The Botticelli Secret


Once again, I found an historical fiction novel of Italy which transported me back to the Renaissance and all it’s intriguing twists and turns.  The Botticelli Secret by Marina Fiorato is a page-turning story that scrutinizes The Primavera by Sandro Botticelli because it holds clues for members of  a secret group led by the powerful elite of Italy.  The heroine, Luciana, is on the run after having stolen a cartone (or practice sketch) of the painting.  Someone is out to get her because they are afraid she will discover the secret  hidden within the painting itself.  She doesn’t know who to turn to for help and protection, and finds the least-likely person whom she feels she can trust – a young monk about ready to take his final vows!  Together they embark on an adventure that takes them to many corners of Italy – from Naples in the South, to Bolzano in the North.  The language in the book is a bit brash, but given the source of the first person narrative, it is acceptable!  As with all historical fiction books, I always try to find the truth within these stories and perhaps discover new things.  The descriptions of places in Rome, Bolzano, Milan, Venice and Florence were all familiar to me.  Unfortunately, I have yet to visit Naples or Genoa, but this book has given me one more reason to go (as if I needed any more enticement!)   But most of all, I want to once again see Botticelli’s The Primavera and view it through the eyes of the author!

I wonder if the plot has some truth to it since it did finally happen (only a couple of hundred years later)!!!  Perhaps this was the impetus…Chissa….

10 responses »

  1. I recently read Marina Fiorato’s “Glassblower of Murano”, which I have to say was a disappointment. Now, I am a sucker for reading anything that takes place in Italy and throws around a few Italian words here and there, but excuse my Italian, but this book was schiffoso! Way too cutesy and melodramatic, without un-original or plausible plot. Che peccato…because I really wanted to like the book. I did see that the author had a new book out – “Botticelli Secret”, and despite my disappointment with the first, I thought I would check it out too. So, was it really worth it? Or is it a rip off of Davinci Code?

  2. Yikes…well, I enjoyed it but then again, I am a real sucker for any book that takes place in Renaissance Italy. I wouldn’t say it was the best book I ever read, but it held my attention and kept me interested throughout. Is it a copy of the Da Vinci code? Yea, kind of…but it had it’s own aspects that were unique. I enjoyed all the places they visited, and it was fun reliving them from my own experiences. I would recommend it as a book for some light pleasure reading – like when you are sitting at the beach or the pool during the summer!
    I have it if you’d like to borrow it!

  3. Dear Barbara, would this be a good book to read on a flight to Europe? I don’t want anything too complicated, something where I can catch a few naps in between paragraphs. But I also don’t like simple, predictable and trite.
    Since you are the expert on Italian, maybe you could suggest a book for me.

    Your posts are always very interesting. I appreciate the time and effort you put into making your blog posts so special.

    • Hi Gina,
      This book would be OK, but I could also recommend Leonardo’s Swans or The Birth of Venus. Both of those were even better than this one. This one’s language is a bit rough….they use more swearing and crude language more than they need to. I mostly like reading this novels to get factual information on places that are mentioned in the book. What about Angels and Demons? That’s a fun read, too!
      When are you going to Italy?
      Thanks for your compliments, too!! Inspiration is the key – and Italy is a real inspiration for me.

  4. Hi Barbara, thanks for the suggestions. I have read Angels and Demons but can’t remember anything about it. I will try your other suggestions.

    Barbara, for the first time in many years we are not going to Italy. In September we are going to Paris and Morocco instead.

    I am allready wondering if that was the right decision. I always look forward to painting in Deruta. Instead, I am trying to set up a visit to a workshop in Marrakech to study their way of painting ceramics.

    • Hi Gina,
      Sorry for the delay in my response – we were on vacation and just got back. We actually didn’t go to Italy, either!! We were in Cancun! I guess there are other places in the world to visit as well 😉
      I think your decision to visit Paris and Morocco are wonderful!!! Paris is, I think, the most beautiful city in the world (yes…I know…I am being a traitor to Italy…) and I think Morocco would be very exciting and different! Are you spending some time there and are you travelling throughout the country?
      I would love to hear all about your travels!!
      When are you going?

  5. Barbara – Thanks for the review. I might just add it to the list of my reading challenge books. I peeked at your review of Sacred Hearts, which I’m reading now for the reading challenge. Oh now, “a tad boring.”

    • Yes, sorry….but compared to “The Birth of Venus”, it was the ugly stepsister 😦 This challenge is a great way to find out about more books based on Italy. I am so glad that you mentioned it!!! Buon Natale 🙂

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