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The Birth of Venus: A Novel [Audio CD]

4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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4.0 out of 5 stars How to colour a trip to Italy Oct. 21 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this book just prior to a trip to Italy and carried it from Rome to Florence to Venice. I did not finish it until I got home as Italy is such an overwhelming place and there is so much to see. I was too tired to read. I finish it when I got home. It is a colourful addition to the picture that I have of Italy.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Birth of a great novel July 2 2005
I flew through THE BIRTH OF VENUS. The best parts about the novel are the obscure facts and details of Florence, the Renaissance, Art and Politics. Romance looms above it all. I found myself excited by the pace and adventure, hoping for the underdog, even though, at times, the underdog was wrong or at least difficult to root for. Perhaps even stubborn, in a way. Like the images and age she describes, Sarah Dunant has really created a work of art within itself with THE BIRTH OF VENUS. I recently had the pleasure of reading a novel by another great author who writes beautifully and yet has some jaw-dropping moments and heart-felt goodness---THE BARK OF THE DOGWOOD---A Tour of Southern homes and Gardens. Simply fantastic and first-rate. Check it out, but first, please, please read VENUS.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Gave up after 120+ pages March 6 2007
By Misfit TOP 500 REVIEWER
I know I'm going to be in the minority here, but I could not get into this book. I found nothing to interest me, no chemistry between the two main characters, and if I want to read about a serial killer run loose I will pick up the next Ann Rule book. It was all I could do to not throw the book across the room.

If you feel you will enjoy this book based upon other reviews, get it from the library first. Then if you love it, buy it. I am sorry I wasted my money. JMHO.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous book!!! March 8 2011
One of the best books I've ever read (and I'm a big reader), along with the author's In the Company of the Courtesan. In addition to great character development, intriguing pager-turner plots, and an amazing writing style, Dunnant gives us glimpses into the past that help us understand the social and political history of the Renaissance era. Highly recommended, especially for those who like historical fiction.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Birth of a great novel May 22 2005
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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5.0 out of 5 stars Great novel, very unusual, highly recommended Feb. 2 2005
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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5.0 out of 5 stars Great historical fiction Dec 12 2004
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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