Monday 30 January 2017

Titian's Boatman by Victoria Blake

Published by Black and White Publishing on January 26, 2017

Titian’s Boatman is very different than any book I’ve read before, which isn’t a bad thing. In fact it was a big part of the thing that drew me to Victoria Blake’s latest novel, as I often love diving into a novel I have no idea what to expect from. The other thing which drew me to Titian’s Boatman was how extremely intriguing it sounded from the blurb, and honestly this book did not disappoint me one bit.

There are many layers to this complex story. The book begins with the boatman, Sebastiano, who has brought into a city torn apart due to plague and crime a hooded man, who turns out to be someone he hates, Pomponio, the son of Titian. As if these three characters weren’t intriguing enough, there were many more parts and people to this story that I couldn’t wait to learn more about. One thing in particular I enjoyed about this book was the character development. The portrayal of each character was rich in colour and detail. Victoria Blake paints a picture as good with her words as Titian painted his masterpieces. I felt like I could really accurately see each character which was really absorbing and helped me connect really well with the book.

The story in Titian’s Boatman travels many years, from its early days in the 1540s to 2011. There is also changes in the location from Venice to London and to New York, although Venice is the most prominent place in the book. Although the book changes characters quite often throughout, I didn’t find this in the least bit confusing. The author’s style of writing is beautifully vivid and engaging. I love the way she details moments and scenes in the book which were truly brought to life through the atmospheric tone to the writing and the use of my own imagination. When reading a book outside of my comfort zone, I can sometimes find them a bit tricky to get to grips with but when reading Titian’s Boatman, I was completely engrossed in the story and every time I put the book down, I was compelled to pick it up again and continue reading what was a highly entertaining novel.

At the beginning of the book where we meet the main characters, the one thing that helped me keep up with the character changes was how they were all linked in some way to one person, Titian. Everything seemed to lead back to Titian and his art and he was really such a fascinating person. I had so many questions about him and was always dying to find out more about him. Early on there’s this painting, and later on there’s a second painting, another one of Titan’s masterpieces, and I don’t want to spoil any aspect of the story so I won’t, but I was hooked. I could picture the painting and the story that went with each one. The author’s storytelling possesses such a force that pulls the reader into the story she has created and leaves you eager for more. I absolutely loved reading this book and it’s a really memorable one which I’m sure will linger on my mind for a long time to come.

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