Signora Da Vinci

( 24 )

Overview

Following the 'absolutely superb'(Diane Haeger, author of The Secret Bride) Mademoiselle Boleyn, novelist Robin Maxwell delves into the life of Caterina-the adventurer, alchemist, and mother of Leonardo da Vinci.

Caterina was fifteen years old in 1452 when she bore an illegitimate child in the tiny village of Vinci. His name was Leonardo, and he was destined to change the world forever.

Caterina suffered much cruelty as an unmarried mother and ...

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Signora Da Vinci

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Overview

Following the 'absolutely superb'(Diane Haeger, author of The Secret Bride) Mademoiselle Boleyn, novelist Robin Maxwell delves into the life of Caterina-the adventurer, alchemist, and mother of Leonardo da Vinci.

Caterina was fifteen years old in 1452 when she bore an illegitimate child in the tiny village of Vinci. His name was Leonardo, and he was destined to change the world forever.

Caterina suffered much cruelty as an unmarried mother and had no recourse when her boy was taken away from her. But no one knew the secrets of her own childhood, nor could ever have imagined the dangerous and heretical scheme she would devise to protect and watch over her remarkable son. This is her story.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Maxwell (Mademoiselle Boleyn) re-creates Renaissance Italy in splendid detail, but fails to deliver a convincing narrative in her tale of da Vinci's mother, Caterina, an apothecary's daughter who is schooled from an early age in the art of alchemy. At 14, Caterina falls in love with Piero da Vinci, an older man above her station. After he promises to marry her, they make love, and the seed of the great artist is planted. But their plans doesn't work out: Piero's family forbids him from marrying Caterina and later takes baby Leonardo from his unwed mother. Leonardo is not treated well by the da Vinci family, but in his occasional visits to the apothecary shop, precocious Leonardo thrives. Soon his skillful drawings compel Caterina to seek an artist's apprenticeship for Leonardo in Florence, where he matures into a highly accomplished artist. Caterina misses him so terribly that she plans a hard-to-imagine reunion that changes her life in unbelievable ways. While the setting and known events of the artist's life are meticulously rendered, the plot relies too much on suspension of disbelief. (Jan.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780451225801
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/6/2009
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 515,071
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Robin Maxwell

Robin Maxwell is the national bestselling author of eight novels of historical fiction. She lives in the high desert of California with her husband, yogi Max Thomas.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 24 )
Rating Distribution

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

    Posted January 27, 2013

    Robin Maxwell

    What a ride! A visual and emotional adventure through the Italian Renaissance. Facing the medieval chauvinism and Inquisicion, Signora DaVinci embodies feminine power above cultural, religious and political conspiracy. One wonders if Leonardo's MonaLisa is indeed the painting of this woman most dear to him and the reason why, historians report, he never parted with the famous painting.

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  • Posted April 30, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    great novel!

    This is by far my favorite book I've read this year and as an avid historical fiction reader, that truly is saying something. I could not put this book down!
    Robin Maxwell does an amazing job of intertwining reality with her imagined life of Signora da Vinci. One can fully believe that this is how Caterina da Vinci lived her life. In a time period where women did not have the same freedoms as men, one can imagine Caterina forsaking her womanhood to follow her beloved son and to help him become the man we know him as today.
    I fully recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys historical fiction, or even to those who are simply looking for a pleasurable summer read.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2009

    sinora da vinci is a good historical book and summer read

    I finally grabbed this book and read it at a moment of weakness and was surprised at how good it was. Yes it has some forced historical stuff in it ( when the author has to use something they found during research) but for the most it was easy to read. The plot has been done before a woman passing herself off as a man, but some of the other aspects were good. My take on the end was when you strive to deceive others mostly you are decieving yourself because others can see thru the veil.

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  • Posted April 6, 2009

    Good read

    The book kept me interested the entire time, although it peeked my interest into the real mother of Leonardo di Vinci...who lead a much different life

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  • Posted February 23, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    For any Medici era liker

    This book was amazing. I felt like I was there in Florence. I painted a vivid picture of Florence. I really loved this book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 1, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    a fascinating biographical fiction

    In Vinci, Italy Caterina, as befitting the daughter of an apothecary, is trained in alchemy. In 1451 when she turns fourteen, Caterina meets and falls in love with much older Piero da Vinci. Although he is from a much higher social circle, he offers to marry her. They make love and she becomes pregnant.<BR/><BR/>He reneges on his pledge as his family threatens to disown him if he weds his inferior mistress. After Caterina gives birth, Piero's family takes away the newborn Leonardo from his unwed mom; as she has no rights compared to their influence. The da Vinci brood abuse Leonardo, but his visits to his mom gives him hope. When she sees his incredible drawings, she arranges for him to apprentice with a master artist in Florence. Missing her son, who is becoming renowned as an artist, Caterina arranges a reunion with her Leonardo, but a surprise awaits her in Florence.<BR/><BR/>SIGNORA DA VINCI is a fascinating biographical fiction that looks deep into the life of Leonardo¿s mother. The story line is well written as it brings out the sacrifices Caterina did to obtain quality time with her son while he is raised by his wealthy affluent paternal family. The background of the Renaissance is also intricately interwoven into the plot. Although she performs some seemingly implausible events, which Caterina admits ¿would be impossible for a woman of my station¿ that detracts from the tale even with an explanation, sub-genre fans will relish this reflective refreshing indirect glimpse into the life of Leonardo through the eyes of his doting mom.<BR/><BR/>Harriet Klausner

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