The Falconer's Knot by Mary Hoffman
I'm not exactly sure how I came upon this book, it just seemed to appear in my book bag one day. I apparently put it on hold from another branch, it's not from my local collection. So if anyone wants to take credit for suggesting the book to me....
*we pause for a brief moment of Dinah going insane and sprinting about the apartment haphazardly*
I'm not familiar with Hoffman's other older series, Stravaganza, but after this delightful tale I may have to grab and read them! Or, at least they'll go on my reading list until I move.
Hoffman starts with a variety of people's stories: Chiara, who is being put into a convent against her will; Angelica, who is being courted by cute young nobles despite being married to a sheep farmer; Silvano, under suspicion for killed said sheep farmer; Isabelle, a woman who loses an unloved husband--but to murder in a friary? Chiara and Silvano, despite a lack of vocation, both find themselves at side-by-side convent and friary. Each is involved in colour making, preparation of materials to be used by famous artists working in the churches in Assisi. While Silvano is hiding out as his father searches for the murderer of Angelica's husband, more murders begin to occur at the friary.
The story lines start out very fractured and twine together slowly, making one bounce about for the first hundred pages wondering where Hoffman is going. Truly a storyteller--she fuses them all together for not entirely neat but realistic endings. Much time and detail is spent describing the processes used to create paints and used by artists during the time period, providing a wonderful depth to the text.
Although 300 pages, the book moves very quickly and leaves the reader curious to find out what else Hoffman has crafted.