The third unforgettable historical love story set in Italy from Marina Fiorato, author of the bestseller THE GLASSBLOWER OF MURANO. For fans of Philippa Gregory, Sarah Dunant and Alison Weir.
Florence looks like gold and smells like sulphur . . .In the colourful world of fifteenth-century Italy, Luciana Vetra is young and beautiful, a part-time model and full-time whore. When she is asked to pose as the goddess Flora for Sandro Botticelli's painting La Primavera, she is willing to oblige - until the artist abruptly sends her away without payment. Affronted, she steals an unfinished version of the painting - only to find that someone is ready to kill her to get it back.
As friends and associates are murdered around her, Luciana turns to the one man who has never tried to exploit her beauty, Brother Guido della Torre, a novice at the monastery of Santa Croce. Fleeing Florence together, Luciana and Guido race through the nine great cities of Renaissance Italy, desperately trying to decode the painting's secrets before their enemies stop them.
The city-states of Renaissance Italy serve as the vibrant backdrop for this less than successful homage to The Da Vinci Code from Fiorato (TheGlassblower of Murano). In 1482 Florence, while prostitute Luciana Vetra is posing for Botticelli's Primavera, she makes a casual comment that terrifies the artist. Sent away unpaid, Luciana steals a miniature of the painting in revenge. When she discovers that an assassin is on her trail, she flees Florence with the most trustworthy companion she can find, handsome and cultured monk Brother Guido della Torre. As the two decode the secrets hidden in the painting (and fall in love), its meanings send them on a quest through Italy to save their own lives and avert a conspiracy involving the greatest powers of the day. Luciana's energetic narrative voice keeps the pages turning, but lengthy passages deconstructing La Primavera yield secrets, unlike those in Dan Brown's bestseller, with little resonance for modern readers.