post written by Esther Filbrun
Title: The Apprentice
Author: Pilar Molina Llorente
Major Themes: 16th century (1500s), Italy, Historical Fiction, Children’s Mystery
Synopsis: Arduino longs to become a painter—but once he becomes an apprentice, he realizes that his master is hiding a secret. Will he be able to uncover it—before his future as a painter is dashed forever?
This book has been a favorite for years. And even though I’ve reread it several times since Mom first read it to me, it’s still a new and exciting book.
Arduino’s family have always been tailors—and it is expected that he will continue in the traditional family trade like all his brothers, his father, and his grandfather’s family before him. But Arduino hates tailoring—and every chance he gets, he spends his time drawing pictures. All he wants is to be a painter—something his father does not understand. Eventually, he is apprenticed to an important painter, where he begins to learn what it takes to paint.
Something is strange about the house, however—why does Melania, the housekeeper, tiptoe upstairs sometimes in the middle of the night? Who—or what—is up there? And with everyone ordering him to do trivial jobs, will he ever learn to be an experienced painter—and, in some small way, make up for the blight in honor he placed upon his family when he refused to become a tailor?
This book is not always fast-paced. Even so, it gives a wonderful glimpse into the common-people’s way of life during the Renaissance. Along with a bit of mystery, we also learn how paintings were made back then. The Apprentice is a fascinating book, and I know your family will enjoy it.