Here are some highlights from the reviews of Muse. For a chronological list of reviews and other responses for both my novels, see Resources & Critiques.

“Mary Novik brings a literate woman out of the shadows of history. . . . A cross between Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. . . . There is no doubt that the sensational twists and turns of Novik’s plot, the rapid changes of scene, and the piling on of horrors, all combine to give this story a wide appeal. . . . The various themes in Muse–women as nurturers of male artists, as muse figures, as artist’s models and subjects–are skillfully woven by Novik, and given resonance by her knowledge of the historical and literary background.”  Full review
JOAN GIVNER, BC BookWorld, Summer 2013

“In the tradition of Tracy Chevalier, A.S. Byatt, Sarah Dunant, and – more recently – Cathy Marie Buchanan, Mary Novik’s captivating second novel imagines the circumstances surrounding the creation of venerated works of art: in this case, the love sonnets of the Italian bard, Petrarch. Novik’s tale of Solange LeBlanc, fictional muse and lover of Petrarch, is set in the 14th century, during the Avignon Papacy. Brimming with political, cultural, and religious detail, Muse depicts a period of stark contrasts when soaring works of human ingenuity and creativity were produced amid social corruption, degradation, and plague.”  Full review
DANA HANSEN, Quill & Quire, September 2013

“The book is rich and powerful, wiser than it may initially appear, and thought-provoking on a number of levels. Solange herself is a stunning fictional creation, and her story unfolds with the austerity and seeming inevitability of a classical tragedy . . . . allow yourself to be swept up in an account of how the world changed, and of the woman who was at the centre of it all.”  Full review
ROBERT J. WIERSEMA, The Vancouver Sun, August 17, 2013

“Novik is a magnificent storyteller, her tongue rich with the savory and unsavory details that make history compelling as analogue for the lives we continue to pattern after flawed examples . . . . The script for political power is still all about sex and death, which Novik illuminates in colours saturated with sensory detail. Her reds rhyme with blood, her golds with appetite.”
LINDA ROGERS, Pacific Rim Review of Books, Winter/Spring 2014

“Solange is a compelling voice and the reader is as helpless to her seductive charms as the powerful men in her life are. With Muse, Novik has crafted a heroine who pushes against the constraints of her time and station, placing her in a richly imagined world that thrums with life.”  Full review
ATHENA MCKENZIE, Globe and Mail, August 17, 2013

“If you love the idea of minor characters finally shifting into centre stage, Muse belongs on your reading list. If you believe that the truth can shift from one side of a curtain to the next, that what happens between the lines of verse is as valid as what was recorded in it, then Muse belongs in your stack.”  Full review
Buried in Print blog, August 15, 2013

“Taking in the visuals while reading this story is akin to walking through a gallery of renaissance paintings at a brisk pace; I find the description rich, and yet not bogged down with too many details.” Full review
LORRIE MILLER, Room Magazine, Spring 2014

“Like such popular historical novelists as Sarah Dunant and Philippa Gregory . . . Novik creates strong female characters–witty, charming, and courageous–who are able to influence powerful men. . . . Novik skillfully writes the origins of the early Renaissance with a feminist point of view. . . . As literary fiction, Muse is an illuminating portrait of women struggling to have it all, including lovers, children, fortune, and prominence.”  Full review
JENNIFER PAWLUK, Winnipeg Free Press, August 17, 2013

“With Muse, Novik is entirely in command of her craft.”  Full review
TERESA GOFF, Trek Magazine, August 2013

“To my joyful surprise, I flew through it. I can honestly say I was blown away by the beauty and poetry of the author’s prose.” Full review
CHARITY GASPAR, Life After (My) Kids blog, September 17, 2013

“Novik conjures up a convincing representation of life in France during the 1300s. She also offers readers the compelling theory that Petrarch’s mysterious lover helped him create some of the world’s most celebrated love poetry.”
Saint John Telegraph Journal

“A sublime stylist, Novik is distinguished by a regal narrative timbre suffused with wit.” Full review
DAVID CHAU, Georgia Straight, September 19, 2013

“The intertextuality of Novik’s prose and Petrarch’s poetry serves to remind us that the author is in dialogue with that poetry and claiming a voice for medieval women in a prose form” Full review
TERRI R. BAKER, Canadian Literature, #222 (Autumn 2014).

“La canadese Mary Novik imbastisce una storia erudita e ben scritta, che sorprende, intriga e fa anche riflettere.” Full review
MADDALENA DALLI, Economia Italiana, September 14, 2013

“Rivalité et entraide entre femmes, lâcheté et merveilles masculines, horreurs et béatitudes religieuses, sur fond de mort et de Renaissance.” Full review
MATHIEU PERREAULT, La Presse, May 24, 2015