I love art history; the Renaissance in particular. Historical fiction is my favorite genre of book to read. So imagine my delight when both are combined! St. Martin’s Press sent me a copy of The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence by Alyssa Palombo at no charge for my honest review. Read on to learn more and find out my thoughts. Then enter to win a copy of your own.
About The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence
A girl as beautiful as Simonetta Cattaneo never wants for marriage proposals in 15th Century Italy, but she jumps at the chance to marry Marco Vespucci. Marco is young, handsome and well-educated. Not to mention he is one of the powerful Medici family’s favored circle.
Even before her marriage with Marco is set, Simonetta is swept up into Lorenzo and Giuliano de’ Medici’s glittering circle of politicians, poets, artists, and philosophers. The men of Florence―most notably the rakish Giuliano de’ Medici―become enthralled with her beauty. That she is educated and an ardent reader of poetry makes her more desirable and fashionable still. But it is her acquaintance with a young painter, Sandro Botticelli, which strikes her heart most. Botticelli immediately invites Simonetta, newly proclaimed the most beautiful woman in Florence, to pose for him. As Simonetta learns to navigate her marriage, her place in Florentine society, and the politics of beauty and desire, she and Botticelli develop a passionate intimacy, one that leads to her immortalization in his masterpiece, The Birth of Venus.
Alyssa Palombo’s The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence vividly captures the dangerous allure of the artist and muse bond with candor and unforgettable passion.
About the Author:
ALYSSA PALOMBO is the author of The Violinist of Venice and The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence. She has published short fiction pieces in Black Lantern Magazine and The Great Lakes Review. She is a recent graduate of Canisius College with degrees in English and creative writing, respectively. A passionate music lover, she is a classically trained musician as well as a big fan of heavy metal. The Violinist of Venice is her first novel. She lives in Buffalo, New York.
The Renaissance is my favorite period in art. It was a glorious period full of so many masterful creators of beauty. The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence puts the reader right in the middle of the city that was a center of art thanks to the patronage of the de Medici family. Lorenzo the Magnificent himself plays a prominent role in this novel of the relationship between Sandro Botticelli and the woman who was purported to be his muse, Simonetta Cattaneo.
Simonetta is a very young woman when she is betrothed to Marco Vespuci of Florence. She is excited at the prospect of marrying this handsome man who is associated with the rich and powerful de Medici family. Simonetta is remarkably beautiful so that she is readily accepted into Florentine society and is soon known as the most beautiful woman in Florence.
She meets Botticelli and they soon find that they have much in common and he longs to paint her. She also draws the attention of Guiliano de Medici but Simonetta remains simple and faithful to her husband. She is excited at the thought of being painted but she wants only this until….
I was drawn into this book from the first pages. Ms. Palombo brought Renaissance Florence alive with her descriptions of the clothing, parties, food, scenery and of the art. The larger than life figures from history came alive through her words on paper. I could imagine myself dancing with any of them at a party. I learned more about Botticelli an artist that was not one of my focus artists when I was studying. I was very happy to live in Ms. Palombo’s world for several hours and will look forward to her next novel.
One lucky reader (US/Can) will win a copy of The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence. Just enter as many ways as you would like on the Gleam widget below. Good luck everyone!