Da Vinci's Tiger

7 CDs. 8:11 hrs. HarperAudio. 2015. $18.99. ISBN 9780062444851. digital download.
Gr 8 Up—This atmospheric novel is set in the opulence and splendor of 15th-century Florence. Finding societal roles limiting, Ginevra de'Benci struggles to find her voice among the male poets and artists in the circle around the Medici family, who use their wealth to support culture and art. Ginevra is a progressive and intelligent young woman who is trapped in a loveless arranged marriage. However, her family's wealth and influence allow her to move among a well-educated, cosmopolitan crowd. She catches the eye of several artists who use her lovely and wise face on canvas and in sculpture. Leonardo da Vinci, apprenticed to Andrea del Verrocchio, forms a genuine friendship with Ginevra, appreciating her intelligence and grace. Commissioned by a powerful ambassador, who also seems to have amorous plans for Ginevra, da Vinci paints one of his best-known works featuring Ginevra and her intense gaze. While this novel will have limited appeal owing to its deliberately slow pace, it is abundant with day-to-day details of life during the Renaissance. Elizabeth Wiley's narration is not ideal; Ginevra's voice is frequently whiny or breathless, presenting her more as vapid than valiant.
VERDICT An additional selection. ["Add this gem to round out collections skewed toward 20th-century history": SLJ 10/15 review of the Katherine Tegen book.]

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