The Girl From Oto

Fiction - Mystery - Historical
524 Pages
Reviewed on 05/05/2024
Buy on Amazon

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Free Book Program, which is open to all readers and is completely free. The author will provide you with a free copy of their book in exchange for an honest review. You and the author will discuss what sites you will post your review to and what kind of copy of the book you would like to receive (eBook, PDF, Word, paperback, etc.). To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email.

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Review Exchange Program, which is open to all authors and is completely free. Simply put, you agree to provide an honest review an author's book in exchange for the author doing the same for you. What sites your reviews are posted on (B&N, Amazon, etc.) and whether you send digital (eBook, PDF, Word, etc.) or hard copies of your books to each other for review is up to you. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email, and be sure to describe your book or include a link to your Readers' Favorite review page or Amazon page.

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Donation Program, which was created to help nonprofit and charitable organizations (schools, libraries, convalescent homes, soldier donation programs, etc.) by providing them with free books and to help authors garner more exposure for their work. This author is willing to donate free copies of their book in exchange for reviews (if circumstances allow) and the knowledge that their book is being read and enjoyed. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email. Be sure to tell the author who you are, what organization you are with, how many books you need, how they will be used, and the number of reviews, if any, you would be able to provide.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Saifunnissa Hassam for Readers' Favorite

Amy Maroney’s The Girl From Oto is a well-crafted captivating mystery novel. The story is set in two different centuries and follows the lives of two women. Zari Durrell is a contemporary art historian and scholar from California. In 2014-5, Zari is on a University of St. Andrews fellowship doing historical research on female portrait artists in Europe. Mira is a 16th-century artist whose story comes to light when Zari researches the provenance of  Renaissance-era portraits. She is particularly intrigued by the mystery surrounding the provenance of two portraits thought to be the work of Flemish artist Cornelia van der Zee. Working with art conservators, Zari discovers a unique signature and quote, with a miniature self-portrait of a nun, Mira. Zari sets off on a challenging journey, across Spain and France, determined to learn more about the mysterious artist Mira. 

Compelling and immersive, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Amy Maroney’s The Girl From Oto for its complex characters and the rich and detailed worldbuilding. I particularly enjoyed the development of the two principal characters, the contemporary art historian Zari, and the 16th-century Mira. I liked how the story flows between the past and present, vividly revealing Mira and her 16th-century world and Zari’s contemporary world. I was particularly struck by the different perspectives. Zari became the lens through which I could imagine Mira growing up in a convent, and the twists and turns in Mira’s life as an artist. I liked Zari’s relentless pursuit and perseverance to solve this important puzzle of an unknown female artist. The story gained great depth, particularly through the other 16th-century characters, like Elena the healer, who played such significant roles in Mira’s life. The story springs to life with the social and political milieu of Mira’s times conveyed through detailed settings, dialogue, and the drama of interpersonal relationships. I loved the descriptions of the forests and mountains in the 16th century and the modern world, creating yet another picture of Zari's exploration of Mira's world. A great read, from start to finish, this is an intriguing and complex mystery with incredible characters, drama, and suspense to the very end.