Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Review: A Golden Web by Barbara Quick

(image from goodreads)

This is a lovely little book. A Golden Web is a fictional account of the life of Alessandra Gilliani, who is considered to be the world's first female anatomist. In a time when the knowledge of medicine among women was deemed equivalent to witchcraft, this young lady braved the greatest disease of all - ignorance - to pursue her greatest desire, an education. As a teenager, she became a prosector to one of the greatest medical minds at the time, a feat in itself nothing short of a miracle, if you consider what she was up against. According to the author, there is some controversy as to whether or not this young woman actually existed, as there seem to be little documentation of her acheivements and life in general. Even if she didn't (which I hope is not the case), this book serves as a reminder of a time when women were not granted access to education and more importantly, how the determination to better oneself always triumphs over the greatest obstacles. 

Despite the fact that she lived in the fourteenth century, I believe that our protagonist would've thrived in present society. And given the number of female physicians in the world today, I'd like to think that she would've been proud.


  1. What a lovely blog! I love this review of my novel. Have you, by any chance, read VIVALDI'S VIRGINS? You might enjoy that one, too--also about an extraordinarily brave and talented young woman. My apologies for having taken such a long time you find "More Than Words"! You write beautifully.

  2. Hi Barbara, thank you so much for your kind words. I haven't read the other book yet but I'm hoping to soon.