Thursday, May 19, 2016

Portrait of a Conspiracy
by Donna Russo Morin

Publisher: Diversion Publishing
Pages: 298
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  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.


Kritters Thoughts:  Whether this story was based in truth or is true fiction, it was entertaining.  An underground group of women all have passion in the creative field and in the time that they live in, women aren't welcome to be creative - it is a man's world.  Leonardo Da Vinci saw something in the women and wanted to help push their creativity along.  At the same time there is major upheaval in Italy and there is war and the women are caught completely in the middle.

I don't read a lot that takes place in this time and space, so I just enjoyed reading something out of my usual reads.  I loved reading about women defying the custom of the time and instead following their own path even if they may have to do it in secret.  

I didn't know a ton about the upheaval at the time, so there were moments when that part of the storyline may have gone over my head, but there was still enough story without it.  I know that the unrest mattered to the story, but I would have loved more content about the women and what they loved to do.  

This is the first in a series and I am not sure if I will continue, but I did enjoy this one.


Rating: definitely a good read, but can't read two in a row

Ebook 2016 Challenge: 13 out of 50


Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Diversion Books.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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