From the back of the ARC: A lush and compelling tale of intrigue and longing, set in the sixteenth-century Spanish court.
THE CREATION OF EVE is a novel based on the tru but little-known story of Sofonisba Anguissola, the first renowned female artist of the Renaissance. After a scandal in Michelangelo's workshop, Sofi flees Italy and joins the Spanish court of King Felipe II to be a lady-in-waiting to his young bride. There she becomes embroiled in a love triangle involving the Queen, the King, and the King's illegitimate half brother, Don Juan. THE CREATION OF EVE combines art, romance, and history from the Golden Age in Spain in a story that asks the question:Can you ever truly know another person's heart?
This book left me breathless. If you read my blog very often, you know that I don't typically 'do' historical fiction. It's not to say that I don't like it, it's just that the historical fiction books don't grab my attention as quickly as a mystery or paranormal books so the wandering finger as I trace out the titles choosing my next read will skim right on over the big 600 page tomes that are the norm for HF.
I won this from LibraryThing Early Reviewer, my first book win from them, from the January choices. I thought the premise looked very interesting and I was glad to win the book and to be proved correct.
It's a fantastic story based on a true occurrence. I think the Renaissance period of art history is my favorite. Sofonisba Anguissola was an artist who studied with Michelangelo for a time, but a perceived scandal and romance with a fellow artist sent her running home and then to the Spanish court to teach the new Queen of Spain how to paint and draw. It was mostly as a diversion due to her youth as the King was busy ruling half of the world and had no time for his young bride from France.
Sofi becomes the Queen's best friend in Court which had its positive bend and negative. She was at the Queen's beck and call which kept Sofi busy and her heart and mind occupied from dwelling too much on her love, Tiberio. It also kept her too busy to study her other love, painting. She was a woman, so couldn't be thought of as a serious artist. Her paintings and portraits mostly went unsigned or signed by other (male) artists.
The kicker was the constant intrigue of the Spanish court. All of the backstabbing and catfighting, though couched in kid gloves, was never-ending. I'd have been exhausted each day and someone would have been bitch-slapped. I'd not have lasted long back in the day of the royal Courts I would imagine.
Lynn Cullen's written imagery was spectacular and put me right in the time and place of sixteenth-century Spain. My face squinched each time the condesa de Uruena stuck her pomander filled with civet to her nose. I could see the scenery of the Spanish countryside and hear the barking dogs or the clatter of the banquet hall.
Five Renaissance diamonds.....