Beaufrand, Mary Jane. 2008. Primavera.
Review by Becky Laney, frequent contributor.
The Italian Renaissance. Two powerful families are about to feud--the Medici and the Pazzi--and our heroine, Lorenza, nicknamed Flora, is soon to be caught in the middle. Power. Wealth. Prestige. That's what it comes down to for most of the men and women in both families. Flora, on the other hand is different. Perhaps it is those differences which serve to her advantage when the power struggle plays out disastrously for her family. She, in fact, saves the life of her family's enemy. But while this act of kindness may protect her life--in the moment--her family--her entire family is at risk. When the Medici's strike back, everything she's known, everything she's loved (as well as a few things she's hated) will be stripped away. Does Flora have the strength, the courage to begin life anew? Is she as strong as her grandmother believes? Does she have anything to live for after all?
I loved this book. I did. The setting was remarkable. Okay, maybe that's the wrong word. For me, I found the setting fascinating. I found it rich and deep and lustrous. I'm not that familiar with it generally speaking, and the details swept me away. Maybe that won't be the case for other readers. But for me it was one of those books that was in the right place and the right time to completely capture my attention. Flora is a well-drawn character. She's strong. She's resourceful. She's complex. I was completely taken in by her and her world.
This is Mary Jane Beaufrand's first book.