Skip to main content

The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence: A Story of Botticelli by Alyssa Palombo: A Book Review

The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence: A Story of Botticelli
Author: Alyssa Palombo
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Release Date: April 25, 2017
Pages: 320
Source: Netgalley/Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: 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.

     My Review: Simonetta is the daughter of a Genoese nobleman. One day, a suitor from Florence arrives named Marco Vespucci. Simonetta is excited at the prospect to live in Florence, a city where art and literature thrives. When she arrives in Florence, her beauty is the center of attention. A painter named Sandro Botticelli wishes to paint her. However, Simonetta realizes that being labeled as “the most beautiful woman in Florence” is not as thrilling as it appears to be. Her marriage to Marco has become unstable, and she grows increasingly attracted to Sandro. Can Simonetta defy the expectations of Florentine society and follow her heart?

    Simonetta is a really likable character. There were moments in this book that showed that she was a strong and capable woman. She is a lover of literature and wishes that she could have expanded her education. She believes that her beauty is cursed and does not wish to be in the limelight. She also dreams of falling in love and having a happy marriage with her husband. Thus, while she is naive and a dreamer in the beginning, she matures over the course of the novel. She fights for her independence. She is not afraid to stand up to those who have done her wrong. And, even though she suffers periodically from illness, she has a healthy and strong mind.

   Overall, this book is about marriage and the expectations within the Florentine society. Simonetta strives to be a good Florentine woman. She wants to be a model wife despite the attentions of men because of her beauty. Yet, her husband only treats her as his trophy wife. I would have liked more character developments from the other characters, especially Botticelli. He did not show much character growth, and there really isn’t any reason why Simonetta was attracted to him except that he painted her portrait. The story seemed rushed at times. The novel also suffered from showing and not telling. As a reader, I didn’t feel captured in that moment. I did not feel their great romance, and instead I was being told that they had a great love for each other. Still, I recommend this for fans of Renaissance art. The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence is perfect for fans of Da Vinci’s Tiger (in which Simonetta is a major character in the novel), The Birth of Venus, and The Botticelli Secret.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post by Allison Pataki: A Book Review

The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post Author: Allison Pataki Genre: Historical Fiction Publisher: Ballantine Release Date: February 15, 2022 Pages: 381 Source: Netgalley/Publisher in exchange for an honest review. Synopsis: Mrs. Post, the President and First Lady are here to see you. . . . So begins another average evening for Marjorie Merriweather Post. Presidents have come and gone, but she has hosted them all. Growing up in the modest farmlands of Battle Creek, Michigan, Marjorie was inspired by a few simple rules: always think for yourself, never take success for granted, and work hard—even when deemed American royalty, even while covered in imperial diamonds. Marjorie had an insatiable drive to live and love and to give more than she got. From crawling through Moscow warehouses to rescue the Tsar’s treasures to outrunning the Nazis in London, from serving the homeless of the Great Depression to entertaining Roosevelts, Kennedys, and Hollywood’s biggest stars, Marjorie Merriweath

The Seven Sisters (The Seven Sisters #1) by Lucinda Riley: A Book Review

The Seven Sisters (The Seven Sisters #1) Author: Lucinda Riley Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance Publisher: Atria Release Date: 2015 Pages: 463 Source: My State Public Library Synopsis: Maia D’Apliese and her five sisters gather together at their childhood home, “Atlantis”—a fabulous, secluded castle situated on the shores of Lake Geneva—having been told that their beloved father, who adopted them all as babies, has died. Each of them is handed a tantalizing clue to her true heritage—a clue which takes Maia across the world to a crumbling mansion in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Once there, she begins to put together the pieces of her story and its beginnings. Eighty years earlier in Rio’s Belle Epoque of the 1920s, Izabela Bonifacio’s father has aspirations for his daughter to marry into the aristocracy. Meanwhile, architect Heitor da Silva Costa is devising plans for an enormous statue, to be called Christ the Redeemer, and will soon travel to Paris to find the right sculptor to

Blog Tour: Peccadillo at the Palace (An Annie Oakley Mystery #2) by Kari Bovee: A Book Review

  Join us for this tour from Jan 10 to Feb 4 ,  2022 ! Book Details: Book Title : Peccadillo at the Palace (An Annie Oakley Mystery) by Kari Bovee Category :  Adult Fiction (18 + yrs), 332 pages Length: 9 hours, 52 minutes Genre :  Historical Mystery, Cozy Mystery Publisher :  Bosque Publishing Release date:    April 2020 ​ Formats available for review : audiobook (audible download), MOBI (for kindle), EPUB, PDF) Tour dates : Jan 10 to Feb 4, 2022 Content Rating :  PG +M for mature themes, mild swearing Book Description:      She’s outgunned her opponents at every turn, but will it be enough to solve a royal case of murder? Annie Oakley can’t believe her good fortune at an imperial invitation.      Queen Victoria wants Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show to perform for her Golden Jubilee. But during the voyage to England, a royal escort is murdered and the gun-slinging star finds herself at the center of an assassination plot against the crown.      Determined to catc