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The Birth of Venus: A Novel Audio CD

15 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Random House Audio
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0739310534
  • ISBN-13: 978-0739310533
  • Product Dimensions: 14.3 x 2.4 x 12.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 222 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,803,146 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Paperback
Dunant dares the reader to put this one down! While I will admit that BIRTH OF VENUS is certainly imbued with an anachronistically modern sensibility, not to mention language, those glaring facts do not detract from the sheer enjoyment of the novel. I am not usually a fan of the first person narrative (particularly in historical fiction for the very reasons stated above, which are almost inevitable). However, for this book it couldn't have been done any other way. How else to better portray a character who so resides in her own mind than to deliver her story in her own words? I was riveted from the opening scenes to the last and miss the characters no longer cascading through the pages. The only other book that touched me this deeply was Jackson McCrae's CHILDREN'S CORNER with its quirky characters and tangled stories. I was sorry to see VENUS end, even if the resolution left me a little cold. As much as I enjoyed the vibrancy of the story, however, there was one nagging question, was "the painter" based on a real artist as I believe was the intention? (although I could be mistaken) If so, WHO was it?! Must also recommend THE FOREST LOVER as another great read. Also, check out the McCrae.
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Format: Paperback
Recently I've come across two excellent books, and this is a rare thing. My luck is not usually that good, especially with bestsellers and their ilk. The first one was Jackson McCrae's THE CHILDREN'S CORNER, which is excellent. But the even better bet for your money is Dunant's BIRTH OF VENUS. Dunant is a class apart from most authors of historical romance. It's the subtlety and perceptiveness of her characterisation that's so refreshingly different from the cliched norm. There are no gods and no monsters in her universe -- only humans, imperfect yet each striving to be the best they can imagine being. In her previous contemporary thrillers we could understand and even empathise with the motivations and aspirations of her 'villains' as much as her 'heroines'. The same is true in this dazzlingly vivid portrayal of a young woman's struggle to find a way to be who she might be as an individual (when a female could only be property), set against the turbulent backdrop of one of the most astounding and pivotal episodes in the shaping of Western civilisation. There are no crude shortcuts or cyphers here -- even peripheral characters are delicately nuanced and believable. Readers of Dunant's earlier work won't be disappointed -- the book's intricately woven subplots create an atmosphere that's intriguing and suspenseful -- but lovers of the historical romance genre will be equally entranced, for the most compelling aspect of this sumptuous novel is the sheer visceral force of its evocation of time and place. Colours, textures, smells... the pages drip with lavishly savourful but never obtrusively showy descriptive detailing of the essences of Alessandra's 15th-century city-world.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
This book, set in 15th century Florence, is told through the eyes of the main character Alessandra, a 14 year old girl who has led a sheltered life and who longs to paint. She possesses a strong mind and tells the story with such grace and humility that even the most distasteful parts still read like fine poetry. Alessandra comes from a wealthy family and due to the turbulent times ends up married before she is even 15. She befriends a painter and boldly challenges him to review her work.
I especially loved the references to art and faith, and feel this is a story many will quickly jump in and sail along with. I found myself anxious to find out what would happen next, as the book is not only written with a beautiful voice but has the added interest of history, realism, and mystery. Quite simply, you want to find out what happens to this girl.
I would recommend this for a great long weekend. Turn off the phone and snuggle in for a great story.
From the author of The Difference Now.
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By A Customer on June 27 2004
Format: Paperback
I picked this book up not knowing what to expect. What I discovered is an especially intriguing tale of love, lust, death, rebellion, passion and art.
The story is told from the perspective of a young girl, Alessandra, who is coming of age in Florence at a time when most of Europe is at war and on the cusp of a period of great change and renewal. While her wealthy family tries to shelter her from the sins of the outside world, Alessandra's thirst for knowledge and her passion for art keep her constantly searching for new experiences. This thirst only grows when a young painter comes to live with her family and Alessandra comes to know a new form of passion - that of the flesh.
As time passes, Alessandra's rebellious inclinations grow, clashing with the ideal of women at the time as well as with her family's expectations. Yet while her family and husband allow her to discreetly pursue her passions, when the fanatical monk Savoranola takes power and the inquisition comes to Florence, Alessandra's life is affected in ways she never imagined.
In this exciting novel, Durant mingles fact and fiction in a beautiful and compelling manner. Anyone who enjoys historical fiction or is interested in life in early Renaissance Italy will enjoy this book a great deal.
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