seem have agendas of their own.

Little by little, the lies Clare has been telling herself (and others) undermine her fragile sense of self, and the single shining truth in her life, her work as an artist, begins to unravel.  Certainly she must seek and excavate the ruins on her late uncle's estate, but first and foremost she must excavate the foundations of her own existence and find her own truth.

Reading Barbara's lovely opus, one thinks of the memoirs of Frances Mayes and Annie Hawes, but she makes the sunlit Tuscan world all her very own, and how it shines - the billowing landscape and rare light of the place dance in this book, and they seem to hold out redemption of their own.  Every single word in the book sings, and from first to last, it is a treasure - I was sorry to finish it.

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I am delighted to be able to give away a copy of Barbara's gorgeous book to a Canadian reader.  If you are interested, leave a comment here by midnight on September 30, or in the alternative, send me a message (my address can be found on the CONTACT tab at the top of this page).  A winner will be announced on October 1, and a shiny new copy is yours to read and enjoy.

1 comment:

christinalfrutiger said...

I would love to have this very, intriquing sounding book as my roots are steeped in Italy somewhere but alas I am American born, so cannot be entered in the drawing.
I however, love Canada and in fact just returned from my beloved, Loon Lake, B.C. I took yarn to a very, lovely, elderly friend of mine there who is going to knit me a sweater...plain, with the Canadian maple leaf in the center...over my heart! :)