Blood Water Paint
A debut novel based on the true story of the iconic painter, Artemisia Gentileschi.Her mother died when she was twelve, and suddenly Artemisia Gentileschi had a stark choice: a life as a nun in a convent or a life grinding pigment for her father's paint.She chose paint.By the time she was seventeen, Artemisia did more than grind pigment. She was one of Rome's most talented painters, even if no one knew her name. But Rome in 1610 was a city where men took what they wanted from women, and in the aftermath of rape Artemisia faced another terrible choice: a life of silence or a life of truth, no matter the cost.He will not consumemy every thought.I am a painter.I will paint.I will show youwhat a woman can do.

Blood Water Paint Details

TitleBlood Water Paint
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMar 6th, 2018
PublisherDutton Books for Young Readers
ISBN-139780735232112
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Young Adult, Poetry

Blood Water Paint Review

  • Laura
    January 1, 1970
    I wish menwould decideif women are heavenlyangels on high,or earthbound sculpturesfor their gardensBut either way we’re beautyfor consumption. This was really quite powerful and beautiful and devastating all at the same time. It is based on the true story of Artemisia Gentileschi, an iconic painter from the seventeenth century. Blood Water Paint is written in verse for the majority of the novel with the exception of the stories of Judith and Susanna which are told in prose by Artemisia's mothe I wish menwould decideif women are heavenlyangels on high,or earthbound sculpturesfor their gardensBut either way we’re beautyfor consumption. This was really quite powerful and beautiful and devastating all at the same time. It is based on the true story of Artemisia Gentileschi, an iconic painter from the seventeenth century. Blood Water Paint is written in verse for the majority of the novel with the exception of the stories of Judith and Susanna which are told in prose by Artemisia's mother, who passed away when she was just twelve years old. And you should realize, love, that even the simple act of a bath is potentially world-altering. But then, you never see the beast until he is upon you. I'm going to withhold details of the plot, but if you know about Artemisia, you already know where this story will go. Fair warning that rape is unfortunately a part of her story. But damn if this isn't inspiring as hell. Between the stories of Susanna, Judith and Artemisia, there is just so much female strength. It is empowering. Because this story is only for you. The boys have all the tales they need of brave warriors and army captains. The writing is gorgeous and truly hooked me. It evoked emotion within me and even brought out such rage for these women and what it was to be a woman in the past. There are still issues today, but that doesn't mean I'm not thankful to be alive this century. I always love when I read a historical fiction novel and want to research everything I can after finishing. That's exactly what I did here. Artemisia's story is fascinating. Something has shifted,a glint in his eye,a thing that makes him monstrousbut could flip aroundand charm a queen. There are beautiful moments showing the disparities between gender roles, the expectations that fall upon Artemisia and what her future can and cannot possibly hold, the fact that she herself is her father's property until she marries - in which case she'd be considered her husband's property.To be honest, I had so many quote highlighted that it became hard to pick my favorites. The writing is definitely a star here alongside Artemisia's incredibly powerful story. Highly recommended!
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  • Elise (TheBookishActress)
    January 1, 1970
    This is a hard book to decently review. It's a verse novel, first of all. I think it's nigh-impossible to review a verse novel well. And this is not just a verse novel; it is a book that gets its chief power out of emotionality and importance.If you've read the blurb, you know this follows the story of 17th-century painter Artemisia Gentileschi. Or at least, the beginning of her story. When she was seventeen, Artemisia had taken on most of the duties at her father's studio and was preparing to m This is a hard book to decently review. It's a verse novel, first of all. I think it's nigh-impossible to review a verse novel well. And this is not just a verse novel; it is a book that gets its chief power out of emotionality and importance.If you've read the blurb, you know this follows the story of 17th-century painter Artemisia Gentileschi. Or at least, the beginning of her story. When she was seventeen, Artemisia had taken on most of the duties at her father's studio and was preparing to marry a trusted teacher. Yet it was soon discovered that this teacher was far less than the fine man he seemed. She was raped and violated by him, and forced to undergo a trial for her honor that was violating and involved torture on her part. After her full ordeal, the man who had raped her and destroyed the lives of multiple other women was given one year in prison. He was released after six months. This book is a powerful exploration not only of Artemisia's strength, but also of the strength of Biblical heroines like Judith and Susanna. It's an exploration of the power we have and the power we take, and it is absolutely, completely necessary.I don't necessarily think the prose was the best I've ever read, but it's certainly quite well-done. Verse novels can occasionally have a tendency to come off false, yet that is not at all a category this falls in to. This book is powerful and important and worthwhile and I cannot recommend it enough.Blog | Goodreads | Twitter | Youtube
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  • alice (arctic books)
    January 1, 1970
    Absolutely heartbreaking and amazing. Full review to come.
  • Mackenzi
    January 1, 1970
    I LOVE this book. Official blurb/review to come.
  • Danielle (Life of a Literary Nerd)
    January 1, 1970
    “I wish men would decide if women are heavenly angels on high, or earthbound sculptures for their gardens.” Wow. This book was so heavy and powerful and important. Blood Water Paint is a historical novel told in verse following the life of 17th century painter, Artemisia Gentileschi, from the loss of her mother at an early age to her rape and the trial that followed. Blood Water Paint is a moving story about women and power and resolve and it can’t be praised enough. Things I Liked This was s “I wish men would decide if women are heavenly angels on high, or earthbound sculptures for their gardens.” Wow. This book was so heavy and powerful and important. Blood Water Paint is a historical novel told in verse following the life of 17th century painter, Artemisia Gentileschi, from the loss of her mother at an early age to her rape and the trial that followed. Blood Water Paint is a moving story about women and power and resolve and it can’t be praised enough. Things I Liked This was so character driven in the best possible way. I feel like novels told in verse are incredibly internal and that worked so beautifully here. I felt Artemisia’s fear, frustration, and drive. She was real, so I connected with her on a personal level and her story affected me on a personal level. This entire story was a commentary on rape culture, agency, and power and I love how it was handled. Dissecting who’s believed, who’s valued, who’s punished through her art and her personal life was so raw and parallelled both beautifully and tragically. Along with the heavier topics, I loved that the story highlighted the importance of female solidarity and having allies who will believe and support you. I loved seeing Artemisia beginning to explore her own beauty and being a painter and defying societal expectations. We see her her incredible bravery, even in the face of public shaming and hatred.Quotes“My back aches not only from the weight of the child I bare, but from all I must carry as a woman.”“But that’s the thing about perspective. The slightest shift transforms the subject.” Things I Didn’t Like I don’t know if it was because this story is so heavy or if it was that blended with the historical period, but I felt like the story was a little long. It didn’t drag and nothing felt like filler, but the story did feel long.Blood Water Paint was a brilliant debut novel that explores and celebrates the bravery of a 17th painter who was not believed or valued because she was a woman, and is finally given her own voice. This was just a really important story and I’m so happy to have read it.I received a copy of the book from Dutton BFYR via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Rachael
    January 1, 1970
    ”She is not small. She is not weak. She will never, ever be feebleminded. And above all, she is outraged.” This was a hard book to read in more than one way – and I eventually just had to stop around the 75 percent mark because it was getting to be too painful. I usually reserve two- and one-star ratings for books that I don’t finish, but this was, honestly, an excellent book!! Just not for me. Artemisia Gentileschi is one of my favorite artists and her story is astounding and inspiring, and I ”She is not small. She is not weak. She will never, ever be feebleminded. And above all, she is outraged.” This was a hard book to read in more than one way – and I eventually just had to stop around the 75 percent mark because it was getting to be too painful. I usually reserve two- and one-star ratings for books that I don’t finish, but this was, honestly, an excellent book!! Just not for me. Artemisia Gentileschi is one of my favorite artists and her story is astounding and inspiring, and I’m sure Blood, Water, Paint is going to educate a lot of people who haven’t heard her story. I wish that the novel had covered more of her life; however, the book, or at least up until what I read, only covered a few months (though there were some flashbacks and interludes). This book also goes over the stories of Susannah and Judith from the Bible, who Artemisia depicted in many of her paintings. I felt at times that the chapters that were about them were easier to read than Artemisia’s sections.Historical novels written in prose have always been a niche favorite of mine, but the prose in Blood, Water, Paint was nothing to cry home about. It was fast-flowing, but there weren’t any “wow” moments where I had to put the book down and ponder on the beauty of the writing. I thought that the transitions from poetry-style to paragraph-style were a little confusing at times, and I wish that there had been quotation marks around the dialogue because sometimes I couldn’t tell who was speaking. I like to be sucked in and be uninterrupted with other thoughts when I’m reading, but the confusion around dialogue and the jilted transitions prevented that. I would still recommend this book to those interested in empowerment novels or Artemisia’s story, but potential readers should know this book contains a lot of triggering content, including rape, sexual assault, gore, and violence. But for people that aren’t bothered by that, this is a really worthwhile read that many have enjoyed and many will enjoy. I was provided an eARC copy through NetGalley in exchange for a complete and honest review-- Pre-read not to be dramatic but I just got approved for this on netgalley and Artemisia Gentileschi is one of my all-time favorite artists and I am dying at the thought of reading this
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  • Cindy
    January 1, 1970
    I just finished this heart-stopping debut and don't even quite have the words to describe it. Joy McCullough's verse is spare and evocative, and her rendering of Artemisia is compelling. But what really sets BLOOD WATER PAINT apart is the phenomenal exploration of women's stories and women's power (or lack thereof). The touches of surreal magic woven through add a depth and richness that turns this into the ultimate ode to a woman's incredible strength. Highly recommended! (This novel reads very I just finished this heart-stopping debut and don't even quite have the words to describe it. Joy McCullough's verse is spare and evocative, and her rendering of Artemisia is compelling. But what really sets BLOOD WATER PAINT apart is the phenomenal exploration of women's stories and women's power (or lack thereof). The touches of surreal magic woven through add a depth and richness that turns this into the ultimate ode to a woman's incredible strength. Highly recommended! (This novel reads very much like a crossover adult story, too—not much like traditional YA. If you liked THE PASSION OF DOLSSA, you'll love BLOOD WATER PAINT!)
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  • Amanda Rawson Hill
    January 1, 1970
    I read an early version of this and Wow! I've read a lot of verse novels in my life, the poetry in this was one of the absolute best. I couldn't put it down and it stayed with me for days. Honestly, it's been six months since I read and I still find myself thinking about it. This will haunt you in the best ways.
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  • Rachel Solomon
    January 1, 1970
    Possibly the most powerful book I've ever read.
  • Nicole Brinkley
    January 1, 1970
    Ellen Hopkins meets Ruta Sepetys in Joy McCullough's stunning debut novel. Artemisia Gentileschi is one of the most famous female painters in history—but first, she was a woman fighting for her own voice to be heard. This novel-in-verse tells the tale of her teenage years, of her stumbles into the women who would become the subjects of her most famous paintings and of the rapist who would take everything from her. Raw, unflinching, and ultimately hopeful, this is a must-read and a masterclass in Ellen Hopkins meets Ruta Sepetys in Joy McCullough's stunning debut novel. Artemisia Gentileschi is one of the most famous female painters in history—but first, she was a woman fighting for her own voice to be heard. This novel-in-verse tells the tale of her teenage years, of her stumbles into the women who would become the subjects of her most famous paintings and of the rapist who would take everything from her. Raw, unflinching, and ultimately hopeful, this is a must-read and a masterclass in telling a powerful story in few words.
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  • Dahlia
    January 1, 1970
    That was really incredibly done. It's so beautifully historical but thoroughly modern at the same time, and so skillful at its depiction and articulation of the male gaze vs. the female one. This made me want to go out and learn everything possible about Artemesia, which is my absolute favorite result of historical fiction based on real people. Just...so, so good.
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  • Shan
    January 1, 1970
    Beautiful. This is mostly written in verse, which was new to me but my YA-loving daughter tells me it's not that uncommon in young adult lit. The main story, based on the true story of the 17th-century painter Artemisia Gentileschi, is in verse, and the subplots about Bible characters Susanna (the one spied upon in her bath by lecherous elders) and Judith (the one who cut off the enemy army leader's head) are in prose. I expected it to be hard to get into because it looks like poetry, but the st Beautiful. This is mostly written in verse, which was new to me but my YA-loving daughter tells me it's not that uncommon in young adult lit. The main story, based on the true story of the 17th-century painter Artemisia Gentileschi, is in verse, and the subplots about Bible characters Susanna (the one spied upon in her bath by lecherous elders) and Judith (the one who cut off the enemy army leader's head) are in prose. I expected it to be hard to get into because it looks like poetry, but the story just takes over, regardless of the form. The Susanna and Judith stories begin as bedtime stories Artemisia's mother told her, but take on their own lives as the book progresses.The stories of the three women (Artemisia, Susanna, and Judith) are brilliantly woven together. It's a painful look into the lives of women in the past, and it resonates with recent events by its portrayal from the inside of women who weren't listened to, believed, or valued. The stakes were higher in those days but the story hasn't come to an end yet. I love this book. It's hard to believe it's a debut novel. The author's note at the end says it's actually the 10th novel she's written. I'm so glad she didn't give up!
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  • K.A.
    January 1, 1970
    It's not very often I read a book that understands much of the way my heart was broken so many years ago. That holds my hand and cries with me. That stands alongside me and stares the horror in the eye. These are not stories we like to talk about, not monsters we like to expose to the light. But they are stories that need to be told. And this story is one of them. BLOOD WATER PAINT is so powerful and empowering. The poetry, the art, the strength, the horror--the truth of what women go through ev It's not very often I read a book that understands much of the way my heart was broken so many years ago. That holds my hand and cries with me. That stands alongside me and stares the horror in the eye. These are not stories we like to talk about, not monsters we like to expose to the light. But they are stories that need to be told. And this story is one of them. BLOOD WATER PAINT is so powerful and empowering. The poetry, the art, the strength, the horror--the truth of what women go through every day of their lives, Artemisia's truth. From the book's form (which was perfect), to the fist I raise for all the women in this book. THANK YOU to the author for bringing this incredible woman's monsters into the light. Not many understand. But this story does. Highly recommended to men and women alike. But especially for the girls. This story blew my mind.
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  • Alyssa
    January 1, 1970
    This book is a beautifully tragic retelling of the story of Artemisia Gentileschi, a painter living in 17th century Rome. I cannot recommend it enough. Written in verse, this book simultaneously reveals so much in very little words while also describing details commonly left out in storytelling. I found that the verse style made the writing have a much greater impact on the reader, as it added a poetic feeling that flowed well but also showed the emotions of Artemisia in a way that made you feel This book is a beautifully tragic retelling of the story of Artemisia Gentileschi, a painter living in 17th century Rome. I cannot recommend it enough. Written in verse, this book simultaneously reveals so much in very little words while also describing details commonly left out in storytelling. I found that the verse style made the writing have a much greater impact on the reader, as it added a poetic feeling that flowed well but also showed the emotions of Artemisia in a way that made you feel you were in her thoughts.The issues presented in this book are characteristic of an ancient society, but are still strikingly relevant today. In this book, Artemisia is a talented painter but is held back by her gender, with her father taking credit for her work and Artemisia never being recognized or taken seriously. It also shows history through the point of view that we don't often get to see - that of a woman. Throughout the novel, the contrast of how events and people are portrayed and what is focused on when men get to tell the story compared to when woman do is an extremely important issue, that makes the reader consider what else they think they know is different because of how it has been passed on. The weight of a man's word compared to that of a woman is also touched upon in the course of the events, and as at this time women were often viewed as nothing more than a man's property it shows the deep roots of gender roles in society present still today. This book also deals with rape, an issue that can be impossibly hard to convey its effects, but the author does an incredible job of not leaving out details because they are hard to hear. It focuses on her healing and struggle between staying silent and telling the truth, and is something everyone should read about.Another important aspect of this story is it's portrayal of female role models, as it sheds a refreshing and empowering new light on famous historical and Biblical figures, as well as the ties of sisterhood and the mother-daughter bond. It illustrates how the shared experiences of women give unity and understanding to each other, as well as how we have come as a society due to the actions of the female leaders that came before us.Overall, this is a book that everyone should read. Its relevance to today and and incorporation of important issues makes this book a must-read, and its beautiful storytelling make it something you won't want to put down.Thank you to Vicky Who Reads and Dutton for providing me with an advanced reading copy in exchange for an honest review!
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  • Julie
    January 1, 1970
    This is hard to read. Not just because I'm not usually a verse person, but because it's so painful and real. Blood Water Paint is beautiful and haunting and it doesn't hold back. It tells the story of the women who have long been objects for men and the ways they fight back - a story that takes place in the past, but is painfully relevant today. I wasn't familiar with Artemisia before this book came to my attention and I'm so glad I've been given a chance to get to know her through this book and This is hard to read. Not just because I'm not usually a verse person, but because it's so painful and real. Blood Water Paint is beautiful and haunting and it doesn't hold back. It tells the story of the women who have long been objects for men and the ways they fight back - a story that takes place in the past, but is painfully relevant today. I wasn't familiar with Artemisia before this book came to my attention and I'm so glad I've been given a chance to get to know her through this book and hopefully through more to come.
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  • Heather Ezell
    January 1, 1970
    Gutting and beautiful and devastating and wholly inspiring. This is without a doubt the most powerful, timely novels I've read this year and I'm already eager to reread post-release.
  • Jen Petro-Roy
    January 1, 1970
    Brilliant.
  • Jessica Lawson
    January 1, 1970
    I read an early version of this and was SO impressed. The depth of feeling and the conviction of all of the women (no spoilers, but the artist is influenced by others who have faced IMMENSE challenges) ...this is a powerful, heartfelt, gritty, visceral story and the writing reflects that. I believe it's the kind of novel that can save lives. READ IT.
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  • Vicky Who Reads
    January 1, 1970
    5 starsBased on the true story of the iconic painter, Artemisia Gentileschi, Blood Water Paint is a stunning debut in verse on feminism, rape, and justice in a historical setting.Artemisia Gentileschi's mother died when she was twelve and she now lives with her father, painting his commissions as he signs his name on her work. Rome in 1610 is a dangerous place as men take what they want and Artemisia is faced with a choice between a life of silence or truth after her tutor takes advantage of her 5 starsBased on the true story of the iconic painter, Artemisia Gentileschi, Blood Water Paint is a stunning debut in verse on feminism, rape, and justice in a historical setting.Artemisia Gentileschi's mother died when she was twelve and she now lives with her father, painting his commissions as he signs his name on her work. Rome in 1610 is a dangerous place as men take what they want and Artemisia is faced with a choice between a life of silence or truth after her tutor takes advantage of her.This novel, told in verse, shows the ups and downs of Artemisia's heartbreaking story, tied in with the tales of the two ancient heroines Susanna and Judith.This book certainly lives up to its title as a stunning debut because it certainly is.If any of you have heard of milk and honey by Rupi Kaur (see my review here), it's like that--but a billion times better.I can't really comment on the verse aspect of this novel--this is the second novel I've read told in verse that wasn't a fully "poetry" novel, and so I don't feel experienced enough to comment on this. I did find it to have a nice rhythm and I liked how it utilized the left and the right side and italics and staggered lines, although I still sometimes read it like it was just a sentence rather than told in verse.There are non-verse parts that are short little inserts that might seem confusing as to what they are, but eventually become clear to be Artemisia's mother telling the stories of Susanna and Judith to young Artemisia.If you are unsure if you want to start reading this novel because you've never read a book in verse, I say go for it. If you liked milk and honey, then you should definitely go for this (it's got similar themes on rape, womanhood, etc., but told as an actual story rather than lines pasted around Tumblr). If you didn't like milk and honey (because of it's superficial-Tumblr-nature or because ofallthelinebreaks) then you should still go for this novel because it was very lovely and meaningful and had a plot and was more substantial in general.So basically, everyone should read this book because it's so good.The message was portrayed artfully (Ba dum bum crash! Get it? Artfully? Ok, moving on.) and I loved the emotion this novel stirred and how McCullough managed to approach the topic of rape so tastefully.There were so many quote-worthy sections and this entire novel, although very short as I read it in just over an hour, like this:I wish menwould decideif women are heavenlyangels on high,or earthbound sculpturesfor their gardens.But either way we're beautyfor consumption.Or this: I will show you what a woman can do.But it wasn't all Tumblr-worthy lines as a story was actually being told and things were happening. We see how Artemisia is dealing with her terrible situation of being the actual painter behind her father's work, and the introduction of her unknown-now-but-future rapist who she thinks likes her for herself. And then the fantasy shatters and he tries and eventually succeeds in raping her, leading to her own moral questions of does she stay silent or speak up--trying to clear her name despite the odds against her.It was done so well. We are introduced to her future rapist as if he was someone who might actually be decent, and then boom! He's not decent.I think McCullough worked with this topic very well, and I really love all the parallels and similarities drawn up throughout the book in the short stories of Susanna and Judith, both who struggled with battles women face against unspeakable, yet all-too-familiar violence that threatens all women.The connections McCullough draws between the stories are genius and I really loved seeing it all come together. I can't spoil everything, but i just really loved how the three storylines are connected by the strength of them being female and the sacrifices they make.McCullough has been writing this for as long as I've been alive (since 2001) and it really shows. She's wonderful at her craft, something not normally found in debut works, and I'm very excited to see what else she comes up with.It was all so interesting, and I just really enjoyed reading Blood Water Paint and was surprised by how good it was. It is much shorter than I wanted it to be, but it was very profound and had a huge impact that I loved reading. I would totally recommend this to everyone and anyone--this is another one to make the favorites list (two in one month!).Thank you to Joy McCullough and Dutton for providing me with an advance reading copy (through a giveaway) in exchange for an honest review!Blog | Instagram | Twitter
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  • Rachel Strolle
    January 1, 1970
    Super good & beautifully writtenTW: Sexual assault
  • Katherine Locke
    January 1, 1970
    Well that was outstanding. I suspect this will be a Morris finalist or winner, and a Printz honor or winner. It's that good. Lyrical and powerful. A book that'll stick to my bones for a long long time.
  • Niki Marion
    January 1, 1970
    TW: sexual assault, rapeThis verse novel will slice you up. It's visceral, raw, and unique in that it tells a tragically all-too-familiar story about an important figure in the art historical world that many teens might not know of: Artemisia Gentileschi. McCullough interweaves the stories of two famous women (and subsequent subjects of Artemisia's paintings), Susanna and Judith, to craft a distinctly female creative community and network of support during a time when there was none. The stories TW: sexual assault, rapeThis verse novel will slice you up. It's visceral, raw, and unique in that it tells a tragically all-too-familiar story about an important figure in the art historical world that many teens might not know of: Artemisia Gentileschi. McCullough interweaves the stories of two famous women (and subsequent subjects of Artemisia's paintings), Susanna and Judith, to craft a distinctly female creative community and network of support during a time when there was none. The stories of these two women are told in prose by Artemisia's mother, who died when the young artist was twelve but whose legacy and strength lives on through Artemisia's dedicated remembrance.These two stories are expertly interspersed between Artemisia's present-day narrative in verse. I particularly love the interconnectedness of theme and language McCullough creates to link Artemisia's poems; these bridges make the narrative exceptionally readable (in terms of narrative fluidity but not content, since it's rather heavy, especially for women who have experienced sexual assault). A book about the process of art, of healing from trauma, and of growing up in a world that unrelentingly asserts you're not good enough even as it uses you up.
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  • Sharon Roat
    January 1, 1970
    I read an early version of this gorgeous novel and it completely blew me away. I can't wait to get my hands on the finished book. Joy's writing grabs you by the heart and twists. Prepare to be breathless and awe-struck. Seriously. She's that good.REVISED TO ADD: I just read an ARC and whoa, it's even more stunning and gripping than I remembered. If you don't read historical fiction because you think it's not relevant, uh, hold onto your hat. I wish it weren't so timely. I hope there comes a time I read an early version of this gorgeous novel and it completely blew me away. I can't wait to get my hands on the finished book. Joy's writing grabs you by the heart and twists. Prepare to be breathless and awe-struck. Seriously. She's that good.REVISED TO ADD: I just read an ARC and whoa, it's even more stunning and gripping than I remembered. If you don't read historical fiction because you think it's not relevant, uh, hold onto your hat. I wish it weren't so timely. I hope there comes a time when it isn't. It's inspiring, though, to know that Artemisia was there hundreds of years ago, fighting back and telling her truth.
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  • Amelinda Bérubé
    January 1, 1970
    I've never read a verse novel before, but this was a fantastic way to take the plunge: every word is perfectly chosen to immerse you in time, place, and feeling. Deeply evocative of the bonds between women - especially between mothers and daughters - and the power of women's stories. Heartbreaking, timeless, and inspiring.
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  • Krys
    January 1, 1970
    A bold, fresh, and inventive take on the story of Artemisia Gentileschi, the first female member of the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence, Italy. Told in lyrical prose, we fall in love with painting through Artemisia's eyes, and weep for her when her gifts are taken from her by others. Searing, brutal, painful, and passionate, this is a novel that screams with the power of its own voice.
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  • Sabrina
    January 1, 1970
    This book is full of emotions and will make you think. To put it simply, a masterpiece.
  • Emily A. Duncan
    January 1, 1970
    This is a masterpiece.
  • Eva
    January 1, 1970
    5 stars. Wow. I think this book is what so many others try desperately to be: provocative, insightful, consuming, and relevant. This is the kind of genre and form blending that is as difficult to execute as it is thrilling to read. While written in verse, Blood Water Paint follows a plot much like any prose, and while based on the history of female painter Artemisia Gentileschi, feels decidedly modern in its themes (rape culture, feminism, justice etc...). I can definitely understand comparisons 5 stars. Wow. I think this book is what so many others try desperately to be: provocative, insightful, consuming, and relevant. This is the kind of genre and form blending that is as difficult to execute as it is thrilling to read. While written in verse, Blood Water Paint follows a plot much like any prose, and while based on the history of female painter Artemisia Gentileschi, feels decidedly modern in its themes (rape culture, feminism, justice etc...). I can definitely understand comparisons to Milk and Honey due to its style and feminist themes, but I do think that McCullough's work is executed much better. Without spoiling anything, the best summary I can give is that our main character, Artemisia, is a remarkably skilled young painter who is held back by her gender in 17th century Rome. Over time, it is not just her paintings that are exploited and claimed by men and, as mentioned in the blurb, she must choose between "a life of silence or a life of truth." This is a very heavy novel, but definitely one worth reading. McCullough spares no detail in outlining the horrors of Artemisia's rape and its aftermath, but I feel that this is the only way to do justice to this real woman's story. One of my favorite aspects of this novel is its emphasis on strong female role models. Of course the main character is herself a brave woman, but I feel that its so important how McCullough chooses to show how this bravery comes stories of female courage told by Artemisia's mother who made sure to tell the tales completely. In brief non-verse segments, she delivers flashbacks to these tales that reveal the purpose with which these stories were chosen, and recount the biblical stories of Susanna and Judith through a lens that emphasizes the strength of these women over that of any male sympathizers. One of my favorite lines is "the boys have all the tales they need of brave warriors and army captains." I love this blunt recognition of an unfortunate truth, and even more, I love the ensuing focus on female heroines as a response. Its this aspect of women empowering other women that I feel is sometimes missing from novels that deal with feminism, so I found this approach very refreshing.Basically, I would really really recommend reading this book. It talks about important issues through the context of a masterfully woven together plot line that revolves around three strong female leads (!!!). Also, the verse style makes it a very quick read, while still being as rewarding as other longer works. Thank you so much to Vicky Who Reads and Dutton for providing me with an advanced reading copy in exchange for an honest review!
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  • N
    January 1, 1970
    This book is written alternately in verse and in prose. The verse is the young woman, Artemisia, so alive and vibrant, but struggling under the tutelage of her untalented painter father. We get a picture of what it's like to be stuck. She has to struggle to be the woman of the house all the while being the bread-winner because her father's commissions need to be completed-- and she's the one to do them. Alternately, the prose is the stories of her mother who died when Artemisia was young. She is This book is written alternately in verse and in prose. The verse is the young woman, Artemisia, so alive and vibrant, but struggling under the tutelage of her untalented painter father. We get a picture of what it's like to be stuck. She has to struggle to be the woman of the house all the while being the bread-winner because her father's commissions need to be completed-- and she's the one to do them. Alternately, the prose is the stories of her mother who died when Artemisia was young. She is long gone, but her voice is so complete. She tells the stories that Artemisia needs to get through her difficult life, even before she is raped, and subsequently the rape, trial, and getting back to painting. My students often tell me that poetry is harder to read because it's so much more "incomplete." I kept thinking about this as I read because of the switching back and forth between prose and poetry. The life of Artemisia is incomplete at the time, she's trying to figure out life, she is still young, her thoughts are scattered. Her mother's story is prose and therefore more complete, and yet hers was the life cut short. It is the remembered life and stories of a child-- they seem as though they should be more nebulous and scattered like poetry can offer us, yet they are in prose. I loved this complexity. It invited me to think about author choice and it will open amazing discussions with my students. I also loved that this book invited me to stop and look things up. I was very religious in my teen years and I didn't know these stories. It was really cool to look them up and realize that they were such important religious stories at the time, but that they were not a part of the texts that I studied. It's an important insight into where and how emphasis in religion can change over time. I looked up the paintings of Artemisia. I marveled at how gorgeous they were. I hope that this book invites my own students to do so as well.
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  • Liz Overberg
    January 1, 1970
    This is the story of a talented painter in 17th Century Rome--who happens to be a teenage girl. Her father, a mediocre artist, forces her to complete his commissions to support the family, while he takes credit for her work. Always pushing her to become better, her father hires a handsome new teacher to tutor her in perspective. The teacher offers her lessons about lines, but also charms her with the promise of a different life. Our young woman begins to dream of a life outside of her father's h This is the story of a talented painter in 17th Century Rome--who happens to be a teenage girl. Her father, a mediocre artist, forces her to complete his commissions to support the family, while he takes credit for her work. Always pushing her to become better, her father hires a handsome new teacher to tutor her in perspective. The teacher offers her lessons about lines, but also charms her with the promise of a different life. Our young woman begins to dream of a life outside of her father's house. But in the blink of an eye, the teacher reveals that he is no different than any other man in Rome, and he thinks of women only as possessions. He rapes our young woman, knowing she could never successfully accuse him of his crime in Roman society. He even returns to her studio to taunt her. Most young women in that time and place would endure the silent pain and shame of the rape. Revealing the loss of their "purity," even to their family, could ruin their marriage prospects, as well as the family's reputation and livelihood. After all, aren't women just weak creatures of flesh? Who would believe a poor teenage girl, daughter of a mediocre artist, over a well connected and handsome up-and-coming painter? But our young woman is not most young women. Our young woman grew up listening to stories told at her mother's knee--stories of brave women who refused to accept their powerlessness. Women who fought back. With her heroines in mind, our young woman pledges to do the same. Told in verse, this is a beautiful, inspirational, and true story about the connectedness of all women and perseverence in the face of hopelessness.
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