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  • “I beg your pardon. I am a mountain tiger.”

    Italy is one of the most culture enriched places left in the world today. It has seen the start of the human race, and has been the hot spot for many historical events. Even if it is not the capital Florence is a main city in Italy, where creativity and art is born. Ginevra de’ Benci is a young woman and expiring poet in Florence, yet sucked into the duties of her arrange marriage and is stuck playing housewife when she could be creating her art. Ginevra is trapped in a life she didn’t want, and it isn’t till she finds out what true love is, she can set free. Ginevra de’Benci is married to Luigi Niccolin at age 16 arranged by her uncle. During her time (15th century) it was the duty of the father to marry off their daughters. Because Ginevra father died in 1468, it was her uncle, Bartolmeo, job to marry her off. He did not approve of her poetry, and even more disapproving of Le Murate’s convert school she went to. It was why he picks Luigi, an old childhood friend of his, and married them five months after Luigi’s first wife died. Yet it was not a happy marriage. More of a business deal than love, they didn’t even sleep together, and when asked about a child Ginevra would blush and said that they were not planning one currently. Yet the beginning of the year 1475, Ginevra meets Bembo, whose interests for her goes beyond just poetry. Bembo was an ambassador who fell in love with Ginevra and her poetry. From her beautiful face, the way she held herself, Bembo knew he wanted her. As a way to show his affection he paid for a portrait of her as well as a statue to be made at her by Florence best: Verrocchio and Leonardo da Vinci. Yet it was during those portrait sections where Ginevra starting falling for Leonardo. Sure he was an outcast, but the way he questioned the world around them, and treated Ginevra like an equal and not just a girl. Even though she’s married, has Bembo after her, Ginevra opens her heart and lets Leonardo in, not matter what the public say about him. “So sing Ginevra, Make them listen” was what Mother Scolastican from Le Murate told her, and so she shall as Ginevra might be the smartest of them all. L.M. Elliott did a great job with this story. She took the painting and facts behind da Vinci’s painting, Ginevra de’ Benci, and gave it a romantic twist that any young adult reader would love. He made her not only beautiful but haunting in the picture with the words IRTVTEM FORMA DECORAT (which means beauty adorns virtue) painted for her. The setting of the story was described in detail, giving you an experience of what living in Italy in the 15th century, especially being a woman, was like. The research was done to the point, as nothing in this story stood out to be untrue. The hardest part was getting behind the names as there were lots of characters, and not confusing one with the other (like Ginevra brother Giovnni and Giuliano Medicirider). The story was fast pace as Ginevra battle her heart and brain from the duties she promised to Luigi when she married him, Bembo and his affection, and Leonardo who shared her passion for discovering the world. Check out more of my book reviews at

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