Title: Da Vinci's Tiger
Author: L.M. Elliott
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Historical Fiction
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
This book was given to me by the publisher, Katherine Tegen Books, through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review--thank you so much!
I don't know if you guys know this about me, but one of the things I love dearly is history, and one of my favorite periods in history is the Renaissance. It was just such a fruitful time for cultural growth--art, culture, literature and music exploded, becoming revered professions from the fame garnered from that period. And one of my other favorite things about this period was the art. (Although, guys, don't take Art History in college. One of the hardest classes I ever took! Lol.)
Da Vinci's Tiger tells the story of Ginevra de Benci, a young woman who longs desperately to be a part of the cultural world, ruled by men's iron fists. Try as she might, she is just not content with the life of a mere domestic housewife--she wants more from the world, and to contribute to it. Her wish is granted when she catches the eye of the promising young artist Leonardo da Vinci, and she realizes that even though the world is more open to her now than ever before, real love just might be right out of reach..
I don't want to mince words, so I'll just say this right now: This book, for me, is a new classic. It really spoke to me, as a woman and as a writer, just like Ginevra, to balance the domestic sides of herself, and the longing for true meaning, and for an artistic career, which, for a woman, was out of bounds in those days. I really related to her, and her desire for love and fulfillment, in the days where a business marriage wasn't uncommon.
I loved Ginevra, and Elliott does an amazing job of bringing this bright and exceptional young woman to life--it felt, almost, as if I were sitting with a dear friend, and having her tell me about her life. She was indeed a muse, a poet, and revolutionary in her own right! I also loved how deep she was; there were so many different facets to her, (as there are with any person), and I liked the way the author expressed that.
I also really enjoyed the political intrigue aspect of the novel--it didn't really come into play into the second half of the novel, but it was really well balanced with the other events going on in the story, it wasn't at all heavy-handed. The author also did a great job in conveying that time period, especially where women were concerned. The characters, though there were many, were easy to follow, and I loved how each made an impact on Ginevra's life, great and small.
And then, of course, there's Leonardo, the mysterious, beautiful artist, alluring in his intellect and his blunt, honest manner, who becomes one of the muse's dearest friends. Their relationship was what really sold this book for me. Their bond seemed so deep and genuine, and I really enjoyed it. Everything about this novel was just wonderful; so much so, in fact, that I finished it in one day! The bottom line: A fantastic imagining of what could've been a life for a great woman, Da Vinci's Tiger is a spellbinding work of historical fiction, bulked by fact and made richer by great detail and research--a new favorite! Next on deck: The Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer!