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PRIMAVERA by Mary Jane Beaufrand

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The Italian Renaissance brings to mind beautiful images, paintings and sculptures, glorious and expensive brocades, string quartets in the garden, a rich texture of life indeed. But it was also a time of great strife and cruelty the likes of which we could never imagine in this day and age. Sprinkled throughout with Italian words and phrases, PRIMAVERA dips the reader into the renaissance period.

Flora, the youngest daughter of the Pazzi, strives to find beauty and normalcy in a life that is anything but. Scorned by her own mother, she lives as little more than a servant while her older sister, Domenicia, is primped, plucked, painted by the famed Botticelli, and otherwise prepared for the wedding that will join the Pazzi to the Medici.

As Flora contemplates her mother’s plan for her future, life in a convent, a member of her father’s guard arrives with a missive from the Pope himself. The guard, Emilio, hangs around and becomes the friend and companion that Flora has never had. When Emilio and Nonna, the grandmother who’s raised and protected her, convince her to train with the guard, Flora finds strength that carries her through the difficult months to come.

PRIMAVERA is a captivating read. I found myself rooting for Flora and Emilio. Ms. Beaufrand painted her characters so realistically that I felt their pain, their fear, their guilt, and yes, even their joy. True to great historical fiction, the author did not flinch when she described some of the tragedies that befell her characters. Be warned that some of the scenes are quite graphic and not for the faint of heart. Yet I hesitate to limit this book to those only 9th grade and up. If you know nothing about this time period, yet enjoy historical fiction; you will love this well-written novel. If you are a fan of the renaissance you will revel in all of the historical details Ms. Beaufrand has so expertly shown. 

This review was originally posted at
#1 - July 16, 2008, 09:33 PM
« Last Edit: August 12, 2008, 06:03 PM by Cana »


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