The Birth of Venus: A Novel

by Sarah Dunant | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0812968972 Global Overview for this book
Registered by indygo88 of Lafayette, Indiana USA on 4/27/2007
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This book is in a Controlled Release! This book is in a Controlled Release!
4 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by indygo88 from Lafayette, Indiana USA on Friday, April 27, 2007
"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."

I still haven't read this (have a copy on Mt. TBR), but can't seem to stop buying extra copies....
Got this one at a library sale.

7/19/09 -- I've had several of Dunant's on my shelves for quite some time now, but this is the first I've actually found time to delve into. I loved the beginning of the novel: upon the death of a nun, her convent sisters discover a very detailed tattoo of a snake, with its tail beginning up across her shoulder & its body gradually winding across her chest & leading down to...well, you can probably guess -- where, instead of a snake's head, the head of a man resides. A very gripping and eye-opening beginning to a story.

From there, the story goes back in time to retrace the nun's history. The pace of the novel is a bit slower now, but still intriguing nonetheless. A few minor plot twists are thrown in along the way, and the reader is anxious to know how the main character of Alessandra evolves into the nun at the beginning of the story. I must admit I was doubtful as to the credibility of how Dunant was going to bring this full circle, but I was quite pleased by how she did end up doing so.

Journal Entry 2 by indygo88 from Lafayette, Indiana USA on Saturday, May 12, 2007
Going into my trade paperback bookbox....

Journal Entry 3 by Minerva101 from Calgary, Alberta Canada on Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Picked out of Indygo88's trade paperback bookbox.
This book sounds very good.
Adding to Mt. TBR

Journal Entry 4 by Minerva101 at Calgary, Alberta Canada on Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Well - it has take me 4 1/2 years to get around to reading this, but it was finally time - the book called to me from my dusty bookshelf.
And what a spectacular book! The writing is poetry and Sarah Dunant paints pictures with her prose the way Alessandra paints with her brushes. It is a bittersweet romance, history and family epic all rolled into one.
I just know the next book I read won't stand up to the quality and beauty of this historical novel. I will certainly seek out more by Sarah Dunant.

Journal Entry 5 by Minerva101 at Calgary, Alberta Canada on Friday, February 17, 2012

Released 7 yrs ago (2/17/2012 UTC) at Calgary, Alberta Canada


I am adding this fabulous book to imawinn2's Historical Fiction Bookbox. I hope the next reader enjoys it as much as I did!!

Journal Entry 6 by wingk00kaburrawing at San Jose, California USA on Thursday, May 03, 2012
I have a copy of this book in my permanent collection. My thoughts:

In many ways this seemed to be a retread of the territory covered in Sacred Hearts - but as this book was written first,I suppose that makes Sacred Hearts the offender. Hmmmm. Anyway. Again, we are taken back to Renaissance-era Italy and the walls of a convent, where an old nun has just died. In the process of preparing her body for burial, it is discovered that a snake tattoo is wrapped around her body.

We then flash backwards in time and are introduced to this tattooed nun as a young (and clean-skinned) teenager named Alessandra, daughter of a wealthy cloth merchant in Florence. Her father has hired a painter to decorate the family chapel, and as Alessandra is very interested in drawing she tries to befriend him - but he rejects her attempts. Eventually, she marries, but her new husband turns out to be a sodomite. In return for her discretion and blind eye (her husband carries on an affair with her brother of all people, ugh), Alessandra is granted extraordinary freedom for a woman of her rank. She and the painter meet up once more, and this time a passionate romance blossoms between them. But Florence is being torn apart by the preaching of Savonarola, and Alessandra's husband is in great danger. Further, she's become pregnant and she doesn't know who the father is. In this web of secrecy someone's bound to get caught, but on which poor soul will the axe fall?

Yeah, it's like a soap opera set in the 15th century. But it was a good read...well, a good listen. I should very much like to read the full novel now.

The sex is pretty graphic, as are descriptions of disease. Not good if you have a sensitive imagination.

Journal Entry 7 by imawinn2 at Neenah, Wisconsin USA on Monday, May 28, 2012
This came home in my Historical Fiction Bookbox. I read this book a few years ago and really enjoyed it. I have plans to share this in the near future. So, be on the watch for this book's next journey. :-)

Journal Entry 8 by imawinn2 at Neenah, Wisconsin USA on Thursday, July 12, 2012

Released 7 yrs ago (7/12/2012 UTC) at Neenah, Wisconsin USA


Placing this book in TaleofGenji's The Fairy Godmother Fiction Bookbox. At the time of this posting, this book had 14 Wishes in the U.S.A. Happy Travels!

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