Not much is known about the woman who gave birth to one of the most brilliant men in our history, Leonardo da Vinci. Her name and the events around her famous son's birth is pretty much it. Until now. Robin Maxwell takes us back to 15th century Italy and paints us a beautiful picture of Leonardo's childhood and of his fascinating mother, Caterina.
Young Caterina is raised surrounded by her father's love and the beautiful countryside of Vinci, Italy. At the age of eight Caterina's father, Ernesto, teaches her the ways of apothecary and alchemy - not a safe hobby and punishable by death. A free-spirited girl, she often roams the land without a guardian. One afternoon she meets Piero, the son of a neighboring noble family. They quickly fall in love during their clandestine meetings and Caterina becomes pregnant. Piero's family forbids them to marry and unfortunately for Caterina, Piero shows no backbone and is sent away to Florence and quickly married off. When Caterina gives birth to her son she falls in love instantly and their unbreakable bond is formed. In one of the most heart-wrenching scenes I have ever read, Piero's family swoops in and whisks little Leonardo right out of Caterina's arms. This is a usual fate of fatherless children during this time - the need to preserve the family bloodline is of the utmost importance. I was broken-hearted and grieved along with Caterina.
So powerful is Caterina's maternal love in this novel...it just exudes from the page and makes you feel all warm and tingly inside. Everything she does is for her child, even going so far as securing a spot for him for as an apprentice with the famous Florentine artisian, Maestro Verrocchio, far away in Florence. Being the inventive girl that she is, Caterina finds a way to be near her son - come hell or high water. Leonardo is remarkably talented and it showed from an early age. His hunger for knowledge is completely addicting and I can't wait to read more about him.
My favorite aspect of the novel is when we meet Lorenzo de Medici and enter his world of philosophers, thinkers, scientists and artists. He is one hotty intellectual and totally stole the show (IMO). The great minds of the time are also brought to life; Sandro Bottiicelli, Marsilio Ficino, Christoforo Landino and Leon Battista Albertia are just to name a few.
Lorenzo de Medici
I have one word for this novel...DIVINE and I recommend Signora da Vinci to EVERYONE! You will meet some of the most fascinating and enthralling characters and will not want to put this one down! It's the kind of novel that you carry everywhere and read whenever you can squeeze in a few minutes - in the kitchen while cooking, in the bathroom, waiting in the grocery store line...anywhere.
Once I've finished a novel I'm pretty stoked and eager to move on to the next adventure awaiting me. However, with Signora Da Vinci I just kind of sat back and ran through the novel again in my mind, this time slowly savoring it. Robin Maxwell has most definitely sealed herself a spot among my stalk-worthy list of authors!
The giveaway for this book ends this Wednesday, so if you haven't signed up then you better get on it! What the hell are you waiting for? Did you not hear how good this book is? This giveaway is really exciting for me for two reasons. One is that this is the first one not self-funded. The second reason is that this novel is so kick ass that I can't wait to pass on the love to you!