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Posts Tagged ‘Lynn Cullen’

Rating: 5  

Reaction: A member of the minor nobility, female Renaissance painter Sofonisba Anguissola studied under Michelangelo despite the social and artistic limitations imposed upon her because of her gender.  After gaining some minor acclaim, Sofi is invited to join the court of the King to become the art teacher and friend to young Queen Elisabeth of Spain. An unfinished love affair gives Sofi a different perspective on the court of Spanish King Felipe II, a place where cruelty and joy, power and hope comingle; a place where women are little more than bargaining chips.

If you’ve read my blog before, you know historical fiction isn’t my norm. Because of that, I went in with mixed expectations despite several glowing reviews.  But wow – it was fabulous!  There was a definite feeling that the book was painted instead of written, which was perfect for a book about a painter.  The combination of historical fact and reasonable fiction was well imagined and carefully integrated (though there were occasional stretches).  The time period was also well drawn and complete – an excellent period piece. The detail in which the paintings were described was also lovely. While I prefer architecture (I could cheerfully get a PhD in Gothic Architecture) and black-and-white photographs, the discussion of the paintings was very interesting and was effectively used to further both the plot and our understanding of the characters. All in all, a beautiful work! Highly recommended.

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