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Customer Reviews for

Leonardo's Swans

Average Rating 4.5
( 24 )
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5 Star

(12)

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(3)

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 24 Customer Reviews
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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2012

    Based on true facts......excellent

    if you like history in Renaissance Italy.1490-1550..you will love it...while these events happened Christopher Columbus was just discovering America........

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 20, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Nice to find an intelligently written historical novel

    With the landslide of women's historical fiction triggered mostly by Phillipa Gregory (unfortunately, in my opinion), it is a relief to find an interesting and historically accurate novel. The author relies on her ablities to describe and conjecture about the women within historically accurate surroundings and events rather than full blown sex scenes to propel the reader's interest. Further, there is comparitively speaking, very little good historical fiction written about the area which later became Italy (or any other country that is not either England or Scotland) during the 15th and 16th centuries, yet many historically defining events occured within the region. I recommend it highly - for newbies it gives a taste of what well-written historical fiction can really be like, and for those of us who have been reading historical fiction for 30 years or more, it helps flesh out a time when all areas of life were being turbulently and thrillingly changed.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 17, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Meeting Leonardo

    After reading this book, I wanted to go back in time and meet (at least the fictional version) of Leonardo. Beatrice and Isabella are such polar opposite characters, and their lives are full of intrigue and plot twists. Sticks pretty true to historical facts, Essex has tied in fiction seamlessly. Gorgeous writing style, character development and plot. I sure wish I had my own treasury room like Beatrice!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2007

    Very Good Read

    This book was very good, I still think that The Other Boleyn Girl is the best historical fiction book I have ever read, but this novel took me into the Italian times of Leonardo Da Vinci and made the author made the characters realistic through the sisterly competion, which occurs with all siblings and people. I'm not sure if I liked the ending, but I liked the book overall. It was a fantastic way to start my summer reading.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2006

    Historical Fiction at Its Finest

    Beatrice and Isabella d'Este, two 16th-century noblewomen, are depicted here as sisters who love each other dearly despite their ongoing rivalry. Both of them marry well (though not always happily), and as patronesses of the arts are closely associated with Leonardo da Vinci. This fictional recreation of their lives as young women is lively and fascinating. Both are strong-minded and independent, and would probably have made better rulers than their husbands in their respective cities of Milan and Mantua. The author's historical notes about the characters are an added bonus at the end of the book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    HISTORICAL FICTION AT ITS FINEST MAKES FINE LISTENING

    Historical fiction at its finest aptly describes 'Leonardo's Swans,' which is rich in period detail and court intrigue. A voice performance at its finest is also an appropriate description of Elizabeth Sartre's narration. She brings alive the longings and loves of two sisters in Renaissance Italy. Ferrara is home to Isabella and Beatrice. They're close together in age but miles apart in ersonality. 'Beatrice is a puzzle to Isabella, a fact that the older sister blames on the girl's unsupervised upbringing in wild Naples.' Isabella is engaged to Francesco, while the younger Beatrice will wed Ludovico, the future Duke of Milan. These marriages had been arranged when the girls were 5 and 6 years of age. It little mattered at the time which girl would be wed to which man as long as the match was beneficial for the city-state of Ferrara. In later life the girls will be rivals as Isabella catches the eye of Ludovico, a man lacking in morals with a beautiful mistress, to say nothing of being her brother-in-law. He may have met his match in the ambitious Isabella who would use him so that his court painter, Leonardo da Vinci, might capture her image in oils. These maneuverinsg are set against the plotting of France's rulers to invade Italy. Essex depicts the Renaissance with all its ribaldry and rivalry - wonderful listening! - Gail Cooke

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2013

    Excellent from beginning to end

    Karen Essex does an incredible job of bringing these historical characters to life. I found myself engrossed in these people's lives and this moment in Italian history. I've read a number of historical fiction from this period, and Leonardo's Swans is by far my favorite!

    Great read. Highly recommend!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2013

    Three stars!

    Timeless sister/BFF love. Beatrice's story retold. Several websites hace good stories inventsd

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2006

    A Tempestuous Tale of Two Sisters

    LEONARDO¿S SWANS by Karen Essex is a tempestuous tale of two sisters. The sisters in question are Isabella and Beatrice D¿Este. In personality and looks they are very different but their lives are intertwined in the turbulent history of the Italian city-states during the Renaissance. A third character is braided into this very readable historical novel ¿ Leonardo (da Vinci). Here he is called the Magistro, and the portrait of him comes across as an enigmatic but truthful image of the artist/engineer. Essex has a way of allowing the reader to enter into the history through the characters. It is a well-written novel with each of the chapters bearing the title of a Tarot card. Nice touch since the Sforza-Visconti¿s had some influence on the Renaissance invention. ¿ Leslie Strang Akers

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2006

    Excellent read & fabulous storytelling

    I just read Leonardo's Swans, which I thought was simply fantastic. It was brought even more to life by the lively read by the author, Karen Essex, who swung through Pasadena on a book tour. The characters are beautifully and specifically drawn and it is simply fascinating to finally learn of the other components, namely the women, in Da Vinci's life. I was both educated AND entertained. I couldn't recommend this book more highly!

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    Posted August 5, 2009

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    Posted November 18, 2011

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    Posted July 21, 2009

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 24 Customer Reviews
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