The Color of Light - Helen Maryles Shankman



YA generally may be a little off my reading zeitgeist, but it's good to try different genres; it makes me feel that I'm openminded (although this might be a delusion). The Color of Light got my attention for the supernatural and gothic themes. At first, I was a little worried about the charred, overdone vampire stories bursting out of a gloaming pop culture. However, this novel had a deeper variation to its dusky predecessors, and proved to be an interesting historical fiction: weaving not only WWII and present day plot lines, but uniquely taking the reader into the colorful world of Renaissance art. 

This was a treat. It's a testimonial to the punch of a novel when the reader in offered something new and exciting to explore. 

In The Color of Light, the protagonists, Tessa and Rafe (Raphael), are at opposite ends of the spectrum: light is contrasted by dark; good battles the forces of evil; beauty is in the company of the beast. In a similar vein, old struggles to survive in a modern world: the technique of Renaissance artwork is dying, being replaced by avant-garde abstractions.

The themes of the bond of friendship and a love that comes full circle were cleverly painted (pun). There was a strong sense of friendship throughout the book, especially when Tessa flounders, or Rafe loses his direction. Always, always the circle of friends would create an unbreakable ring, providing unending support. This 'circle of light' keeps moving through the story, illuminating the shadows and casting glows as the characters develop. I lost count of the number of times "circle" was mentioned in the novel, but hey, it had the subliminal effect intended.

I'd have to say The Color of Light had a positive influence on me. From it, I revisited an interest in Renaissance art, the period and the artists, specifically in Raphael Sanzio whose Madonna and Child played a significant role.
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