I enjoyed this immensely. The story spanned generations and tied it all in nicely. Narrated wonderfully. In fact, with this novel, the narration blended in so nicely with the story, that I scarcely heard her voice, but rather felt the story unfolding. I love well-researched historical novels and this is one! An entertaining story, and a breathtakingly beautiful setting, as seen by my mind's eye. I highly recommend this one.
I chose this book because the last few books I listened to were pretty lightweight entertainment. I wanted something more intellectually "meaty," so this story of a young Florentine girl during the Renaissance immediately caught my attention. Although there were a few parts that I kind of "tuned out," I enjoyed this book very much. Not only did I learn about the history of Florence, but the storyline was excellent. Allesandra's many relationships all had little twists to them. The events were all interwoven and the story kept you wondering what would happen next. I would definitely recommend this book.
Listen to the free sample and know that this book is full of similar detailed descriptions of heinous crimes and gory diseases. I was expecting to read about art in the romantic Italy of the past and I couldn't listen for more than 2.5 hours. As a writer, the only value I can gain from this book is as a contrast to other similar books. Listen to Karen Essex's Leonardo's Swan and then to this book and see, how at every turn and with every choice the author makes, one can be a romantic (like Essex) or a naturalist (like Dunant). Personally, I prefer the former. I get enough gory crimes from the news.
The story took a long time to come together but I thought it would be worth it. But it really didn't move forward and was somewhat of a let down for all the time spend to get through the first part.
I would pass on this author unless you are a person really in to art history and a mediocre story. It had such potential but missed the mark on a great story. It left me confused about the motivation for the main character.
The performance was completely fine. She did a good job.
The history of the time period you can tell was well researched. And interwoven into the story well. I am reading other books about the time period and from the historical perspective, it was a nice complement to those other books.
While I have gradually developed a fondness for this narrator, I have to say that overall I have struggled with the somewhat homogenous quality of her voice. Her voice actually is lovely, but there is a lack of inflection, of variety to the characters, of punch to give life to the words, and I find the reading therefore flat. The book itself is wonderful and fascinating.
Good story well told.
I was pretty sure even before I started listening, the painter would be Michelangelo. It was fun to be right.
In the Birth of Venus, we nestle inside the mind of Alessandra, a girl on the verge of womanhood, and follow her path through marriage and betrayal. Set in Florence in the late 1400s, this book is a fascinating historical fiction novel as well as being a bit of a love story. It is most definitely not a romance novel, however. It is a more a story of a woman who doesn't fit her time/place/class deciding to rebel, and then learning to live with the consequences that follow her. All of the characters are wonderfully drawn, and the plot moves nicely forward throughout. I enjoyed the narrator's voice--light with no vocal weirdness that you sometimes come upon in audiobooks (mouth sounds, drawn out words, over-drama, no distiniction between voices, etc).
Worth the credit for sure. I even teared up at the ending because I had grown so attached to Alessandra. Enjoy!
Everyone learns of the Italian Renaissance in school, but only of certain people. This book is about a family, like many, who help the Renaissance painters on to greatness.
The Cecchi family is one such family that gets to experience the Renaissance first hand. The youngest daughter, Alessandra, is the main character. Smart, strong willed and talented she want to break away from the place life has set for her. She feels she may be lucky when her father brings a painter into the house to work on their family's chapel. Of course, fate plays a dirty trick on her. When the French invade, she's forced to choose between a life in a convent or marriage. She chooses marriage and ends up being married, hastily, to a man who promises to give her everything she wants provided she keeps his secret. His secret, he's a sodomite. During this time Florence is being ruled by Savonarola, a monk who feels everything is wrong. Well, almost everything. The book goes through what it's like to live under a fanatic and tells about the original Bonfire of the Vanities, a time where everyone had to give up their most precious possessions that could be deemed unholy, flashy etc. The books ending is very different from the meat of the book and was a little bit of a let down for me.
I rate this a 7.75 out of 10. The beginning starts off very well. The book is set up in a sort of flashback way. I do like it when I can know what happens and then find out how it happens. I do like Alessandra for the most part. A product of her time I can't blame her for being naive when it comes to certain things.
There is an element of mystery in the book though. A murder mystery that is solved very near the end of the book. I do feel that it was a bit...odd because it had only a small connection with the rest of the book and could have been left out, or could have been expanded upon in my opinion.
Despite the books problems it's well worth the read. It's cemeted my love affair with historical fiction.
This is a very nice book and I was intrigued to watch myself make time to listen to it beyond my normal hours of listening.
The time setting of the book is very interesting to me, and the author did a great job portraying life at the time.
What I feel is the great bonus in the book is the author's portrayal of Savonarola, who was a priest who turned Florence against itself to the point even great artists burned their art because it was a sacrilege towards God. Here is a "Man of God" who managed to make it look like God was against great art. Savonarola's logic was exquisite and we should watch out for such public manipulation in the present and future days.