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Publisher's Summary

Who are the Medici brothers? And who is trying to assassinate them? Why was the Pitti Palace never completed? And what part did Leonardo play in all of this? Leonardo da Vinci is remembered as an artist and inventor. But who was he before anyone knew his name? This family-friendly novel explores the history and the legends of his early years in Florence. It also weaves a mystery of politics and power. This novel is the first in the series of historically based novels - The Life and Travels of Da Vinci (followed by Leonardo: Masterpieces in Milan and Leonardo: To Mantua and Beyond).

©2010, 2017 Catherine McGrew Jaime (P)2017 Catherine McGrew Jaime

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

About Leonardo

Any additional comments?

This story felt more like a biography than a fiction. The voice felt distant, as if we were just reading about Leonardo. There were hardly any feelings involved and I just didn’t connect with the characters on any level. Compared to other historical fiction I’ve read, this just felt like a slightly altered biography. Not sure whether this is a fiction or historical nonfiction.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

My son was riveted

Would you consider the audio edition of Leonardo the Florentine to be better than the print version?

I've not see the print version so really can't speak to this.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Leonardo the Florentine?

MOM!!! It can't be over yet, it was just getting to be really really really interesting! I want to know more. What happens next mom?

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

he sometimes over enunciated, making the reading a bit stilted sometimes.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I thought it was a good story. I joined my lad in wanting to know what was going to happen next. I think it would be great to listen to the next part.

Any additional comments?

we both learned so much, Leonardo Da Vinci was such a fascinating character. we saw the good, and we saw the more challenging aspects of his personality. it was a well rounded story.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Historically Fascinating

Any additional comments?

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

This was a good book, even though it felt like more of a biography than a historical fiction novel. It was difficult to connect to the people; ie. Leonardo barely talks to one of his friends and instead of feeling sad for him, I just didn't care. It was not an emotionally captivating novel. On the other hand, the historical aspects were fascinating! Learning about Leonardo's early life, the strains between him and his father and his apprenticeship was very interesting.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Awakening of a brilliant mind

Where does Leonardo the Florentine rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

It's a good audiobook, but read in an even way. I prefer audiobooks with every character portrayed differently.

What did you like best about this story?

I liked the portrayal of Leonardo as a real, living boy.

Which scene was your favorite?

All the scenes involving Leonardo and Lorenzo were very good. My favorite was Lorenzo observing Leonardo grooming his horse.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, it was engaging and the characters were well developed.

Any additional comments?

A very enjoyable story about young Leonardo meeting Lorenzo, which culminated in creating some of the best artwork of the Renaissance era. Leonardo's thirst for knowledge, quickly recognized and encouraged by Lorenzo drove him to become one of the most enlightened minds of his times.

I loved the relationship between Lorenzo and other apprentices in Master Verrocchio's workshop. The country boy discovers the treasures of Florence, visiting some of it most famous edifices. A touch of politics adds some suspense to the story, but it's not fully developed.

I received this audiobook at no-cost from Audiobookworm Promotions. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Leonardo

This was a good story about Leonardo growing up and into the man he was.I thought it was aimed more towards children, but I could be wrong.David Winograd was a wonderful narrator.I was provided this book by the author, narrator or publisher.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Well researched historical fiction

Any additional comments?

The solid research that went into this cannot be denied, which I feel is the strongest aspect of this book. The story is not bad but it felt so close toward being an honest biography. I felt like I was learning about someone, not connecting with them. Better narration wouldn't have fixed this issue but it could have helped. The narration felt more at home in academia than fiction. There was no adjustment in pacing, tone, or distinct voices.

This book offers a fascinating depiction of Da Vinci as a youth. A subject about which I'm not sure I've ever read before.

This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Learned more than from my old arts teacher!

Any additional comments?

It was a really interesting experience, this book, and very different from my usual reads. I think one of the best things is that I was able to recognize names but then finally feel like I'd be able to remember them, should the subject arise in the future.

I liked the flow of the story and how I could follow Leonardo through his initial years. Catherine Jaime's story feels very educational, and David Winograd, the narrator, has a very clear voice which I felt was appropriate. I will certainly continue the series, because I think Leonardo da Vinci is a very interesting artist about whom the general public (myself included) knows very little.

While I won't ask my tutees to read this book - whatever you try to make kids and teens do backfires, after all - I will tell them about it and recommend it, and hopefully they'll notice how excited I am about this series and then see what the fuss is all about.

The reason I don't give this book 5 stars is because I liked it, but didn't fall in love with it. I think more details about paints, materials and utensils would have made it for me... but then again, perhaps younger readers would find those details to be too boring.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Leslie F.
  • LONG BEACH, CA, United States
  • 05-12-17

Interesting book suitable for all ages

I really enjoyed this book, which I got in exchange for my honest review. Leonardo DaVinci has always fascinated me, so learning about his early life and influence really appealed to me. The book is written well in an easy-t0-understand and family-friendly format. After finishing listening to it, I thought I might have my 6- and 7-year-old listen to it, since they have studied him in school. I think this book can be enjoyed by any age. I also thought the narrator did a good job. I'm really looking forward to the next book in the series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Little things lead to greatness

Would you listen to Leonardo the Florentine again? Why?

Yes - there are many details to absorb

What did you like best about this story?

Getting a glimpse into Leonardo's day to day life as a child (apprentice)

Which scene was your favorite?

The scene where he gets access to books, his desire to read and obtain books, his desire to learn!

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes -

Any additional comments?

I felt like I was back in grade-school, listening to my teacher read after lunch...and I mean that in the nicest way possible! This was a good story! Give it a couple of hours and enjoy a delightful transport back in time as you think about what little things happens in a life that lead to greatness! I look forward to more Leonardo stories...

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Educational and entertaining!

What little I knew of Leonardo da Vinci before listening to this book was about his later years. Leonardo the Florentine does a great job of showing us who Leonardo was as a boy, teen, and young man. At an age we would today consider far to young to be off on your own, Leonardo apprenticed at Master Verrochio’s art workshop in Florence. The story excels at describing not only the work done at the workshop but the various architecture, pageantry, and statues around Florence. Leonardo was exposed to quite the variety of art forms and media during his formative years. Even though he was much older that the typical novice, he possessed a deep interest and no little amount of natural skill. Verrochio noted that and encouraged Leonardo to take on greater and greater challenges.

There’s a bit of intrigue tossed into the tale. Leonardo was alive during the time of the Medicis and the politics of the time often involved battles and small wars up and down the length of Italy. Leonardo isn’t interested in politics and hopes to never get caught up in a war, but there is this mystery concerning the Pitti Palace that threatens to suck Leonardo and his friends into intrigue. While I would have enjoyed the book a little more if this aspect of the story had more of a presence, I still enjoyed Leonardo uncovering information one clue at a time.

This is a family-friendly version of Leonardo’s younger years. There’s no gore or love story or even harsh words. All the characters are polite to each other, even the gruff ones. While I can appreciate that the focus of the story is giving us a good outline of young Leonardo’s life, it did come off as a little to tidied up. The 1470s were definitely harsher than our modern era with flush toilets, antibiotics, and the UN. A little grit would have given a more believable flavor to the story. Leonardo comes off as naive throughout the entire tale; as a kid and even teen, this would have probably worked but as he enters his young adult years, having lived without family and earning his keep from a young age, the naivety didn’t work so well.

While there are a handful of women mentioned, there are no female characters. There were obviously women in the 1470s in Florence and most likely there were some women in Leonardo’s life even if they were relegated to the roles of someone’s wife or housekeeper or cook or such. I would have appreciated even a token try at gender balancing this tale.
Leonardo the Florentine is a good source of information about Leonardo’s young years, if not detailed. I learned that Leonardo had no formal schooling (even by standards of the day) and had to learn Latin mostly on his own. This single skill opened a world of knowledge to Leonardo. His status as a student and worker at Verrochio’s workshop opened doors for him that would have remained closed otherwise due to his birth status. Prior to listening to this book, I did not know that Leonardo had such a strained relationship with his parents. Nuggets of info like these are revealed throughout the story in interesting ways. By the end, I felt I knew young Leonardo as a possible friend instead of some wise old man high up on a pedestal. 4/5 stars
The Narration: David Winograd did a pretty good job with this story. His Italian and Latin pronunciations of names and certain words sounded accurate to me. His voice as young, naive Leonardo was well done. There were a few places throughout the story where there were some odd pauses in the middle of sentences. All his character voices were distinct. 4.5/5 stars.
➜ This audiobook was received at no-cost from Audiobookworm Promotions. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.