Caletti, Deb

One Great Lie

(2) YA Charlotte--a dreamy, tenacious eighteen-year-old from Seattle--thinks she has what it takes to become an author: largely, "the will and intention of an artist." When she's awarded a scholarship to attend a workshop in Venice led by her novelist idol, literary darling Luca Bruni, Charlotte jumps at the opportunity to develop her craft, make powerful connections, and research her ancestor, sixteenth-century Venetian poet Isabella di Angelo. Sumptuous descriptions bring the cityscape to life as Charlotte basks in both Venice's haunting beauty and (at least at first) Bruni's intoxicating presence; on the side, a cute local-history scholar helps her uncover more about Isabella's fate. Close narration keeps Charlotte's shifting feelings of wonder, enlightenment, and vulnerability at the forefront; the third-person perspective allows readers to see clearly what Charlotte cannot admit about her teacher's predatorily flirtatious behavior toward students. The tension breaks when Bruni turns his attention to Charlotte, and she must finally face the truth about him. The fallout from his advances shatters her literary fantasies and she quits the program, but a discovery about Isabella's history draws Charlotte back to Venice--on her own terms--for a quietly triumphant conclusion. Caletti (A Heart in a Body in the World, rev. 11/18; Girl, Unframed, rev. 9/20) weaves the lives of these two striving artists together with an expert hand, with chapter headers profiling dozens of real-life, little-known, subjugated female writers from Isabella's era, highlighting parallels in women's--especially female creative artists'--stories throughout history.


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