I finally read a non-baby related novel this week! Hurray! Marina Fiorato's The Botticelli Secret caught my attention because I had thoroughly enjoyed her Glassblower of Murano novel a few years ago.
I also thoroughly enjoyed the Botticelli Secret! Luciana Vetra, a prostitute in 1482's Florence, is asked to sit for what will become Botticelli's famous painting Primavera. At the end of her sitting Luciana finds a small replica of the painting with only her face missing. She is feeling frustrated that she has wasted a day unable to "turn tricks", and with Botticelli acting strangely after something Luciana has said in conversation-she steals the painting, replacing it with a leaflet she received earlier in the day from a monk, Brother Guido. Almost immediately her roommate, then her lover are brutally murdered.
She seeks the safety of Brother Guido only to find that another monk from the printing press at the monastery has been murdered as well. Brother Guido and Luciana flee the city for the protection of Brother Guido's uncle, a nobleman in Pisa. Brother Guido and Luciana realize that this miniature painting holds many secrets about an alliance of prominent figures and so the mystery unfolds.
There has apparently been many interpretations of Botticelli's Primavera, but the one revealed in The Botticelli Secret is quite interesting. I felt like I was reading an Italian version of the Da Vinci Code with a very crude lead female character who is falling in love with a devoted man of the cloth. At times the novel felt a bit drawn out, but overall I truly enjoyed this book!