Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Birth of Venus

For those of you who enjoy historical fiction, here's a goodie. I bought it about four years ago and only just now got around to reading it.

Set in Renaissance Florence, it's the story of a young woman of good family who wants to be an artist -- in a time when marriage or the convent were her only choices. The book paints a vivid picture of the beauty and the squalor and the political turmoil at his time when the monk Savonarola and his Taliban-like cohorts scourged the city, seeking to destroy much of the art and learning that had been the Medici heritage and glory.

Alessandra's story is at the center of all of this. A strong, passionate woman, at a time women were not expected to be either, she is a worthy heroine.

Great setting, fascinating characters, intriguing story line (a bit of a mystery to it) -- and you learn a little history in the bargain.

I loved it!

And one more thing: Always proofread your emails.

A few days ago, I sent an email to one of my students about our class work. I had just realized that he was married to a woman I know slightly and I wanted to say 'hi' to her.

What I typed was: "Tell Danny I said 'ho'!

Thank goodness I didn't hit SEND before I caught it. I would have had some explaining to do.

Posted by Picasa


Poetry24 said...

Sounds a good read Vicki, and you've highlighted it just days before we head off for a week in Cornwall. Could be an addition to my holiday reading!

Good advice on proof-reading emails too. Once it's's sent.

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

I love books like this. I'm currently reading "Luncheon at the Boating Party" by Susan Vreeland. It's about Renoir and his famous painting.

You would also like "The Passion of Artemisia" also by Susan. Artemisia became a painter during Leonardo d' Vinci's time when women weren't allowed to do such things. Her father sold her (can you imagine). "Girl with the Pearl Earring" is also fantastic.

Sorry to ramble on - I love this kind of historical fiction. I wish we lived closer: we could share our libraries. For the time being, I guess I'll keep Amazon in business. I'm putting "The Birth of Venus" on my wish list. Thanks Vicki.

Eliane Zimmermann said...

thank you for the recommendation, this book sounds as if I could like it, I will check our well sorted public library as soon as I'll be back to ireland. your morning glory looks like my evening glory yesterday, i will post it those days. and yes, after a missent e-mail some years ago (about a new manuscript to the editor in the publishing house of my other book...) i always proofread my e-mails and the adress in the header!!!

Vicki Lane said...

Re that email -- I don't know if my cultured European readers are aware that 'ho' has entered the American slang lexicon as an alternative version of wh_re. Which is why. . .

I've read and loved The Girl with the Pearl Earring, Sam. Will have to look into the others.

NCmountainwoman said...

Looks like a good read. I am so like you in having a stack of books. It's so wonderful to find a real jewel among them. I've owned books as long as ten years before reading them. Sometimes the time just has to be right.

Nice photos from your new camera. Hope the fall colors give you lots of opportunities.

Unknown said...

Vicki - You might also enjoy "Signora Da Vinci" by Robin Maxwell - fiction about Da Vinci's mother who poses as a man so that she can be closer to her son Leonardo as he trains in Florence. It's excellent! "Girl in Hyacinth Blue" is also a favorite. Thanks for the great photos as always.

Vicki Lane said...

So right, Mountainwoman! I've had one book on my bedside table for about a year now and have yet to open it, I don't know why.

Thanks, Liz -- I've added your recommendations, along with Sam's, to my newsletter. There's always a virtual book exchange going on there.

Carol Murdock said...

Sounds like a goood read for sure Vicki! LOVE the new header!!
Bet you got chilly willy last night! :)

Victoria said...

Vicki, that sounds like a book I'll have to add to my to-be-read stack. Well, to be honest, it's STACKS. I'm so addicted to books, it's almost embarrassing.

Another book by Susan Vreeland that you might enjoy is "The Forest Lover." It's about Canadian painter Emily Carr, a woman who traveled about British Columbia alone in the early 1900's capturing the culture and artifacts of the native people on canvas. Like Artemisia Gentileschi, she was an amazing woman who sucessfully defied the limitations of her time.

And I love your beautiful new header photograph!

Vicki Lane said...

Thanks, Carol! Yep, it was right chilly.

Oh, I adored that book, Victoria! It really made me want to go visit the area and see her paintings.

caryn said...

It does sound like a good read Vicki and it is going on my very long "look for" list.
I've taken the summer off from visiting blogs, but fall is here so I'll be back by more often now.
I'm looking forward to seeing you again at Bcon!

Vicki Lane said...

Hi, Caryn! All this book talk should be right up your alley! And I look forward to seeing you in Indianapolis! It's exciting, after 3 previous Bcons, finally to 'know' a few folks who'll be there.