One Great Lie by Deb Caletti

One Great Lie by Deb Caletti (9781534463172)

When Charlotte wins a scholarship to an elite writing workshop given by her favorite author, Luca Bruni, she is thrilled. The workshop takes her to Venice, Italy and a summer spent on a private island with a small group of other college students and Bruni himself. The trip also gives Charlotte a chance to investigate a family legend that one of her female ancestors actually wrote a very famous poem. As Charlotte explore her heritage, looking for clues to a woman who has disappeared into history, she meets Dante, a college student working at the library who works to save flood-ravaged pages. As Charlotte falls for both Venice and Dante, the attentions of Bruni begin to become more problematic. After one girl leaves the program and another has clearly been hurt, Charlotte gains his unwanted attentions and finds herself alone with him. Charlotte must now face her own powerful mentor and decide whether to keep his secrets or not, just as her ancestor and so many women have done before her.

Award-winning author Caletti has created a book that shows exactly why we see music, poetry, painting and more as male dominated throughout history. She highlights real female poets and artists from the 1400s-1600s at the beginning of each chapter, showing how they were quickly either muted, disparaged or killed. She uses these women and the warning signs of Bruni’s behavior throughout the book to foreshadow what is about to happen to Charlotte. It’s terrible to wait for the predator to turn his attentions to her and then strike.

The darkness throughout the book is broken by the accomplishments of some of the historical female figures and also with Charlotte finding her own voice and demanding change. Nothing though is done without cost and loss, there is nothing simple in this novel, no easy way out. The writing is exquisite, dark and rich, with room for a good man like Dante to emerge as a worthy partner for Charlotte.

Feminist, ferocious and full of fight. Appropriate for ages 16-19.

Reviewed from copy provided by Atheneum.

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