Signora da Vinci: A Novel

By Robin Maxwell
Read by Bernadette Dunne

15.17 Hours 01/01/2006 unabridged
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Caterina was fifteen years old when she fell in love with a man much above her station. The daughter of a humble village apothecary, she was considered unmarriageable by her lover’s wealthy and ambitious family. She had no recourse when they took her child away from her, leaving her bereft and rejected by society as a “fallen woman.” But Caterina had always hidden a part of herself from society. Unlike most women of that time, she had been educated since childhood—not only in her father’s medicinal arts, but in Greek philosophy and pagan mysticism, considered heretical by the church. Now, to be close to her son, she would carry that deceit further than she had ever imagined, taking up a new life under a dangerous new identity. In Florence at the height of Italy’s cultural Renaissance, Caterina would discover undreamed-of opportunities and freedoms—and her gifted son, Leonardo, would change the world forever.

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Summary

Summary

Caterina was fifteen years old when she fell in love with a man much above her station. The daughter of a humble village apothecary, she was considered unmarriageable by her lover’s wealthy and ambitious family. She had no recourse when they took her child away from her, leaving her bereft and rejected by society as a “fallen woman.”

But Caterina had always hidden a part of herself from society. Unlike most women of that time, she had been educated since childhood—not only in her father’s medicinal arts, but in Greek philosophy and pagan mysticism, considered heretical by the church.

Now, to be close to her son, she would carry that deceit further than she had ever imagined, taking up a new life under a dangerous new identity. In Florence at the height of Italy’s cultural Renaissance, Caterina would discover undreamed-of opportunities and freedoms—and her gifted son, Leonardo, would change the world forever.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“Maxwell re-creates Renaissance Italy in splendid detail…the setting and known events of the artist’s life are meticulously rendered.” Publishers Weekly
“Lush and lusty, fascinating and smart, this fictionalized biography is a stroke of genius crafted by a gifted historian.” Romantic Times
“A glorious novel of Leonardo da Vinci and his courageous, passionate mother.” Sandra Worth, author of The King’s Daughter
“[An] exquisite gem of a novel…Signora da Vinci is a tour de force celebration of one woman’s unquenchable ardor for knowledge and of a secret world that historical fiction readers rarely see.” C. W. Gortner, author of The Last Queen
“Signora da Vinci is without a doubt the best historical fiction I have read all year…remarkable…Maxwell takes us back to the turbulent times of the Italian Renaissance to give us a beautifully rendered and captivating portrait of Leonardo da Vinci’s mother…A masterful blend of fact and fiction, Signora da Vinci mesmerizes.” Michelle Moran, author of Nefertiti and The Heretic Queen
“Thanks to Maxwell, we get a superbly imagined portrait of a woman living in turbulent times who boldy behaved as few dared…[A] sparkling epic…the novel continually delights with intriguing details.” Vicki León, author of Uppity Women of the Renaissance

Reviews

Reviews

by Leanne 9/13/2017
Overall Performance
Narration
Story

Surprised just how much I loved this book!

I have only listened to a few novels on audio, so when I accidentally took this out from my library, I didn't realize it was fiction. It took me only minutes to realize this, but I was already drawn in.

Signora da Vinci is Leonardo's mother, educated by her father, an apothecary and closet alchemist (not that kind) who teaches her more than most men of any status. When circumstances spur her on to live under a different identity, she finds herself in the orbit of the Medici, Popes, Botticelli, and a young Michelangelo.

Yes, this book is a bit fantastical, but it is well-researched and the novel form allows the author to educate us a bit about the Renaissance in a highly digestible way. But for a few G-rated "romantic" interludes that made me grin rather than feel uncomfortable, I have nothing but good things to say about this book. I now know: it's okay to enjoy good historical fiction. It was a great vehicle for learning more about a time-period I already know a bit about, but rather than feeling scholarly and dry and about big things and important people, it feels like you're learning about regular folk caught up in extraordinary times.

Author

Author Bio: Robin Maxwell

Robin Maxwell is the acclaimed author of several books, including The Wild Irish, The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn, The Queen’s Bastard, and Jane.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, Digital Rental, CD, MP3 CD
Category: Fiction/Historical
Runtime: 15.17
Audience: Adult
Language: English