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This book is much lighter-hearted than the Botticelli Trilogy and much of that humour comes from Filippo’s inability to reconcile his bodily urges and his monastic vows. Sometimes the scenarios reminded me of the kind of stories you read about monks and nuns in Boccaccio – and I suspect that was deliberate. If people know only one thing about Filippo Lippi, after all, it’s that he was a monk who ran off with a nun and had a child with her. Proud makes the romance more balanced and more touching than many history books would have it; her Lucrezia Buti, given a plausibly unfortunate backstory, has no greater vocation than Filippo himself and is as much wooer as wooed. Her departure from the convent is driven by her own desire for freedom – from the tyrannies of the abbess, from the small-mindedness of monastic life and from the enforced celibacy that torments her – just as much as it is driven by Filippo’s corresponding desire for her. From The Idle Woman, Thursday 16th August, 2012.
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E-book editions are in preparation and will be available from September 2013.
THE BOTTICELLI TRILOGY
‘The historical detail in all three is exemplary, and each is a cracking good read.’ Lonely Planet Guides, Florence and Tuscany.