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Friday, September 25, 2009

The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant

Pages: 391

Copyright: 2003

Genre: Historical Fiction

Series: Renaissance Trilogy

Rating 4 Crowns

Once again, Sarah Dunant spins a masterful tale of life long ago, starting in Florence in the 1480's. We enter the life of Alessandra Cecchi, a 14 year old girl who is sadly, too developed for her time. She loves to learn, speaks multiple languages, has no talent for dancing, and above all, she loves art.

Alessandra has inherited her love of color from her father, a clothing merchant renowned for his vibrant cloths and she yearns for the secret of color. While most young women learn to sew and prepare to be mothers, Alessandra sketches scenes from the bible and other images she can conjure up in her mind. She yearns to explore the beautiful city she lives in, to feel what it must be like to be a man in a time of great change, both politically and culturally.

One evening, her father brings home a young painter, someone to paint the family chapel as well as commit them all to canvass for history to see. A young man with great talent, someone Alessandra cannot avoid and hopes to learn from. A man who will change her life. Together they will question if God can be reached through art, or if art itself is a sin as the new fiery monk of the city proclaims it is.
As it becomes clear that Alessandra is close to womanhood, a choice must be made - enter a convent and never have the ability to explore her creativity, or let her parents find a husband who may understand her a bit. She chooses the latter, a move that will affect her future, more than she could ever guess.

We go on this journey with Alessandra, through the rest of her life, the twists and turns and decisions she must make to create a life she has always wanted. In the meantime, the city is exploding outside the walls of her home, and Alessandra is unable to explore the freedom she sought so hard...it is taken away as suddenly as it is given.

I never wanted to put this book down, and even though we do follow Alessandra through virtually her entire life, I am still yearning for more. It's a beautiful story, and although I disagreed with some of her decisions, I was compelled to continue on this journey with her. I loved the book, and my only disappointment is that it ended too soon.

Lady in Waiting
Thanks to Crystal from I Totally Paused for this wonderful guest blogger review!


Unknown said...

Thanks for the review - it sounds awesome. I just got this book about a week ago and haven't gotten to read it yet, but now I am very excited for it.

Lucy said...

I loved The Courtesan, but just couldn't get through Sacred Hearts..this one sounds awesome. Great review- Thanks:)

ibeeeg said...

I have yet to read any of Sarah Dunant work, I must change that.
This book sounds incredible. I am putting it on my list of to-reads.

Unknown said...

This is one of my all-time favorite books. It's one of those novels that I get so swept up in that I can't take my hand off it. I read it in a matter of days simply b/c I can't wait to turn the next page. And then... when I read the last sentence, I'm sad that the story is over so quickly.

Great review!

Unknown said...

Hi :)
This novel sounds intriguing.
Thanks for sharing it.
Now I must read it.
All the best,
twitter: @RKCharron

Jennifer said...

Another book to add to my must be read pile. Thanks!

Jenny Girl said...

Great review. this was a hard one to put down for me too.