Title: The Competition
Author: Donna Russo Morin
Publisher: Diversion Publishing
Publish Date: April 25, 2017
What's the Story?:
From Goodreads.com: "In a studiolo behind a
church, six women gather to perform an act that is, at once,
restorative, powerful, and illegal: they paint.
Under the tutelage
of Leonardo da Vinci, these six show talent and drive equal to that of
any man, but in Renaissance Florence, they must hide their skills, or
risk the scorn of the church, the city, and the law.
to paint a fresco in the church of Santo Spirito is about to be
announced and Florence s countless artists each seek the fame and glory
this lucrative job will provide. Viviana, a noblewoman freed from a
terrible marriage, and now able to pursue her artistic passions, sees a
potential life-altering opportunity for herself and her fellow artists.
The women first speak to Lorenzo de Medici himself, and finally, they
submit a bidfor the right to paint it. And they win. The very public
commission belongs to them.
But with the victory comes a powerful
cost. The church will not stand for women painting, especially not in a
house of worship. The city is not ready to consider women in positions
of power, and in Florence, artists wield tremendous power. Even the
women themselves are hesitant; the attention they will bring upon
themselves willdisrupt their families, and even put them in physical
All the while, Viviana grows closer to Sansone, her soldier
lover, who is bringing to her a joy that she never knew with her
deceased husband. And fellow-artist Isabetta has a flame reignited,
sparked by Lorenzo himself. Power and passion collide in this sumptuous
historical novel of shattering limitations, one brushstroke at a time."
My Two Cents:
"The Competition" is the second book in Donna Russo Morin's Da Vinci's Disciples series. In this book, the women of the first book are back and have been continuing to work and hone their skills under master painter Leonardo Da Vinci. Florence is a buzz with a competition to paint a fresco in the famous Santo Spirito. The women know that this could be their chance to be accepted by other artists and to finally break into the art world, which is a man's world. This is a great follow on to the first book!
First things first, you should go back and read the first book: "Portrait of a Conspiracy." The second book jumps right into the action while the first book had more of the back stories of the women and Da Vinci. You may find yourself confused by the characters and besides, the first book is just really good.
Historical fiction is amazing. HistFic books like this one have a great way to introduce readers to things that they never knew before. I still found myself amazed at the women jumping over what was expected of them and striving for something greater. The art world is still not very friendly to them even if they have the backing of Da Vinci but that does not deter them from making waves, which I really liked.
The writing of the book is good! The characters continued to be interesting. I loved Da Vinci in this book and I liked how the author built on the stories of the women from the first book. Filled with great detail and other historical figures at the time, this book was a real treat!