I'm incredibly excited to have it out there in the world at last, and for the wonderful reviews it has been receiving (Kirkus gave it a star). It's published for the older teen market, but it has plenty of crossover appeal for adults (as indeed do a lot of YA books these days).
I've got a blog tour scheduled for November, with interviews, guest posts, giveaways, and more--the full schedule is posted at my website. I'll be posting links daily on my personal blog.
I'm also conducting a giveaway to celebrate Passion Blue's release. You can enter to win one of 3 great prize packs: a signed hardcover, Passion Blue swag, and a $25 Amazon gift card. Please feel free to post the giveaway on Twitter, Facebook, etc., or to feature it on your blog. Thanks so much!
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Download an excerpt
Be sure you know your true heart’s desire, or you may find yourself surprised by what you receive.
This is the warning the Astrologer-Sorcerer gives Giulia when she pays him to create a magical talisman for her. The scorned illegitimate daughter of a Milanese nobleman, Giulia is determined to defy the dire fate predicted by her horoscope, and use the talisman to claim what she believes is her heart’s desire: true love and a place where she belongs–not likely prospects for a girl about to be packed off to the cloistered world of a convent.
But the convent of Santa Marta is full of surprises. There are strict rules, long hours of work, and spiteful rivalries…but there’s also friendship, and the biggest surprise of all: a workshop of female artists who produce paintings of astonishing beauty, using a luminous blue mixed from a secret formula: Passion blue. Yet even as Giulia begins to learn the mysteries of the painter’s craft, the magic of the talisman is at work, and a forbidden romance beckons her down a path of uncertainty and danger. She is haunted by the sorcerer’s warning, and by a question: does she really know the true compass of her heart?
Set in Renaissance Italy, this richly imagined novel about a girl’s daring journey towards self-discovery transports readers into a fascinating, exotic world where love, faith, and art inspire passion–of many different hues.
PRAISE FOR PASSION BLUEA rare, rewarding, sumptuous exploration of artistic passion.
- Kirkus (starred review, editor’s pick for Fall 2012)
Vividly set during the 15th-century Italian Renaissance, Strauss’s novel has a strong and thoroughly likable heroine who is only one of many well-developed female characters.
- School Library Journal
Giulia’s unusual story is sure to capture readers’ attention.
- Publishers Weekly
I don’t just like Passion Blue, I love it...I simply galloped through it.
- Jane Yolen, author of The Devil’s Arithmetic
Strauss combines the spiritual with a hint of the supernatural to tell a story about a girl’s journey to both freedom and passion. A lovely read.
- Megan Whalen Turner, author of The Queen’s Thief series
An elegant retelling of that old, crucial story of finding one’s place in the world, set against a vivid evocation of the Italian Renaissance.
- Robin McKinley, author of The Hero and the Crown
A glimpse of 15th century Italian life as sure-handed and brilliantly illuminated as the work of a Renaissance master…Passion Blue is both a soul-felt journey and a triumphant work of art.
- Meredith Ann Pierce, author of the Darkangel Trilogy
A lush, vibrant read that is utterly transporting.
- Lesley Livingston, author of the Wondrous Strange series