Saturday, January 8, 2011

Review: The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant

Title: The Birth of Venus
Author: Sarah Dunant
Pages: 391
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 5/5
Alessandra Cecchi is fourteen when her father brings a painter to their home in Florence to paint frescoes in their family's chapel. She is immediately taken with this painter, as she has a talent and a love for art as well. Unfortunately in the Renaissance era, girls are not to paint, but to be married. When there is political changes from the death of Medici, everything changes. Her only option is to get married or move to a convent. She chooses the former, believing it to be the most freeing for herself.
Why I chose to read this: I purchased this novel as part of a box of books for $5.00. I didn't know anything about it, and so it sat on my shelf, untouched, for two years. I wasn't (obviously) that excited to read this, didn't know anything about Italy history, the Renaissance, and the fall of Medici. I pulled it off the shelf, dusted it off and started reading, pretty much because that is what was around me. Eek... Should I admit this?
My Thoughts: I love this book. I gave it 5 out of 5 smooches. From others reviews, I am wondering if my simple mindedness is why I love it so much. Like I said earlier, I really didn't know much about this time period. I became captivated with the description of the art and the political history that Florence as a whole became a character itself.
There is so much that happens and so much passion within each person. There are twists that I didn't see coming, and felt there was a lot of depth to the novel, and so delicious to read. I would definitely read more novels by Sarah Dunant.
*************************SPOILER ALERT**********************************
Who has read this? I would love to know who you believe the painter to be. I didn't find the answer to be clearly spelled out and I know there is some debate as to who he actually is. I have my theory, but would love to know your thoughts as well.


Trish said...

I have this on the shelf!! I haven't been dying to read it but now you have me really intrigued. Maybe I should bump it up on the list.

How are you blogging??? I miss you....!

Michelle said...

I always get a bit nervous when I give a book a high rating. When others read it, and hate it, makes me feel bad... Like I let them down. Strange huh? I guess its that whole "I am too hard on myself" mentality I seem to have. Please read! I would love to hear your review!

Care said...

OH, I remember enjoying this one very much. Is this the one that starts off with her death and the 'discovery'? or am I confusing it with something else.... Anyway, I don't think I ever thought it was a famous painter - just a story? hmmmm.

Michelle said...

Care, this is the book you are thinking of. I thought the author was hinting at a famous painter, but didn't really say specifically who it was. Maybe he wasn't a famous one.