The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant

The Birth of Venus

Sarah Dunant

A fascinating insight into early Renaissance Florence, this is an intensely imaginative novel, with a strong and captivating heroine.


Whatever the reasons I was by fourteen a singular child, more suited to study and argument than duty. My sister, who was sixteen months older than me and had begun to bleed the year before, was promised to a man of good family and there had been talk of a similar illustrious liaison for me .... In the weeks following the painter's arrival my mother was eagle-eyed on my behalf, keeping me closeted in study or helping with Plautilla's wedding wardrobe. But then she was called to away to Fiesole .... She went leaving strict instructions that I should go about my studies and do exactly what my tutors and my elder sister told me. And I agreed that I would, while having no intention of doing so.

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