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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A whore, a monk and a stolen painting...
Sounds like the start of a bad joke, however this is instead a clever and indepth book. Luciana is the beautiful young whore of Milan who is asked to pose for Botticelli as Flora, offending the artist without truly realising why she steals an unfinished cartone of the Primavera. When she finds her housemate murdered and realises that she was the target she takes action...
Published on 27 Jun. 2010 by Read Me

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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars (3.5 stars) A map of murder.....
Or is it something else altogether? The basis of the novel and the mystery is Boticelli's famous painting Primavera. Asked to sit as "Flora" prostitute Luciana Vetra unknowingly says something that sends the artist into a fit of anger, and sent off without pay she decides to steal a smaller version of the painting (the artist would use this to *map out* his larger...
Published on 30 Jan. 2010 by Misfit


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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A whore, a monk and a stolen painting..., 27 Jun. 2010
By 
Read Me (West Midlands, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Botticelli Secret (Paperback)
Sounds like the start of a bad joke, however this is instead a clever and indepth book. Luciana is the beautiful young whore of Milan who is asked to pose for Botticelli as Flora, offending the artist without truly realising why she steals an unfinished cartone of the Primavera. When she finds her housemate murdered and realises that she was the target she takes action by going to Santa Croce in the hopes of finding sanctuary. Instead she finds Brother Guido a young novice monk who she has unwittingly implicated in the theft, suddenly they are both on the run, an incongruous pairing who merely want to find safety again. This is until they take a closer look at Botticelli's planned masterpiece and try to reveal the secrets that are hidden within. Their quest takes them across Italy and involves them in the political machinations of the Medici family.

Fiorato tries to do for Botticelli what Dan Brown did for Da Vinci and it kind of works. For me the book is at its best when it is focused on the characters of Luciana and Guido, both flawed and judgemental but bound by a belief that they need to do the right thing and prevent political conspiracies taking over their country. While Guido is the noble, well educated and pious monk Luciana is the gutteral and foul mouthed young trollop. It is a pairing which works well as during their quest they obviously begin to appreciate each other more and both reveal that they have their own useful types of knowledge.

This is an interesting novel and the only reasons why I don't give it 5 stars is because there are some coincidences which are just too implausible and the level of detail that Fiorato goes into with the painting can leave you slightly dazed. Names of flowers, legends of Italy, mythological characters, politics - it all finds its way in there. You end up looking at the painting on the back cover a little too often to check if what you're reading is possible. However all that aside it is an excellent read and towards the second half I was desperately trying to read it in one go to see how things would end. Despite all the details, plotting and espionage for me it was the characters that drove this novel forward and made me desperate to reach the conclusion. This is a nice addition to Fiorato's collection of Italian based novels, each one presenting something different but equally as much of a page-turner.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Epic storytelling..., 17 Jun. 2010
This review is from: The Botticelli Secret (Paperback)
This book is absolutely entertaining from start to finish.
The heroine, Luciana, is a truly captivating character whom you instantly love. Her salty attitude makes her immediately authentic. A fantastic blend of irreverent humor and endless curiosity, Luciana is a perfect guide to this dangerous and fascinating world of fifteenth-century Italy.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant read, 18 Jun. 2010
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This review is from: The Botticelli Secret (Paperback)
I thoroughly enjoyed The Botticelli Secret by Marina Fiorato - I was engrossed by the storyline and couldn't put it down - you know it's good when you wish your morning rush hour tube journey was longer just to keep reading!! It was an easy read and I really liked the two central characters, Brother Guido and Luciana. I love the combination of history and fiction so this is exactly the book for me! And Marina's previous two books are excellent too. This book is highly recommended reading.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a great book!, 24 July 2010
By 
Mrs. K. A. P. Wright - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Botticelli Secret (Paperback)
This is a really good read. It is a brilliantly plotted historical thriller with well defined characters, some good, some bad (and it is not always clear which is which). At the centre of the action are Luciana and Brother Guido, a street whore and an overly intellectual (in Luciana's opinion) Franciscan novice and the painting Primavera by Botticelli for which Luciana has modelled. The plot revolves round the meaning of the painting and solving it to prevent a catastrophe. My copy of the book had a print of the painting on the back cover and I found myself constantly turning to it to try to solve the puzzle.
The plot twists and turns. Sometimes one can second guess what will happen, only to find a further twist turns everything upside down. This means that one cannot predict the outcome with total confidence. The author creates a realistic fifteenth century Italy which entices the reader into the story. I couldn't put it down, reading late into the night and then feeling disappointed that it was all over.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars (3.5 stars) A map of murder....., 30 Jan. 2010
By 
Misfit (Seattle, WA USA) - See all my reviews
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Or is it something else altogether? The basis of the novel and the mystery is Boticelli's famous painting Primavera. Asked to sit as "Flora" prostitute Luciana Vetra unknowingly says something that sends the artist into a fit of anger, and sent off without pay she decides to steal a smaller version of the painting (the artist would use this to *map out* his larger painting), but it doesn't take long before people are dropping dead left and right around her. Luciana eventually hooks up with a very good looking monk who goes by Brother Guido (who of course has not taken final vows yet) and the game is on to solve the pieces of the puzzle in the Primavera and stop "The Seven" before.......

Well, you know I can't tell you that don't you? This was a lot of fun and I enjoyed watching Luciana and Guido unraveling the clues that abound in every portion of this painting, as well as their own secret pasts (both are doozies). The story takes the pair from Florence to Pisa, Rome, Venice, Milan, Naples, near death on the high seas, a massive earthquake and even a spooky castle in the high mountains with a secret underground as they are chased by the ever-so-creepy leper with a talent for murder.

While I did enjoy the pairing of Luciana and Guido, I really would have liked to see less banter and more sexual chemistry between the two - this book is definitely heavy on the mystery and light on the romance. I also didn't care for the way Luciana was written, prostitute or no her language was extremely course and filled with potty words and I didn't warm to her as much as I should have. I also found her a tad bit too modern - using phrases like "get a move on" that just felt out of place - and for those reasons I'm knocking this one down a half star to 3.5/5. It was fascinating reading the minor bits and pieces that make up the whole painting (do read up on it), I'd love to see it in real life although most of those details would have gone right over my ignorant head. A very enjoyable and fast read and a nice mystery that keeps you guessing, but not quite up to four star material.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars exciting, fast paced, difficult to put down - stunning!, 6 Jun. 2011
By 
This review is from: The Botticelli Secret (Paperback)
The beautiful young whore, Luciana, poses for Botticelli, then steals from him when he does not pay her. Luciana is fleeing for her life as people close to her are murdered. She meets Guido, a novice monk, and they attempt to unravel the secrets of Botticelli's La Primavera hoping to find out why she is in danger. This beautiful painting certainly came alive for me as I kept referring to it throughout their deliberations - fascinating.

As beautiful as Luciana is, she is stunned to find that Guido, faithful only to God, is impervious to her charms, and to her frustration, finds that she is falling in love with him.

Their adventures are terrifying, exciting, and the emotional highs and lows made it impossible to put this down.

Thoroughly recommended - and I look forward to reading her other books.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Botticelli Secret, 13 Nov. 2010
This review is from: The Botticelli Secret (Paperback)
I found that I had to get past the first few pages in order to
get into the book. This was because it was so culturally different
from the first 2 books by Marina Fiorato.The language of the heroine
was totally different; from the streets.
Once I did so,I found it as absorbing as the others so it was worth
persevering.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars another page turner..., 23 Jun. 2010
This review is from: The Botticelli Secret (Paperback)
I think this book is really clever. It's all based in the Botticelli painting - the whole story is in the detail of that piece of art. At first I thought I was bound to figure it all out long before the end, but not a chance... so it was a real page turner to get the next mystery and clue revealed. I thought the characters were great - especially the brazen heroine - a little foul mouthed, a little shocking, but it made it all the better read for that. It's tense, there's drama, emotion, intellect, suspense. Great read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful historic thriller but more than that, 20 Aug. 2011
By 
A. M. Fifield "titanne" (England) - See all my reviews
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I won't go into the storyline as enough is said in the reviews already. I was gripped immediately by the strong characterisation of Luciana and then Brother Guido, the main characters of the book. The story also spoke to me because it was set in late 15th century Italy, and brought back lovely memories of family holidays in Tuscany with a big cultural/artistic focus, sometimes a bit much for our young minds,I admit. The beauty and cleverness of the book also lies in Marina Fiorato's decision to look at Botticelli's Primavera in a different way, i.e. containing a secret which had historical and political implications. We meet so many princes, doges, dukes etc. who did exist at that time, and to be honest, I wouldn't be surprised that the plot actually existed. Fiorato was not trying to compete with Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code, as some suggest, but based it on research published by an Italian art historian. Whether you want to believe this or not, doesn't matter. It makes for a strong story-line. With the Kindle version I didn't get a picture of the painting, but I found myself going into search engines checking up on the painting as the "code" became clearer, also for her descriptions of the churches, basilica and palaces. I find the book was extremely well researched in all aspects.
As for the characters, Luciana and Guido are paramount, and very believable. The other characters are supporting the plot, and I feel they are on the whole well portrayed and to the point. One reviewer says they were "dropped" when they were no longer needed - well, they weren't needed any longer, had played their part, and so is life.
One bit of advice: do not read "diagonally" as you may not see clues, and you would have to go back to check again.
A beautiful mystery/thriller plot interwoven with history, politics, beauty, arts and love.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too convoluted..., 29 Aug. 2011
This one seemed promising at the start - the scenes in Florence were entertaining and the descriptions pleasing. By the time the action reached Naples the whole thing had become ludicrous. After surviving a shipwreck by floating up to a grille, the two main characters have a few adventures and then go into a church looking for 'a lady'. They see a carving and realise that the numbers above it are significant (I won't spoil the story but it was a stroke of genius which caused one of the characters' eyes to glow blue). They go to a different carving, tug away at a piece of the stonework then press the numbers above it. Abracadabra, a secret passage opens. I was baffled as to how they'd done it and had to re-read it several times. I still don't know.
There seems to be a glut of these historical-mystery thriller novels at 99p or less on Kindle. In my opinion too many of them have ludicrous plotlines and shall we say experimental grammar - they seem to have been written by non-scholars who are trying to jump on the Dan Brown bandwagon. This one was a little bit more interesting and quite a lot better written than some of the others I've read and it may well appeal to many readers. But I gave up when the two main characters, a prostitute and a monk, ran down the aforesaid secret passage leaving a murderous leper with silver eyes wondering where they'd gone. I no longer cared.
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The Botticelli Secret
The Botticelli Secret by Marina Fiorato (Paperback - 25 Oct. 2012)
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