The Birth of Venus

The Birth of Venus

Love and Death in Florence

Book - 2003
Average Rating:
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Alessandra is not quite fifteen when her prosperous merchant father brings a young painter back with him from Holland to adorn the walls of the new family chapel. She is fascinated by his talents and envious of his abilities and opportunities to paint to the glory of God. Soon her love of art and her lively independence are luring her into closer involvement with all sorts of taboo areas of life. On excursions into the streets of night-time Florence she observes a terrible evil stalking the city and witnesses the rise of the fiery young priest, Savanarola, who has set out to rid the city of vice, richness, even art itself.

Alessandra must make crucial decisions about the shape of her adult life, as Florence itself must choose between the old ways of the luxury-loving Medicis and the asceticism of Savanorola. And through it all, there is the painter, whose love will change everything.

Publisher: London : Little, Brown, 2003
ISBN: 9780316725491
0316725498
Characteristics: 412 p

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QueenSheba_0
Jul 20, 2017

I loved the setting (Renaissance Florence) and it's a page turner. But aspects of the story are hard to buy, particularly the love story at the novel's center.

r
raar
Nov 15, 2015

I liked it. I read this book because I was going to Florence and wanted to read some novels that were set in the location. This book gave me a sense of what Florence was like 15th century and added some context to my visit.

p
Pisinga
Mar 05, 2015

Florence, Italy, XV century. Art, faith in God, the influence of the church on the daily life, love ... The book is beautiful, is written in such a way that it can be put in the shelf of classical literature. I have not read such works for long time, constantly bumping into mediocre bestsellers. And in addition this book is filled with such unexpected twists in the plot, that make it a good match for the most popular thrillers.

WVMLStaffPicks Jan 05, 2015

Set in fourteenth-century Florence, this beautifully written coming of age story is a tale of art and love, betrayal, power and religion. It brings alive the city's history at its most dramatic period through the passionate voice of young Alessandra, the talented daughter of a rich cloth merchant.

v
VRMurphy
Feb 07, 2014

A good story, well told; not great literature, but several notches above chicklit. Dunant uses the trope of the ahead-of-her-time, headstrong young woman with a (mostly) supportive family, to lead us through the Bonfire of the Vanities period in renaissance Florence. The bit about the painter's identity was a bit contrived, though.

l
lozza1401
Aug 07, 2013

One of the first books I have truly enjoyed in a long time. A story of an unconventional girl in Renaissance Florence.

WVMLBookClubTitles Jun 17, 2013

Set in the Italian Renaissance, this novel brings alive the history of Florence during its most dramatic period. A compulsively absorbing story of love, art, religion and power, told through the passionate voice of a sixteen-year-old heroine.

j
JKS5645
Aug 23, 2011

Series?

e
emerge
Mar 22, 2011

Like nothing else I've ever read. Highly recommend!

indielibrarian Sep 05, 2010

**spoiler alert** Whoever wrote the description on the inside flap doesn't seem to have read the book. It made it sound much more interesting than it was, and is incorrect as to the actual events in the novel. The historical detail was fantastic, and the story and characters engaging, but not a whole lot happens, at least not as much as I was hoping. The main character is fully realized, but side characters are a little flat. Decent historical fiction, but I prefer her previous novel, In the Company of the Courtesan

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