Sofonisba Anguissola was one of Michelangelo's only female students during his lifetime. While this novel provides the fictional stories of this time of "Sofi"'s life, it should not underestimate the amazing skill and talent of a female artist during the Renaissance.
This book is why I adore historical fiction.
Sofi must flee Rome and the tutorials of Michelangelo after falling in love with one of the male students. She becomes the drawing instructor for Elisabeth de Valois, the French queen of Spain's King Felipe II. He holds almost all of the power in Europe at this time, yet even he cannot impregnate his young bride.
Soon, Sofi becomes the queen's favorite, and she is drawn into both silly and dangerous adventures. The king's power is demonstrated when it appears that his knowledge of plants, and their properties to kill, assist in the murder of his mistress's husband.
Between fear of the king and the Inquisition, Sofi tries to remain silent and protective of her queen. However, can she save her from her fate? And, can Sofi find the part of herself that can paint again?
It is a truly wonderful story, and the author's explanations for her translation of events in the last chapter made me keel over with admiration.
4.0 out of 5.0 Parson's Passions.