I believe I have mentioned that most of my favorite books are historical novels based on real people. It can be any time frame, although I am partial to mid-nineteenth to mid-twentieth century, my favorites are about artists and their muses and/or their wives. One particular favorite was Clara and Mr. Tiffany, loved it! I would give it more than 5 stars for sure.
One I read last year (it still seems strange to say that, but it was 2016!) was Oil and Marble. I can’t even tell you how many people I have recommend this book to and all have been as entranced as I was. What I look for in a book, I would like to recommend or to review, would be that I don’t want it to end, I am enjoying it that much! I happen to read very fast quite often finishing a book in a day (sometimes an evening, albeit it is a long evening). When I find one this good I drag it out. I don’t really remember how I heard about it, I read so many book blogs, many of which preview new releases and I put them on my TBR list.
The story takes place between 1501 and 1505 (not my normal time frame) when Leonardo di Vinci and Michelangelo both lived and worked in Florence. The premise is what if Leonardo di Vinci, the elder artist, (who has ever matched him in his creativity in so many areas of art, literature and invention, at any age…no one!), and Michelangelo, the “upstart”, had an imagined competition for a perfect piece of marble and what each would create with it. Actually the “what” is dictated by the men paying for the final piece. It tells the story of Michelangelo’s David as well as the romantic portrait that becomes the Mona Lisa and who she was (?). In the story she becomes Leonardo’s obsession, lucky us when we are able to see her beautiful portrait in the Louve (I first saw her at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York when she visited there!). Brilliantly written with a wonderful concept in reimaging the historical aspects of the novel. Storey brings the distant past to reality along with vivid descriptions of the landscape, the artists studios and most importantly the politics of the time (of any time) and how artists, no matter how established, are bound by the demand for perfection. I think you will enjoy this piece of historical fiction. Let me know how you like it.
A bit about the author:
“Stephanie Storey is a writer and art fanatic. She has a degree in Fine Arts from Vanderbilt University and attended a PhD program in Art History—before leaving to get her MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College. She has studied art in Italy and been on a pilgrimage to see every Michelangelo on display in Europe. When not writing novels and screenplays, she works as a television producer and tries, but fails, to do headstands in yoga. She lives in LA with her husband, an actor and Emmy-winning comedy writer. Oil and Marble is her debut novel.” Taken from the back flap of the book. I am looking forward to her next work.
For more information, visit her blog at www.OilandMarble.com