“With a scholar’s commitment to accurate detail, and the heart of a lover of beauty, Kathleen B. Jones’s engaging and well-crafted parallel story is as colorful and lucid as the illuminated manuscripts at the center of her novel.” —Laurel Corona, author of The Mapmaker’s Daughter
A deeply affecting dual narrative separated by several centuries, Cities of Women examines the lives of women who dare to challenge the social norms of their days, risking their reputations and livelihoods for the sake of their passions.
In the twenty-first century, we meet Verity Frazier, a disillusioned history professor who sets out to prove that the artist responsible for the illuminated artwork in Christine de Pizan’s medieval manuscripts was a remarkable woman named Anastasia. As Anastasia’s story unfolds against the exquisitely-rendered medieval backdrop of moral disaster, political intrigue, and extraordinary creativity, Verity finds her career on the brink of collapse by her efforts to uncover evidence of the lost artist’s existence.
Inspired by a decade of research, Jones has woven together a luminous and incisive masterpiece of historical fiction, evoking the spare joys and monumental pitfalls facing medieval women artists and a contemporary woman who becomes obsessed with medieval books.