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Stepping back in time.... Review of "Da Vinci's Tiger" by L.M. Elliot

July 14, 2016


I give this book 4/5 sittings in young Leonardo's study.

Thank you to OwlCrate for featuring this book in their December 2015 box!


Let me start off by saying how excited I am any time that I find a book that takes historical figures and gives a creative twist to weave an interesting story about them. I love it! I recently graduated university with a degree in the fine arts and part of the curriculum is to learn about the mothers and fathers of the art world and those that helped make it what it is today. Naturally study of Leonardo Da Vinci came up many times over the years and he never ceased to be an interesting subject. So when I received my OwlCrate and saw this book inside I was really excited to pick it up and get reading! (I honestly hate that I ended up misplacing it, and having to wait!)


"Da Vinci's Tiger" is a story about the lovely Ginevra de' Benci and her time getting to know and being painted by a young Leonardo fresh from his apprenticeship with Verrocchio. The story takes place in Italy in the time of Medici and Pazzi warring, jousts, and pageantry when women were not to speak their minds. Ginevra is not a shy person, she does what she is told in her own way while still making it clear that she has her own thoughts and is full of fire. Her poetry is beautiful and if she truly were like this fictional version of herself, she would have been a good friend to have.


Historical fiction has the option to be strongly factual or highly creative. This story held both things. L.M. Elliot did her research! The inclusion of bits of the Italian language, historical details, citations to research (!), and a well woven story line made this book hard for me to put down! I would certainly recommend "Da Vinci's Tiger" to other historical fiction fans out there!




For fans of rich and complex historical novels like Girl with a Pearl Earring or Code Name Verity, Laura Malone Elliott delivers the stunning tale of real-life Renaissance woman Ginevra de' Benci, the inspiration for one of Leonardo da Vinci's earliest masterpieces.

The young and beautiful daughter of a wealthy family, Ginevra longs to share her poetry and participate in the artistic ferment of Renaissance Florence but is trapped in an arranged marriage in a society dictated by men. The arrival of the charismatic Venetian ambassador, Bernardo Bembo, introduces Ginevra to a dazzling circle of patrons, artists, and philosophers. Bembo chooses Ginevra as his Platonic muse and commissions a portrait of her by a young Leonardo da Vinci. Posing for the brilliant painter inspires an intimate connection between them, one Ginevra only begins to understand. In a rich and vivid world of exquisite art with a dangerous underbelly of deadly political feuds, Ginevra faces many challenges to discover her voice and artistic companionship—and to find love.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~About the Author~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



...also published under the name Laura Malone Elliott

L. M. Elliott is author of UNDER A WAR-TORN SKY, a Notable Book in Social Studies (NCSS/CBC), a Jefferson Cup Honor Book for Historical Fiction, winner of Border’s Original Voices Award for YA Literature, and a Bank Street College Best Book; its sequel A TROUBLED PEACE, also a NCSS/CBC Notable; and its companion ACROSS A WAR-TOSSED SEA, a Jefferson Cup Overfloweth Title; and ANNIE, BETWEEN THE STATES, a New York City Public Library Book for the Teen Age, IRA Teachers’ choice, and VA Readers’ Choice finalist; GIVE ME LIBERTY; and FLYING SOUTH, a Bank Street College Best Book. Her next novel, DA VINCI'S TIGER, explores the subject of Leonardo's first portrait, the young poet Ginevra de' Benci.

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