“Da Vinci’s Tiger”
Author: L.M. Elliott
Genre: YA, Historical Fiction, Romance
Date Published: November 10th, 2015
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Format Read: eARC provided by publisher (via Edelweiss) for honest review
Young, beautiful, and witty, Ginevra de’ Benci longs to take part in the artistic ferment of Renaissance Florence. But as the daughter of a wealthy family in a society dictated by men, she is trapped in an arranged marriage, expected to limit her creativity to domestic duties. Her poetry reveals her deepest feelings, and she aches to share her work, to meet painters and sculptors mentored by the famed Lorenzo de Medici, and to find love.
When the charismatic Venetian ambassador, Bernardo Bembo, arrives in Florence, he introduces Ginevra to a dazzling circle of patrons, artists, and philosophers—a world of thought and conversation she has yearned for. She is instantly attracted to the handsome newcomer, who admires her mind as well as her beauty. Yet Ginevra remains conflicted about his attentions. Choosing her as his Platonic muse, Bembo commissions a portrait by a young Leonardo da Vinci. Posing for the brilliant painter inspires an intimate connection between them—one Ginevra can only begin to understand. In a rich and enthralling world of exquisite art, elaborate feasts, and exhilarating jousts, she faces many temptations to discover her voice, artistic companionship, and a love that defies categorization. In the end, she and Leonardo are caught up in a dangerous and deadly battle between powerful families.
An Open Letter To Da Vinci’s Tiger,
Man, I wanted to like you more than I did. Your historical detail was great, you used awesome historical figures, you were so detailed that you could have been fantastic. But then… nothing really happened, and some of the things that happened made me kind of uncomfortable. So while you had so many good things about you, I just can’t be a fan, since the story was a whole lot of feelings and not a whole lot of plot.
-The White Unicorn
I have to start out by saying that I have mad respect for the historical detail that Elliott put into her novel. It’s obvious that she made sure that every moment of this book was dripping in rich, historical, moments. I was blown away by the amounts of research that she layered into her work. It’s something to be applauded. And if you’re a history buff you’re going to love the way Elliott wrote this book.
On the other hand, this book fell really flat for me. I understand that Elliott was trying to write a book about a female liberating herself in world where females were limited, and I applaud her for that, but more needed to happen. Ginevra could have been a wonderful character, and in some ways she was, but she falls flat because the story ends up being about her relationships with all the men in her life. This book is a victim of too much historical detail, and a secondary plot.
I would have liked to have seen more scenes between Ginevra and Leonardo. But I felt like so much time was spent in Ginevra’s head, and I wish more interaction would have happened between the two, because that’s were the magic was in this story.
I also liked that Elliott decided to feature Italy’s platonic love history. Though I must say that Bembo was a creep. There is a scene that happens in the book were he tries to take advantage of Ginevra, and I have to say that the way the scene was handled made me squirm. Though Ginevra tells him off, something about it still felt really uncomfortable to me.
So in the end this book is full of lush historical detail that stands out to me, while also falling really flat from a story line perspective.
3 Unicorns = I liked it, but it had it’s issues!