The Creation of Eve by Lynn Cullen
Sofonisba Anguissola (Sofi) was a rare woman in 16th century Italy. The daughter of a fairly progressive printer, she and her sisters were educated, and her talent for painting was nurtured. She was so talented, that she actually was invited to study with Michelangelo. Unfortunately, she was caught by the maestro himself in a compromising position with another student. Mortified, she flees home. Before too long, though, she is summoned by King Phillip of Spain to come and be one of the ladies and painting instructor for his new bride, Elizabeth of France. Life is not easy at court, however. Elizabeth’s French and Spanish ladies are at each other’s throats, the King’s sister is heavily involved in the Inquisition and the persecution of Michaelangelo in Rome, and the King’s bastard brother and son both seem to be in love with the young queen, who is of an age with them.
I’m not entirely sure how much I liked this book. Cullen is telling an interesting story, as well as one that is well-written. However, for quite some time I just didn’t feel that “The Creation of Eve” had the spark that really makes historical fiction come to life and become extremely engaging. That being said, I suddenly realized near the end that I was having a very difficult time putting the book down. Really, it all just sort of snuck up on me. I think my problem, though, was that Sofi was used primarily as a vehicle to study the Queen, Don Carlos, King Phillip, and Don Juan, so I didn’t get a good feel of Sofi’s self. I would have liked more about being a woman painter, even about being in the Queen’s service, and less about the fickleness of Elizabeth.
Cullen has a lot of talent as a novelist of historical fiction, but “The Creation of Eve” didn’t work quite as well as I had hoped it would.
This review was done with a book received from the publisher at the request of TLC Blog Tours.
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I read this book as part of a TLC Book Tour. Check out some of the other tour hosts for more reviews. Links go to the host’s site, not to their specific review.
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Thursday, March 4th: Café of Dreams
Monday, March 8th: Books and Movies
Tuesday, March 9th: Booking Mama
Thursday, March 11th: Peeking Between the Pages
Monday, March 15th: Fyrefly’s Book Blog
Tuesday, March 16th: The Tome Traveller
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Monday, March 22nd: A Few More Pages
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Wednesday, March 24th: Wordsmithonia
Thursday, March 25th: A Bookshelf Monstrosity
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