Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Random Recommendations: Robin Maxwell's Signora da Vinci

Robin Maxwell brings Leonardo da Vinci back to life in this great book. Caterina, a peasant girl who falls in love with a notary's son, bears a child and names the boy Leonardo. The rest is history, or is it?
Caterina helps her father his apothecary shop, and is secretly schooled in the secrets of alchemy. When she becomes pregnant, she becomes heartbroken. It is apparent her love will not ever be the father or husband she desired. After Leonardo is born, the family of Piero steals the child. Devastated, Caterina offers to be his wet nurse just to have her child. Together, they live in deplorable conditions. 

Little Leonardo is a odd but talented child. When Leonardo goes to Florence as an apprentice, Caterina dies inside. But, she decides to disguise herself as a man and go to Florence to look after her son. She sets up shop as an apothecary, and finds her son. But Florence isn't Vinci. The Medici's are competing with Savonarola to control the hearts of Florentines. Soon "Cato" finds himself in the company of Lorenzo de Medici and his learned peers and in the cross hairs of the evil Savonarola.

Will Caterina find love and keep her son safe in a world that is rapidly changing?

This book is a  great read and a favorite. The love that Caterina had for Leonardo is so vivid. And Ms. Maxwell does an excellent job of bringing to life Leonardo's mischievous nature and allows the reader to see into his mind. Also captured was the feeling of Italy. You can feel the tension running on the streets. Excellent book. The book also provides a background into the Medici's and Florence.
5 out of 5 stars.

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