anitaballerina, March 24, 2010 (view all comments by anitaballerina)
This was the first book by this author I have read.
It took a bit for me to get into it, but I did. I enjoyed it and the main girl through all her trials and issues she has to go through, she remains a strong woman.
It shows how women were treated during that era and how she struggled to be true to herself.
gypsyleslie, April 30, 2008 (view all comments by gypsyleslie)
Dunant spins a lovely tale of a young woman unable to be who she is. Wonderfully historically accurate, and beautifully pieced together. A real joy to read.
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Random House Trade -
by Amanda Foreman, author of Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire,
"Sarah Dunant has given us a story of sacrifice and betrayal, set during Florence's captivity under the fanatic Savanarola. She writes like a painter, and thinks like a philosopher: juxtapositioning the humane against the animal, hope against fanaticism, creativity against destruction. The Birth of Venus is a tour de force."
by Publishers Weekly,
"[T]he author has a genius for peppering her narrative with little-known facts, and the deadpan dialogue lends a staccato verve to the swift-moving plot....Dunant's vivid, gripping novel gives fresh life to a captivating age of glorious art and political turmoil."
by Kirkus Reviews,
"No real surprises in the romance department, but the depiction of Florence as Tehran under the Ayatollah is an eye-opener."
by Elsa Gaztambide, Booklist,
"[A] lush and intellectually gripping novel....This is a beautifully written and captivating work."
by David Liss, The Washington Post Book World,
"[S]mart and engaging....Dunant has injected a kind of realpolitik into the genre, making it far more poignant and interesting."
by Library Journal,
"[E]nthralling....Dunant's latest profiles a strong Renaissance woman making bold choices to find fulfillment in constrained circumstances. Highly recommended."
by Antonia Fraser,
"Simply amazing, so brilliantly written...almost intolerably exciting at times, and at others, equally poignant."
by The Telegraph (London),
"Dunant has created a vivid and compellingly believable picture of Renaissance Florence: the squalor and brutality; the confidence and vitality; the political machinations. Her research has obviously been meticulous....A magnificent novel."
by Simon Schama,
"A beautiful serpent of a novel, seductive and dangerous...full of wise guile, the most brilliant novel yet from a writer of powerful historical imagination and wicked literary gifts. Dunant's snaky tale of art, sex and Florentine hysteria consumes utterly — but the experience is all pleasure."
by The Times (London),
"No one should visit Tuscany this summer without this book. It is richly textured and driven by a thrillerish fever."
by The Financial Times,
"[Dunant's] control, pace, and instinct are well-nigh impeccable."
by The Independent (London),
"It's to Dunant's credit that the vast quantities of historical information in this book are deployed so naturally and lightly....On the simplest level, this is an erotic and gripping thriller, but its intellectual excitement also comes from the way Dunant makes the art and philosophy of the period look new and dangerous again....Theology has rarely looked so sexy."
by Valerie Martin, The New York Times Book Review,
"Though The Birth of Venus has been described, for obvious reasons, as serpentine...the imaginative energy of the enterprise is clearly warmblooded, playful, even reckless — more feline than reptilian."
The Birth of Venus is a tour de force from one of Britain's most innovative thriller writers. It brings alive the history of Florence at its most dramatic period, telling a compulsively absorbing story of love, art, religion and power through the passionate voice of Alessandra, a remarkable heroine with the same vibrancy as her beloved city.
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