Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Review: The Madonna of the Almonds

Title: The Madonna of the Almonds
Author: Marina Fiorato
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Beautiful Books, 2009
366 p.

**an unforgettable story of love and art set against the backdrop of the Italian Wars**

Synopsis: Bernardino Luini, favourite apprentice of Leonardo da Vinci, is commissioned to paint a religious fresco in the hills of Lombardy. His eye is caught by the beautiful Simonetta di Saronno, a young noblewoman who has lost her husband to battle, and whose fortune is now gone.

Captivated by her beauty and sadness, Bernardino paints Simonetta's likeness, immortalizing her as the Madonna in his miraculous frescos in Saronno's church. As the sittings progress, artist and model fall in love, and Simonetta reciprocates Luini's genius by creating a work of art of her own. She makes a drink for her lover from the juice of almonds......the famous Amaretto of Saronno.

Amaretto is a liqueur with a distinct flavour of almonds and the Disaronno Amaretto is generally accepted as being of the highest quality and the recipe used as dating back to c1525.

On the back of the box can be read the legend of the artist Bernardino Luini , his search for the perfect model , the young innkeeper he discovered and the love that grew between them.

This legend became the starting point for Marina Fiorato to create a story rich in history, art and romance which holds one's attention from beginning to end.
Her characters are strong and well defined and the supporting cast certainly don't play second fiddle to Bernardino and Simonetta but emerge in their own individuality and offer small portraits of the people of their time.
I like to feel emotionally involved in the events of a story and had no problem with this one ( I admit to shedding a few tears)........ but that only adds to the overall sense of satisfaction.

One of the best I've read this year so I hope you'll add it to your reading list and enjoy it as much as I did.

Rating *****

No comments:

Post a Comment