Luciana Vetra, "part time model and full time whore" poses for Flora in Botticelli's Primavera. Little does she know when she purloins an unfinished sketch of the masterpiece that she is unleashing a trail of murder and treachery. For the painting holds a secret that her and novice monk Brother Guido must unravel if they are to stay one step ahead of the killers.
This is a brilliant romp through renaissance Italy visiting Florence, Pisa, Naples, Rome, Venice, Bolzano, Milan and Genoa. The heroine is a fabulously feisty strumpet with a wonderful line in earthy epithets; the monk gives the unlikely-to-be-requited love interest and the book learning; the whores mother is a brilliantly complex character in whom the political and the maternal instincts are often at war.
There are points when it was disturbingly similar to the book that I am writing with its themes of secrets hidden within a painting, a child whose noble birth has been concealed, priests and churches and betrayal. But Fiorato has provided me with a lesson in how to write with verve and vigour and never to get bogged down in over-complicating character, scenery or plot.
And it is so much better written than the da Vinci code! March 2015; 548 pages
- Having reviewed over 1100 books on this blog, I have now written one myself. Motherdarling is a story about a search for a missing Will which reveals long-hidden family secrets. It is available on Kindle through Amazon. Read it and find out whether this critic can write. I live in Canterbury, England. I lived for more than thirty years in Bedford. Having retired from teaching; I became a research student at the University of Bedfordshire researching into Liminality. I achieved my PhD in 2019. I am now properly retired. I love reading! I enjoy in particular fiction (mostly great and classic fiction although I also enjoy whodunnits), biography, history and smart thinking. Follow me on twitter: @daja57