Title: Portrait of a Conspiracy
Author: Donna Russo Morin
Publisher: Diversion Publishing
Publish Date: May 10, 2016
Source: HF Virtual Book Tours
What's the Story?:
From Goodreads.com: "One murder ignites the
powderkeg that threatens to consume the Medici's Florence. Amidst the
chaos, five women and one legendary artist weave together a plot that
could bring peace, or get them all killed. Seeking to wrest power from
the Medici family in 15th Century Florence, members of the Pazzi family
drew their blades in a church and slew Giuliano. But Lorenzo de Medici
survives, and seeks revenge on everyone involved, plunging the city into
a murderous chaos that takes dozens of lives. Bodies are dragged
through the streets, and no one is safe. Five women steal away to a
church to ply their craft in secret. Viviana, Fiammetta, Isabetta,
Natasia, and Mattea are painters, not allowed to be public with their
skill, but freed from the restrictions in their lives by their art. When
a sixth member of their group, Lapaccia, goes missing, and is rumored
to have stolen a much sought after painting as she vanished, the women
must venture out into the dangerous streets to find their friend and see
her safe. They will have help from one of the most renowned painters of
their era the peaceful and kind Leonardo Da Vinci. It is under his
tutelage that they will flourish as artists, and with his access that
they will infiltrate some of the highest, most secretive places in
Florence, unraveling one conspiracy as they build another in its place."
My Two Cents:
"Portrait of a Conspiracy" is the first book in a new series by Donna Russo Morin. It follows several women who yearn to be artists. Unfortunately because of the time they live in, the Renaissance in Florence, they cannot practice their art openly. A very public murder rocks their world and threatens the society of Florence. These women find themselves in the center of it and will do anything to try to make things better and protect those close to them.
Viviana, Fiammetta, Isabetta, Natasia, and Mattea are fantastic characters. At first, I was a little leery of having so many main characters but Morin does an amazing job of creating a unique voice for each woman. You may have noticed that the series is called Da Vinci's Disciples and Leonardo Da Vinci (one of my personal favorites) does make an appearance in this book. I appreciated that even though he is a larger than life character and plays a great role in the book, the author still lets the women be the stars of the show. Da Vinci plays a more backseat role, which was great to see.
The writing of the book was good. The mystery at the center of the story was nice and tight and very exciting. While this is a series, I felt some closure at the end of this book, which was nice. There are enough things that I am still wondering about though to keep me excited about reading the next book. I so want to get back to these characters! Overall, this was an exciting read that put me in the center of Renaissance Italy.