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Signora da Vinci by Robin Maxwell

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amyb
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Signora da Vinci by Robin Maxwell

Post by amyb » Tue January 27th, 2009, 12:20 am

Not much is known about the woman who gave birth to one of the most brilliant men in our history, Leonardo da Vinci. Her name and the events around her famous son's birth is pretty much it. Until now. Robin Maxwell takes us back to 15th century Italy and paints us a beautiful picture of Leonardo's childhood and of his fascinating mother, Caterina.

Young Caterina is raised surrounded by her father's love and the beautiful countryside of Vinci, Italy. At the age of eight Caterina's father, Ernesto, teaches her the ways of apothecary and alchemy - not a safe hobby and punishable by death. A free-spirited girl, she often roams the land without a guardian. One afternoon she meets Piero, the son of a neighboring noble family. They quickly fall in love during their clandestine meetings and Caterina becomes pregnant. Piero's family forbids them to marry and unfortunately for Caterina, Piero shows no backbone and is sent away to Florence and quickly married off. When Caterina gives birth to her son she falls in love instantly and their unbreakable bond is formed. In one of the most heart-wrenching scenes I have ever read, Piero's family swoops in and whisks little Leonardo right out of Caterina's arms. This is a usual fate of fatherless children during this time - the need to preserve the family bloodline is of the utmost importance. I was broken-hearted and grieved along with Caterina.

So powerful is Caterina's maternal love in this novel...it just exudes from the page and makes you feel all warm and tingly inside. Everything she does is for her child, even going so far as securing a spot for him for as an apprentice with the famous Florentine artisian, Maestro Verrocchio, far away in Florence. Being the inventive girl that she is, Caterina finds a way to be near her son - come hell or high water. Leonardo is remarkably talented and it showed from an early age. His hunger for knowledge is completely addicting and I can't wait to read more about him.

My favorite aspect of the novel is when we meet Lorenzo de Medici and enter his world of philosophers, thinkers, scientists and artists. He is one hotty intellectual and totally stole the show (IMO). The great minds of the time are also brought to life; Sandro Bottiicelli, Marsilio Ficino, Christoforo Landino and Leon Battista Albertia are just to name a few.

I have one word for this novel...DIVINE and I recommend Signora da Vinci to EVERYONE! You will meet some of the most fascinating and enthralling characters and will not want to put this one down! It's the kind of novel that you carry everywhere and read whenever you can squeeze in a few minutes - in the kitchen while cooking, in the bathroom, waiting in the grocery store line...anywhere.

Once I've finished a novel I'm pretty stoked and eager to move on to the next adventure awaiting me. However, with Signora Da Vinci I just kind of sat back and ran through the novel again in my mind, this time slowly savoring it. Robin Maxwell has most definitely sealed herself a spot among my stalk-worthy list of authors!

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Misfit
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Post by Misfit » Tue January 27th, 2009, 12:24 am

Oh very cool, thank you. I just picked this one up from the library today, although I do have another 200 or so pages left on Penmarric....

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Post by Susan » Tue January 27th, 2009, 2:32 am

Just started this last night. I haven't got too far yet.
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Post by michellemoran » Tue January 27th, 2009, 3:25 am

I really, REALLY enjoyed this novel, and not just because Robin is such a good friend. Like you, Amy, I loved meeting Lorenzo's circle of philosophers, and I thought the scene with the shroud was very well done!
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amyb
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Post by amyb » Tue January 27th, 2009, 12:18 pm

[quote=""michellemoran""]I really, REALLY enjoyed this novel, and not just because Robin is such a good friend. Like you, Amy, I loved meeting Lorenzo's circle of philosophers, and I thought the scene with the shroud was very well done![/quote]

Yes, I agree...just so interesting! I can't remember what they called the room that they met in, but oh to be a fly on that wall and bask in the genius of them all! Ahhhh...what a nice dream.

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Post by EC2 » Tue January 27th, 2009, 5:59 pm

Thanks for the review Amy. Sounds really great. I'll perhaps give Robin Maxwell another chance. I read The Wild Irish for HNS review some years ago and wasn't keen at all, but perhaps it wasn't indicative of her best writing.
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Post by diamondlil » Tue January 27th, 2009, 10:06 pm

I started this last night, and so far so good.

EC, I had only read one other book from this author previously, but was a bit underwhelmed by it.
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EC2
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Post by EC2 » Tue January 27th, 2009, 11:54 pm

[quote=""diamondlil""]I started this last night, and so far so good.

EC, I had only read one other book from this author previously, but was a bit underwhelmed by it.[/quote]

Thanks for that diamondlil. I felt the same way, but I will give the author another go and add this one to my TBR.
Les proz e les vassals
Souvent entre piez de chevals
Kar ja li coard n’I chasront

'The Brave and the valiant
Are always to be found between the hooves of horses
For never will cowards fall down there.'

Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal

www.elizabethchadwick.com

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Julianne Douglas
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Post by Julianne Douglas » Sat January 31st, 2009, 4:24 pm

ARgh!!!! I put my copy down somewhere and now I can't find it! I hope it slid under the seat in the car...gotta go check...I can't figure out what happened to it. I was really enjoying it, too!
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Divia
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Post by Divia » Sat January 31st, 2009, 6:17 pm

I havent read it yet. I didnt win any of the 1,000 copies being offerened. :p

Anyway I'm waiting to see if the library gets it.
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