Monday, April 19, 2010

Book Review: The Botticelli Secret by Marina Fiorato

Synopsis: (From the Publisher)
"In this exhilarating cross between The Da Vinci Code and The Birth of Venus, an irrepressible young woman in 15th-century Italy must flee for her life after stumbling upon a deadly secret when she serves as a model for Botticelli...
When part-time model and full-time prostitute Luciana Vetra is asked by one of her most exalted clients to pose for a painter friend, she doesn't mind serving as the model for the central figure of Flora in Sandro Botticelli's masterpiece "Primavera." But when the artist dismisses her without payment, Luciana impulsively steals an unfinished version of the painting--only to find that somone is ready to kill her to get it back.
What could possibly be so valuable about the picture? As friends and clients are slaughtered around her, Luciana turns to the one man who has never desired her beauty, novice librarian Brother Guido. Fleeing Venice together, Luciana and Guido race through the nine cities of Renaissance Italy, pursued by ruthless foes who are determined to keep them from decoding the painting's secrets.
Gloriously fresh and vivid, with a deliciously irreverent heroine, The Botticelli Secret is an irresistible blend of history, wit, and suspense."

My Review:
Luciana Vetra is a girl who lives day by day. Abandoned at a young age, she succumbs to life on the streets and the occupation of prostitute. When given the opportunity to model for one of the famous painters of the city, Luciana is thrilled at the idea of her beauty being admired by all and the prospect of a chance for something greater in life...

Unfortunately, the painting session is not as lucrative as Luciana imagined; a startling situation takes place and she is cast out with her only payment being confusion and shock. Angered at modeling all day and receiving no proper payment, Luciana steals the painting she modeled for. She immediately feels the pettiness of her action and is determined to return the art, but little does she know that her theft has already resulted in some deadly consequences...

Thrown into a web of political intrigue and vile murder, Luciana must discover what secret she has stumbled upon with the stolen painting. Forced to make rash decisions, live moment to moment, and flee shrouded murderers across the country, Luciana must unravel this mystery and save innocent lives from unthinkable destruction...

While reading this novel, I was constantly undecided weather I liked it or not; but even in those moments of dislike there was always something that kept me wanting to read further. The plot was very complex and well thought out, and even though it seemed a bit far stretched at times, it always kept the reader guessing with its many twists. I had a couple issues with this novel, with the most prominent one being the main character. Luciana was a very crass figure who's language was quite vile, even for that of a prostitute. No matter how much I tried, I found it impossible to have positive feelings towards her. This inability to connect with Luciana might have been less apparent if not for the abrupt beginning, which is my second issue. The reader is thrown into the intense plot right from the start, and there is no time to gain any understanding of Luciana's harsh character. This abrupt start also had an unfortunate result of giving the reader a disconnected feeling, never feeling submerged in the story and just simply reading a book. Although these issues were very frustrating, I am very happy that I finished the book because the ending was great. It brought closure to every aspect and left the reader happy with the conclusion. This great ending managed to ease my frustrations and brought my rating up to a solid 3 stars. 

Copyright © 2010 Svea Love. All Rights Reserved.
FTC: I received this book for review from the publisher. As always, these are my own opinions.