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Da Vinci's Tiger

Review

Da Vinci's Tiger

From L. M. Elliot, the author of UNDER A WAR, TORN SKY and GIVE ME LIBERTY, comes DA VINCI’S TIGER, a young adult novel that takes place in 15th century Florence, Italy. This was at a time when famous families, such as the Medicis and the Pazzis, lived in relative harmony but truly hated each other.

Ginevra de’ Benci, the main character, is trapped in a loveless arranged marriage to a lifeless man and is only seen as property and a housewife. She feels that she is so much more than what men and women see on the outside. She has a great passion for poetry and art, but has to conceal that part of her to keep up her husband’s reputation. Her whole life changes course when a Venetian ambassador, Bernardo Bembo, walks into her life and claims that she is now his platonic love. Ginevra has never known what love was, not even with her husband, Luigi. Now that Bernardo sees Ginevra as his new platonic inspiration, he commissions a portrait of Ginevra by a young artist named Leonardo da Vinci. Throughout this young adult novel, Leonardo helps Ginevra learn the meaning of love and how art can represent who someone truly is on the inside.

"I loved this book because it describes how life was back in the Renaissance era, even though it is historical fiction....I loved reading about the relationship that Ginevra and Leonardo da Vinci formed...during the portrait process."

Before reading this book, I had no idea what kind of person Leonardo da Vinci was, and what led him to his fame before painting the legendary Mona Lisa. I loved this book because it describes how life was back in the Renaissance era, even though it is historical fiction. I have learned that there is so much more to a person than meets the eye. This book perfectly depicts how women were unfairly treated in the Florentine era. Most of the time, they were considered to be little more than property, and were expected to bear children and take care of the family home. I loved reading about the relationship that Ginevra and Leonardo da Vinci formed while spending time together during the portrait process. 

At first, I struggled with understanding the point of telling this story, but as the plot progressed, I learned that the theme of this book was a very important one. There is always more to a person than what you see when you first meet them. Leonardo da Vinci was able to perfectly capture Ginevra’s emotions and her natural beauty so that any man or woman who encounters this beautiful piece of art in the future can learn that women are more than pieces of property. To this day, the portrait of Ginevra de’ Benci hangs in the Washington, DC’s National Gallery of Art.

I recommend this book to history and romance lovers and anyone who is a strong supporter of women empowerment. There is always a story behind every painting, and this book is a very enjoyable version of how a Florentine girl came out of her shell and learned to express herself through a simple painting. She wanted so much more in her life than the world she lived in.

Reviewed by Emily F., Teen Board Member on September 27, 2017

Da Vinci's Tiger
by L. M. Elliott

  • Publication Date: September 5, 2017
  • Genres: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Romance
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
  • ISBN-10: 006074426X
  • ISBN-13: 9780060744267