Mira’s Way (The Miramonde Series)

Written by Amy Maroney
Review by Patricia O'Reilly

Mira’s Way, though one of a series, is a stand-alone story that grips from start to finish. It tells the dual tales of Mira, a Renaissance artist and Zari, an art scholar of the present day whose goal in life is to connect Mira with a series of unsigned portraits.

The two women may be separated by time, but their lives are interwoven with art and cultural history, with Zari hearing Mira whispering to her across the divide of 500 years, and as she follows in her footsteps she comes to know and understand her and the world of her time. The action takes place in southern France, northern Spain and the Pyrenees, in 1504 and 2015.

The author’s impeccable research brings the two women, their surroundings and the powerful men and women they cross swords with to life. Her knowledge of ancient manuscripts and painting techniques—the use of a lead stylus to make Flemish-style under-drawings, the techniques involved with lapus lazuli, the usage of vine charcoal and linen paper—draw us into the intricacies of Renaissance painting, art history, and the technology used to explore that history.

History brims with silenced stories, but Zari is determined that Mira’s story will not be lost. Amy Maroney has a gift of making the past come to life in a way that is relatable and engaging. Her characters are convincing, her stories are about the art world and painting, and she paints her own portrait with delicate words and visual imagery. Her writing is clear, precise and visual.