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Reviewed by Divine Zape for Readers' Favorite
Searching for a Place to Call Home: A Tale about the Power of Art by Diana Stelin is a story that will resonate with many readers, a coming-of-age story of a woman driven by the quest for meaning. Isabella is only thirteen years old when she is informed by her parents that her family is moving to the United States, news that doesn't sit well with her. In the US, she finds solace in painting, all the while haunted by the need for a place she can call home. The new life in the US, with the reality of a culture shock and a domineering mother, are factors that push her to connect deeply with her passion for painting. As she grows older, she wants to discover a home, so she travels around Europe — France, Italy, Russia, and Australia — in search of a home. Through difficult relationships, career, and motherhood, Isabella finally realizes what is her true home. Can painting give her the serenity and the balance she seeks?
The narrative is well-done and the imagery wonderful, from the early years of Isabella walking to school along the muddy spring streets in solitude, to the serenity of a woman connecting to herself through the stroke of her brush. The reader can follow the story and events of the protagonist's life through vivid visuals. The writing is strong, the story deftly written and balanced, and the characters well fleshed out. The protagonist demonstrates a bit of each of us, and there is a restlessness in her that reflects the moments of uncertainty that haunt most readers. Searching for a Place to Call Home: A Tale about the Power of Art is a novel that will appeal to readers who adore art; it is the story of finding one’s path and having the courage to embrace it.