Two Minute Review: Da Vinci's Tiger by L.M. Elliott

Monday, December 7, 2015
Title: Da Vinci's Tiger
Author: L.M. Elliott
Genre: historical fiction
Series: N/A
Pages: 304
Published: Nov 10 2015
Source: publishers via edelweiss
Rating: 2.5/5

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.

I wanted to love this, I really did. And Da Vinci's Tiger is a good example of why reading is subjective and no one really can predict what will work and what won't. I can tell you that this is well-drawn, interesting story with a fresh POV and yet.. I just didn't connect to the plot or to Ginevra herself. I can admire what the story did well but on the whole, it all feels rather familiar and been-there-read-that. 

The details and descriptions in this are superb. The place as character is fantastic and the visuals pop no matter what happening. But....the plot is somewhat predictable and the characters aren't as defined as they could be. Still, if you liked Katherine Longshore's YA historical fictions set in England, this is not a bad place to look, tone-wise. It's historical fiction-lite and just not as nuanced or creative enough to be very memorable.

Ginevra's one remaining line of poetry "I beg your pardon, I am a mountain tiger" is good but maybe not enough to base a book upon. I like the premise of Da Vinci's Tiger but the execution was too blunt and too predicable.

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