The Shifu Cloth (The Chronicles of Eirie) by Prue Batten

Back to Eirie everything seems so familiar and extraordinary at the same time. My latest journey to  that land of magic and fantasy was last year with Lalita and Finnian (A Thousand Glass Flowers) . Such a beautiful, gripping love story with surprising twists and a poignant epilogue!  They have lingered somehow in this story too, THE SHIFU CLOTH, since the protagonist is Nicholas, Nico, their son. 
After his beloved cousin Isabella is kidnapped while with him, his sense of guilt or the shock leaves him dumb, unable to express his loneliness and sadness. His only aim in life since then is to find Isabella and to bring her back home.
Isabella, however, now a slave living in the relatively comfortable residence of her masters but destined to live in a harem, has become an expert weaver of rare skills. What she can't do is to renounce her freedom   forever. This is why she has never surrendered to the idea of going back home and she bravely plans her own escape.
The two separate paths of Nico and Isabella meet after a series of fortuitous encounters and discoveries. They will get back home for a bittersweet, unforgettable finale.

Enchantment and mesmer, scents and colours, precious materials and exotic landscapes, fascinating characters and mysterious events make Nico’s and Isabella’s adventurous quests  in search for each other an occasion  for the reader  to escape into and fully enjoy a world half fantasy,  half fairy-tale. (Four out of five stars on goodreads)

Bianca come il latte, rossa come il sangue by Alessandro D’Avenia

Kudos to my colleague, Alessandro D’Avenia, for this lovely book!While most of us teachers spend our spare time complaining about our students (or our headmaster/mistress!), D’Avenia – who teaches Latin and Greek – took inspiration from them and used his own free time to write a beautiful YA novel .   I must thank one of my students, a girl, for this discovery. She talked to the class about this book in one of our convesation activities. Who says teachers can’t learn from students? I am definitely positive.

Leo is a 16-year-old boy like many others: he loves chatting with friends, playing football, riding his scooter  and living in perfect symbiosis with his iPod. The hours spent at school are instead just agony, the teachers a dying out wildlife species he really hopes will soon go estinguished. So when a new young History and Phylosophy teacher arrives, Leo is ready to welcome him with as much cynicism as he can conceive. But this young teacher is different: his eyes sparkle when he explains, when he invites the students to pursue their dreams.
Leo feels he has the strength of a lion, but he has a terrifying enemy: the white colour. White is absence, everything in life related to deprivation. While red is the colour of passion and love, of blood: red is the colour of Beatrice's hair.
Yes,  Leo has got a dream to pursue, a dream named Beatrice, though she doesn't know yet.
When he discovers that Beatrice is ill and that her desease is linked to the terrible white colour he is so much afraid of, Leo will have to dig deep inside himself, bleed and be born again, to understand that his dreams can't die, but they have to find the courage to aim at something greater. He will not be alone on this journey. Fortunately,  he will find strength in his closest friend, Silvia, and in his new teacher, "il sognatore" (the dreamer).
Amusing and moving at the same time, beautifully written. (Four out of five stars on goodreads) Sorry, dear readers, no English translation. Not yet, at least.


Carole said...

Maria, thanks for linking in to BYL. cheers

Maria Grazia said...

I love to be part of such lovely community of readers, Carole! Thanks to you :-)