Both sisters read and review the same book, a fairy tale retelling.
This quarter, marking our fourth book club title, we are discussing Gingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi. We've already shared our individual reviews (you can find Mary's here and Elizabeth's here), and now it's time for us to respond to the six questions we cover with each book club discussion. Normally, we have an actual conversation which we record to share in both video and transcript form. However, as Elizabeth has been ill, this month we've each written up our answers separately instead.
Remember that you can join in this discussion, whether by commenting here or by joining our Enchanted Garden Book Club Facebook group!
Our Fairy-Tale Book Club Pick for March 2021 is:
Introducing the Book Club Discussion
Every three months, Mary & Elizabeth will pick a fairy-tale retelling to read, review & discuss as part of the Enchanted Garden Book Club. Mirror, Mirror is our first book club pick. We've already shared our individual reviews (find Mary's here & Elizabeth's here) and an introduction to the historical context of this particular book (found here). Now, we'll conclude with a discussion about the book.
From the arable river lands to the south, the approach to Montefiore appears a sequence of relaxed hills. In the late spring, when the puckers of red poppy blossom are scattered against the green of the season, it can look like so much washing, like mounds of Persian silk and Florentine brocade lightly tossed in heaps. Each successive rise takes on a new color, indefinably more fervent, an aspect of distance and time stained by the shadows of clouds, or bleached when the sun takes a certain position.
But the traveler on foot or in a hobble-wheeled peasant cart, or even on horseback, learns he truth of the terrain. The ascent is steeper than it looks from below. And the rutted track traverses in long switchbacks to accommodate for the severity of the grade and the crosscutting ravines. So the trip takes many more hours than the view suggests. The red-tiled roofs of Montefiore come into sight, promisingly, and then disappear again as hills loom up and forests close in.
- opening lines to "The roofs of Montefiore", Mirror, Mirror
The History of the True Cross
To the north of Montefiore is the city of Arezzo, where Vicente de Nevada is described as visiting the San Francesco monastery and contemplating a series of frescos upon its walls, painted by Piero della Francesca (“The vision in San Francesco”). This fresco sequence, known as The History of the True Cross or The Legend of the True Cross, is considered to be a masterwork of the Italian Early Renaissance period. You can find an interactive 3D model of the frescoes here. As you read Maguire's description of the images depicted upon the walls of San Francesco, you can browse those images for yourself.