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Review & Guest Post: The Lover’s Path by Kris Waldherr

Please join Kris Waldherr on her first Blog Tour with HF Virtual Book Tours for The Lover’s Path: An Illustrated Novella of Venice, from June 16-30.

lprevampkindlepaper-640x1024•Publication Date: June 16, 2015
•Publisher: Art and Words Editions
•eBook; 114p

“To truly love another, you must follow the lover’s path wherever it may take you . . .”

Filamena Ziani is the much younger sister of the most famous courtesan in sixteenth-century Venice, Tullia Ziani. Orphaned as an infant, Filamena has come of age bent like a branch to her sister’s will, sheltered and lonely in the elegant but stifling confines of their palazzo by the sea. Then a dark-haired stranger offers a gift that will change the course of her life forever: a single ripe plum, and an invitation to walk along the lover’s path, wherever it may lead.

THE LOVER’S PATH, a moving tale of forbidden love, is a romantic epic told in multiple layers. Through a novel combination of Filamena’s narrative, famous love stories from history and mythology, and sumptuously ornate illustrations, Filomena’s path is beautifully described and, finally, stunningly revealed.

Quite a feast for your eyes, such stunning illustrations complimenting beautiful prose. A forbidden love with plenty of tragedy along with numerous twists. The entire book will seep into your mind, imprinting both a stimulating visual and powerful story of two memorable lovers.

I can’t recall the last time I read a story accompanied by illustrations with the exception of children’s books. The artwork adds to the impact of the story. You’re not inundated with a large amount of artwork, rather a sparse amount strategically placed gracing the characters and plot.

Savor your journey with The Lover’s Path it truly is all about the journey not the destination. You will be immersed in 16th century Venice, the trials and tribulations of romance. A delicate, sensual yet powerful story leaving you stunned in beauty in its entirety. Exquisite.

The Lover’s Path Available At

Kindle Fire format (Deluxe edition with full color graphics)
Kindle format (Optimized for b/w and smaller screen size)
iPad format (Deluxe edition with interactive full color graphics):
iPhone format (Optimized for small screen size):


Guest Post: Setting Art to Words for The Lover’s Path

“Within my sister’s private chambers—rooms that led from the great hall through one richly appointed room after another; rooms that led to the ultimate destination of her bedchamber, where only a few suitors could hope to enter after months of courtship and substantial gifts—Tullia was being painted that day as Venus, the embodiment of love….” — The Lover’s Path: An Illustrated Novella by Kris Waldherr

~ * ~

“How did you make the art?” This is perhaps the most popular questions I’m asked about my illustrated novella The Lover’s Path when people first see it. After all, it’s not often you come across a book that’s been designed to look like a faux artifact from the Italian Renaissance.

Here’s the short version: the art for The Lovers Path was initiated by my first visit to Italy, an encounter that opened up the rich world of the Italian Renaissance for me. Accordingly, the art and design for The Lovers Path was heavily influenced by the art, architecture, and books of fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Italy. Ten years of nose-to-the-grindstone later, et voila! An illustrated book inspired by that same city.

Easy-peasy, right? Errrr … not.

So, if it wasn’t that easy, how did I make the art itself? The way any creative project gets brought to life: a messy conundrum of hard work, loving obsession, and intense research. It also helped that I’d already illustrated a number of books, one of which, The Book of Goddesses , accidentally seeded The Lover’s Path. My favorite illustration from The Book of Goddesses depicted Venus presented in the guise of a Venetian courtesan; much as I love Botticelli’s painting of The Birth of Venus, I was determined to present the goddess of love in a manner that didn’t involve sea foam and nudity. For whatever reason, this little painting of mine spurred my imagination into wanting to write about a real courtesan and the cultural world surrounding her. And so, The Lover’s Path come into being.


As for The Lover’s Path art itself, Venice, an important center for the early print arts, provided ample material to fuel my imagination. The book design was especially inspired by the Hypnerotomachia poliphili (Poliphilo’s Strife of Love in a Dream), one of the most beautiful books of this period. Printed in 1499 Venice by Aldus Manutius, and written in a strange Latin-Italian hybrid by Francesco Colonna, the Hypnerotomachia poliphili presents an allegory of a lover’s search for his beloved through a mysterious landscape. In other words, think Romance of the Rose fifteenth century Italian-style.


Once the book design was set (thank you, Aldus Manutius!), I decided to paint the illustrations that opened each chapter to mimic art of that same era. The borders for each illustration were painted in gouache on handmade paper—a laborious process. Their designs were patterned after Venetian tiled floors, Renaissance maps, and illuminated manuscripts.

Set inside each of these borders was an illustration of famed lovers who’d walked my fictional lover’s path: Dante and Beatrice, Cupid and Psyche, and others. These main paintings were created with oil paint glazes layered over a watercolor underpainting sealed with acrylic gel medium—a complicated medium designed to replicate the appearance of sixteenth century art. The models for each painting were chosen from friends and associates, each who reminded me in some way of the mythic lover they represented.


However, not all of the art in The Lover’s Path was created solely by me. For an additional dose of veritas, I adapted woodcuts of alchemy emblems from the 1627 Hortulus hermeticus by Daniel Stolcius. I also painted in gouache small color decorations inspired by the Rosarium philosophorum, published in 1550.

All of this, combined with a hefty dose of Photoshop and other digital tools, helped me create a book that —I hope!— looks decidedly from a distant era.


Kris Waldherr is the author and illustrator of The Lover’s Path: An Illustrated Novella of Venice, which is now available for the first time as an e-book. She is also the author of Doomed Queens: Royal Women Who Met Bad Ends, The Book of Goddesses, and many other books and card decks. Learn more at LoversPathBook.com.


About the Author Kris WaldherrKrisWaldherrauthorphoto-298x300

Kris Waldherr is an award-winning author, illustrator, and designer whose many books include Doomed Queens and The Book of Goddesses. She is also the creator of the Goddess Tarot, which has nearly a quarter of a million copies in print. Waldherr’s illustrations have been exhibited in many galleries and museums, including the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the Mazza Museum, and the Ruskin Library. She lives and works in Brooklyn with her husband and their young daughter. Visit her online at KrisWaldherr.com.

You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Excited to be included in the tour for Kris Waldherr’s The Lover’s Path. Be sure to click on the HFVBT banner to check out the entire tour schedule. Thank you HFVBT!



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