Da Vinci’s Tiger by L.M. Elliott
Release date: November 10th, 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Historical Fiction
Source: December OwlCrate
The young and beautiful daughter of a wealthy family, Ginevra longs to share her poetry and participate in the artistic ferment of Renaissance Florence but is trapped in an arranged marriage in a society dictated by men. The arrival of the charismatic Venetian ambassador, Bernardo Bembo, introduces Ginevra to a dazzling circle of patrons, artists, and philosophers. Bembo chooses Ginevra as his Platonic muse and commissions a portrait of her by a young Leonardo da Vinci. Posing for the brilliant painter inspires an intimate connection between them, one Ginevra only begins to understand. In a rich and vivid world of exquisite art with a dangerous underbelly of deadly political feuds, Ginevra faces many challenges to discover her voice and artistic companionship—and to find love.
“I beg your pardon, I am a mountain tiger.”
I really liked this book ! It sent my history fangirling into overdrive. I received it in my December OwlCrate and wanted to read it straight away, but I was already dedicated to reading the first two Mortal Instruments books. So glad that I didn’t wait any longer though, it really was an enjoyable read.
The book follows Ginevra, an dissatisfied seventeen year old in Renaissance era Florence, Italy. She loves and values works of art, poetry and the writings of the ancient Greeks and Romans, a love taught and encouraged by her father. But, Ginevra is not in control of her life and this is what causes her great unhappiness. Up until then her whole life had been dictated by men: her marriage, societal rules, behaviour, and so on. Being stuck in a loveless marriage with a man twice her age and who did not see the value in art made her young life feel suffocating until she met the young artist, Leonardo Da Vinci. Da Vinci turns her world upside down when she becomes his muse.
What truly made this book standout for me was Elliott’s writing style and use of description. I fully believed that what I was reading was historical fact, I could have jumped into the book. Da Vinci’s Tiger isn’t very long, its just under 300 pages, but each page is full of beautiful imagery, words that fully bring to life the jousting tournaments, workshops and exquisite pieces of art. I also think that the complex political intrigues and religious influences are intricately woven into the plot, driving the story and at the same time explaining how they greatly affected the citizens of Florence.
My one wish was that the publisher would have released the novel with its original artwork. The tiger silhouette with the woman’s face inside was gorgeous and less generic than the final version. The final cover is just so dark and could be from any other YA historical fiction book.