Botticelli’s Muse by Dorah Blume

Artist Sandro Botticelli's painting Primavera is one of the most celebrated artworks of the Italian Renaissance. Breaking with many conventions of the past, it askewed religious imagery in favor of a secular theme of spring awakening. As such it garnered a great deal of criticism from Church authorities when it was painted in the late... Continue Reading →

La Luministe by Paula Butterfield

If she were alive today, painter Berthe Morisot would be celebrated and admired, but in the 19th century Paris, she was up against formidable obstacles. Women were not allowed to pursue paying occupations, the prestigious Ecole des Beaux Arts did not accept female students, the society treated "lady painters" as odd (if they were rich)... Continue Reading →

The Relic Master by Christopher Buckley

Until I read Christopher Buckley's The Relic Master, I failed to realize what now seems quite obvious, namely that historical fiction is rarely humorous. It is not necessarily a criticism. Historical novels tend to be set in pivotal eras or woven around events that bring about major changes and are  often marked by violence and suffering.... Continue Reading →

The Scribe of Siena by Melodie Winawer

I have confessed on this blog to being conservative when it comes to my historical fiction: I prefer it realistic and serious, no fantasy, parody, alternative histories, etc. Then I came across a synopsis of The Scribe of Siena by Melodie Winawer. The setting of the novel – medieval Siena – had me sit up... Continue Reading →

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