Simonetta Cattaneo knows she is beautiful. She has been told so all her life. So, when Marco Vespucci shows interest in marrying her she knows that is part of it, but she also finds in him a man who is not turned off by her love of literature and learning. She happily agrees to marry the handsome young man, and she and her parents move to his hometown of Florence until the wedding.
Marco is friends with Lorenzo de Medici, a wealthy and powerful man who entertains artists, philosophers, and poets. It is at one of his parties that Simonetta meets the painter Sandro Botticelli, where he asks that she pose for him.
The two form a close bond as she sits for his painting, leading to an intimate relationship and her likeness being capture in Botticelli’s famous painting, The Birth of Venus.
I can’t pinpoint exactly what it is about Palombo’s writing that draws me in and refuses to let go. There’s something about it that can take the happenings of everyday life and make it feel magical, yet very, very real. She writes characters in such a way that even in the middle of their worst flaws you can’t quite hate them. Her descriptions are just enough to help you see everything in your mind, and so well done that you see quite vividly.
Like her first novel, The Violinist of Venice, I couldn’t put this one down. There were mixed feelings of wanting to get to the end to see how it all turned out, yet not wanting it to end.
As for content, there are a couple of instances with harsh language, and the love scenes in this one are more descriptive than The Violinist of Venice, but they are not drawn out and do not dominate the novel.
Ms. Palombo knows how to tell a story that will keep the pages turning, and I look forward to her future novels.
1) Overall Plot = 5
2) Characters = 5
3) Flow/Pace of the story = 5
4) Is the story easy to follow? = 5
5) Overall Enjoyability = 5
Average of score 5 out of 5