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Review: The Miracles of Prato, by Laurie Albanese and Laura Morowitz


The Miracles of Prato is the story of a lesser-known love affair, between the Renaissance painter Filippo Lippi, and Lucrezia Butti, a novice in the Convent of Santa Margherita in Prato. According to the authors' note in the back of the book, Lucrezia was either a novice or a young lady placed in the care of the Convent. They had two children together, one of which, Filippino, became a famous painter himself, studying under Boticelli. The story is probably a romanticized version of what really happened; doing a bit more reading, I found out that Lucrezia may have been kidnapped by Lippi, and held hostage in his home. The "miracle" of the title is the Sacra Cintola, or Sacred Belt, that is the lynchpin of part of the story.

I found this book to be slow going. The writing style is excellent, but excellent writing does not a great novel make. The authors are clearly passionate about art; it's too bad that the rest of the novel can't keep up. The love story is muted, and it was hard for me to see why the painter and novice were attracted to each other in the first place. It's a pretty standard treatment of an old story. But that said, I enjoyed the historical setting; it's well-researched, and the story is an interesting composite of fact and fiction. But for a novel about the Renaissance, this book diappointed me a bit.

Comments

Boy, you just hit the proverbial nail on the head! It's amazing that sometimes you'll run across these books where the writing is excellent, but there is something (big) missing....some spark, or life to the book.

Nicely written review!
S. Krishna said…
Great review! I think I'll pass on this one though.

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2015 Reading

January
1. The Vanishing Witch, by Karen Maitland
2. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
3. Texts From Jane Eyre, by Mallory Ortberg
4. Brighton Rock, by Graham Green
5. Brat Farrar, by Josephine Tey
6. Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert
7. Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy
8. A Movable Feast, by Ernest Hemingway
9. A Room of One's Own, by Virginia Woolf
10. Other Voices, Other Rooms, by Truman Capote
11. Maggie-Now, by Betty Smith

February
1. Middlemarch, by George Eliot
2. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
3. Nerdy, Shy, and Socially Inappropriate, by Cynthia Lee
4. Music For Chameleons, by Truman Capote
5. Peyton Place, by Grace Metalious
6. Unrequited, by Lisa Phillips
7. Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh
8. A Lost Lady, by Willa Cather

March
1. Persuasion, by Jane Austen
2. Love With a Chance of Drowning, by Torre DeRoche
3. One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
4. Miss Buncle's Book, by DE Stevenson
5. One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garc…