Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Creation of Eve by Lynn Cullen

Creation of Eve by Lynn Cullen book cover
The Creation of Eve
by Lynn Cullen
Putnam (March 23, 2010)
392 pages
Historical Fiction
Received from TLC Book Tours

Summary in a Sentence:

In the sixteenth century, Sofonisba Anguissola is invited to the Spanish court to study under master painter Michelangelo and serve as a lady-in-waiting for the young Queen Elisabeth, but as a scandal forces Michelangelo to flee and Sofi is pulled into a love triangle between the King, the Queen, and the King's illegitimate half-brother, Sofi fears her life and her dreams of becoming an artist will be ruined.

My Thoughts:

Sofonisba Anguissola Renaissance painter
You know the maestro Michaelangelo. And Raphael, and Leonardo, and all the other Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle-esque names of the famed Renaissance painters. However, one name that might not come immediately to mind is that of Sofonisba Anguissola. One of the many reasons you've never heard of this female Renaissance painter is that she wasn't even allowed to sign most of her own paintings (!).

After a most scandalous tryst with Michaelangelo's young apprentice, Sofi is summoned to a position in the royal court of King Felipe of Spain as the art instructor to the new queen, young Elizabeth of Valois. Soap operas have nothing on this 16th century Spanish court, and at times the theatrics can wear the reader thin. However, Cullen also touches on the Spanish Inquisition and illustrates just how restricted females of any class were in this period in history.

I recommend this book to any lover of historical fiction that sticks faithfully to the historical record. Ms. Cullen has definitely done her research. I'm also now eager to read Cullen's I Am Rembrandt's Daughter.

~ Read for the Art History Challenge  and the Women Unbound Challenge ~

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Other Reviewers on the Tour:

Wednesday, March 3rd: Scandalous Women
Thursday, March 4th: Café of Dreams
Monday, March 8th: Books and Movies
Tuesday, March 9th: Booking Mama
Thursday, March 11th: Peeking Between the Pages
Monday, March 15th: Fyrefly’s Book Blog
Tuesday, March 16th: The Tome Traveller
Wednesday, March 17th: Educating Petunia
Thursday, March 18th: English Major’s Junk Food
Monday, March 22nd: A Few More Pages
Tuesday, March 23rd: Devourer of Books
Wednesday, March 24th: Wordsmithonia
Thursday, March 25th: A Bookshelf Monstrosity
Monday, March 29th: Katie’s Nesting Spot
Tuesday, March 30th: Dolce Bellezza
Wednesday, March 31st: Raging Bibliomania
Friday, April 2nd: Thoughts From an Evil Overlord

13 comments:

trish said...

Sofi wasn't even allowed to sign her own paintings?? Sheesh, that IS restrictive!

I loved how you said, "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle-esque names of the famed Renaissance painters." Great visual! I'd forgotten they were all named after painters. :)

Thanks for being on this tour! I'm glad you liked the book!

Mary said...

Sounds like a good book. Adding it to my list :)

Veens said...

God I can't believe she was not allowed to sign her own paintings...that was so cruel!

Great review. I am sure I want o read this one as well!

nomadreader said...

I'm really looking forward to this one. I hope to read it for the Art History Reading Challenge this year. I'm so glad to hear you liked it!

writergal said...

I'm sure many women have been overlooking historically due to such sexism. I don't find it surprising at all but I'm a cynical Bostonian. Sounds like a good read.

Lynn Cullen said...

With all the odds against her, it's amazing to me that Sofonisba had the guts to even imagine being a painter, let alone to pursue her art her entire life. She was a lot of fun to write about.

Thanks for your insightful review!

Zibilee said...

I am on this tour as well and thought that the historical detail in the book was wonderful. I thought that the way that women were so marginalized during that time period was so frustrating. Great review! I am glad you found the book so interesting.

Ryan G said...

Glad to know you liked the book, I'm starting to feel like the odd man out since I'm not loving it as much as everyone else has.

StephanieD said...

I love books set in this time period! The contrast between the flowering of the Renaissance and the terror and suppression of the Spanish Inquisition should make for interesting reading.

Lisa said...

Love the new background/header! I'm going to have to pick this up; I really appreciate when an author has managed to create a story without altering history.

Kristi said...

This sounds like a book that I would really enjoy! Thanks for the review.

Tribute Books said...

Thanks! for the review.

Cherry said...

Came over from Cym Lowell's McLinky links for Book Review Party Wednesday (BRPW).

This is the second review that I have read of this book. And so far both reviews agree that the author has stuck to the historical facts very well, giving me the impression that this author weaves fact and fiction well enough for the demarcation line between the two blur.

I would like to read Ryan G's review... a different perspective...

Cherry Mischievous
www.cherrymischievous.com

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