From Strauss (Guardian of the Hills, 1995) comes a tale set in 15th century Renaissance Italy. Giulia is bright, curious and a gifted artist. After her father dies, she is sent to live in a convent in Padua. Desperate to avoid a cloistered life, she obtains a talisman that promises to deliver her heart's desire: marriage to a good man and a home of her own. Although convent life is hard, Giulia begins to contemplate her true passion, art. She is invited to train as a painter under a talented maestro who tells her she could run the workshop one day, but only if she takes her vows. But Giulia is falling for a craftsman, Ormanno and has visions of love and freedom beyond the walls of the convent.