Sunday, November 2, 2008

Sunday Salon in Florence, Italy

I'm sitting on the deck, drinking hot Chai tea and recapping my reading today. The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant has kept me captivated all afternoon. I did suspect that it would be a bit more detailed and harder to follow but I'm enjoying this one immensely. The book starts out with the most incredible, unbelievable... a nun with a Renaissance style tattoo. Mmmm... I'm thinking that's what's going but not real sure - we've left that scene totally and I'm just not sure where this is going.

Review from Reading Group Guides:
Alessandra Cecchi is not quite fifteen when her father, a prosperous cloth merchant, brings a young painter back from northern Europe to decorate the chapel walls in the family's Florentine palazzo. A child of the Renaissance, with a precocious mind and a talent for drawing, Alessandra is intoxicated by the painter's abilities.

But their burgeoning relationship is interrupted when Alessandra's parents arrange her marriage to a wealthy, much older man. Meanwhile, Florence is changing, increasingly subject to the growing suppression imposed by the fundamentalist monk Savonarola, who is seizing religious and political control. Alessandra and her native city are caught between the Medici state, with its love of luxury, learning, and dazzling art, and the hellfire preaching and increasing violence of Savonarola's reactionary followers. Played out against this turbulent backdrop, Alessandra's married life is a misery, except for the surprising freedom it allows her to pursue her powerful attraction to the young painter and his art.

The Birth of Venus is a tour de force, the first historical novel from one of Britain's most innovative writers of literary suspense. It brings alive the history of Florence at its most dramatic period, telling a compulsively absorbing story of love, art, religion, and power through the passionate voice of Alessandra, a heroine with the same vibrancy of spirit as her beloved city.

Going back in now to read some more! See you next Sunday.