Botticelli’s Muse peels back layers of history to tell a fictionalized version of the life of Sandro Botticelli, his conflicts with the Medici family of Florence, and the woman at the heart of his paintings. In 1477, Botticelli is suddenly fired by his prestigious patron and friend Lorenzo de’ Medici. In the villa of his irritating new patron, the artist’s creative well runs dry—until the day he sees Floriana, a Jewish weaver imprisoned in his sister’s convent. But events threaten to keep his unlikely muse out of reach. So begins a tale of one of the art world’s most beloved paintings, La Primavera, as Sandro, a confirmed bachelor, and Floriana, a headstrong artist in her own right, enter into a turbulent relationship.
Set in Renaissance Italy, Blume's interpretation of master painter Sandro Botticelli is at once a florid love story and a chilling political drama. Sensuous and provocative as well as mysterious, the novel follows Sandro's troubled relationship with Florence's ruling Medici family. He works under the patronage of Lorenzo de Medici until a sudden dismissal leads to a new benefactor, Lorenzo's young cousin, Piero. During a visit to his sister's nearby convent, Sandro meets Floriana, a captivating Jewish weaver who is a prisoner being forced to renounce her faith. Beguiled by her beauty and artistry with flowers, Sandro becomes inspired to create his iconic painting La Primavera. Sandro and Floriana fall in love, but Savonarola, a zealot priest with a violent past, is a threat to both. Meanwhile, a political conspiracy threatening the Medici family is gaining steam. Political unrest and an assassination that hits close to Sandro separate him from an expectant Floriana; he is placed under house arrest and forced to memorialize the political bloodbath with his art, an order he despises. Blume convincingly evokes the tumultuous time period; however, her passages involving lustful priests feel more gratuitous than necessary for the narrative. The prose is clear and precise and, despite the book's length, the pace does not lag. (BookLife)\n\nThe price on this review has been corrected; it is , not
masterful and imaginative!
Dorah Blume has masterfully interwoven art, religion, history, and romance in this gripping, vividly imagined novel. The characters are dynamic and compelling, and the drama never lets up! This is a must read for lovers of the renaissance era, but one needn’t be an historical fiction buff to become engaged in this book. The themes and struggles are as relevant today as they were in late 15th century Italy where the scene of this story unfolds.
Loved the book!!!