The Wa­ter Colourist

Australian Women’s Weekly NZ - - BOOKS - KE

by Beatrice Masini, Macmil­lan.

A rich, ver­dant ta­pes­try from Mi­lanese chil­dren’s writer Beatrice Masini, who won an Ital­ian award for best his­tor­i­cal novel for this clas­sic cre­ation. Her­self a trans­la­tor – of the Harry Pot­ter books by J.K. Rowl­ing – Masini’s work has been mouth­wa­ter­ingly trans­lated from ripe Ital­ian into a feast of English prose. In­de­pen­dent, well-ed­u­cated artist Bianca, 20, has been com­mis­sioned to paint the mag­nif­i­cent plants in the grounds of poet Don Titta’s Mi­lan res­i­dence, where he lives with his malev­o­lent mother, in­no­cent wife and five “del­i­cate as daisies” chil­dren. Float­ing among Masini’s clev­erly etched back­drop of the villa court – in­dif­fer­ent priest, com­pli­ant nanny, sus­pi­cious tu­tor – Bianca slips into reverie as she paints, mus­ing in her non-19th-cen­tury way of women’s think­ing. “Come dawn, we [women] were all Cin­derel­las, we had to slip back into our grey rags,” she fumes, as suit­ors swarm around the flowerbeds. With a woman “ghost” in a veil, there’s plenty of plot, but es­sen­tially this is the birth of a new lit­er­ary hero­ine, “pas­sion­ate, dy­namic… Ital­ian”, says the author.

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