Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant

The Birth of Venus tells the tale of a bright young teenager from a good Florence family during the 15th century. It is a story of love, relationships, politics and survival. The central character is female and as such it does focus on a woman's life in the 15th century. It is a really powerful story with twists and turns and beautifully told.

It's hard to describe this book as I don't want to give too much away. Suffice to say it's not normally the sort of book I would read as I'm not very good at books with incredible depth. I'm also not overly fond of books that are overly feminine. I realise this sounds odd as anyone who has read this blog will know one of my favourite books was 'Empress Orchid' by Anchee Min. I do enjoy reading about strong women in a male dominated society but I dislike books that are solely about love, sex and relationships. I don't know why this is but there you go. There is a certain amount about love and sex and relationships in this book but the way it was written alleviated any annoyance I might have felt.

I read this book because it is the book we're reading at the Book Club I've joined. I'd been told by one of my fellow members that I was really going to enjoy this book when she stopped me a few weeks ago to chat about it.

The book deals with the issues of a young girl with very little knowledge of the world beyond her books being thrust into the wide world. In an age where women who were avid readers were frowned upon and painting was also seen as an occupation not fit for ladies this girl has to learn how to express herself within the confines of society. It is a story about a girl, who despite everything, still manages to keep finding ways to be herself and be free. It is also a tale of a dysfunctional family set against the backdrop of political upheaval.

I would recommend anyone try this book. Don't let the strange prologue put you off. As you might expect all does not become clear until the final chapters.

*4 stars*

1 comment:

Carson said...

This sounds like a really good book. I found your blog through myspace. The Reader's Circle group. But thanks, this book is next on my list!