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The Birth of Venus

by Sarah Dunant

This novel is set in Florence during the time of the downfall of the Medicis, and the rise to power of the monk Savanarola. The main character is a young woman whose talent is painting, at a time when a woman's role is to prepare herself for an arranged marriage or to enter a nunnery if she rebels. Alessandra is a rebel, born before her time in many ways. A young artist is brought to her household to paint frescos on the chapel walls. Alessandra not only improves her skill with a paintbrush under his tuition, but learns other skills as well...suffice it to say, no good can come of this liason! There is much of interest in this novel with regard to historical background, but I felt that it fell somewhere between being a 'serious' historical novel and a lighter more racy book altogether.

Suggested by Susan Burgess, Paignton, Torbay

Tagged with: fascinating interesting unputdownable



This book grabs you by the collar and you're hooked.Dunant is able to draw you into the Renaissance background, and the characters are well-fleshed out and vivid. It might attract people who otherwise wouldn't touch historical novels by means of its racy feminist angle.
I agree with the reviewer. The historical background is fascinating and the main characters are quite well drawn. There is a brilliant "hook" which will make you want to read the story to the end. Our reader group loved it.

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