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3.34 of 5 stars 3.34  ·  rating details  ·  348 ratings  ·  72 reviews
Michelangelo's statue of David is famous around the world. Millions flock to Florence to admire the Renaissance masterpiece -and to gaze upon the physical perfection of the young man captured in the marble. But the identity of the model has never been known. . . until now.
In this epic story Mary Hoffman imagines the story of Gabriele, a handsome eighteen-year-old who is h
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Published October 1st 2011 by Bloomsbury U.S.A. Children's Books (first published January 1st 2011)
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David is a vivid historical novel; it is both a coming of age story and an exploration of the Florentine politics of the sixteenth century. It is a wonder of a book and refreshingly different.

David is actually the story of Gabriele, the milk-brother of the famous artist and sculptor Michelangelo. Gabriele is eighteen when he leaves his home, Settignano, a small village, and arrives in the city of Florence in search of work as a stone-cutter. Gabriele is a naive young man who lacks a practical un
David is set in Florence, Italy at the beginning of the 16th Century and is about a young man called Gabriele who leaves his home in the countryside to hit the city and make some money so he can return to his village and marry his sweetheart. His plan is to find his ‘milk brother’ Angelo, more recognisable to us as Michelangelo, the famous sculptor.

Gabriele’s story is narrated by the man himself in his senior years and at points through the story he’ll talk about something Gabriele or Angelo ar
This book is probably considered an edgy read, and it is certainly not without its content. Gabriele is an all-out womanizer and sleep-around. He's in Florence for one day and he's already found his way into a woman's bed, and she isn't the last. Thankfully, his interests stop at women, but there are plenty of men to make googly-eyes at him, as well, and the Author doesn't shy away from stating that fact. One patron specifically asks a painter to use Gabriele as his nude model because he (the pa ...more
SJH (A Dream of Books)
This book combines beautiful imagery, vivid descriptions and sensuous detail. 'David' by Mary Hoffman vividly recreates the sense of what Italy and Florence in particular must have been like in 1501 when the city was split by two warring factions: the pro-Republicans and the pro-Medici supporters. Hoffman uses this period in time as a backdrop for her novel which combines historical detail with fictional imaginings. I'm a massive fan of historical fiction and Mary Hoffman is the queen of this ge ...more
As a past inhabitant of Italy and lover of historical fiction, I was thrilled to see this title at BEA. It was on of the first ARCs I picked up at the expo and I am so glad I did. Hoffman does a great job of keeping the language modern enough for YA readers yet old enough to keep with the period in the book. I also love that Hoffman came up with such a great idea. I have never once thought about who the David could be. I enjoyed the story and the history in this novel.
I really like historical fiction. I mean, love it. Especially when fictional characters are used to bring actual historical events to life. So I was enormously happy to realise that Mary Hoffman employs her fictional narrator Gabriele to showcase this volatile period in Florence's history. For me, this enables real empathy with the situation, and I can identify with the motives of the actual personages who peopled the time.

Here we have a Florence that is being overcome by the rifts between the R
In lieu of a review, allow me to share a chat transcript wherein I discuss this book:

(view spoiler)
Jade Walker
Original review at

I requested this book as I am a massive fan of Hoffman's Stravaganza series and was so excited to see how she dealt with recreating Italian history. I was intrigued by this book because she wasn't writing about a different world based off Italy, she was writing about Italy and with that she had to deal with actual historical events, which obviously involved a whole lot of research.

I was very impressed with the depth of knowledge that Hoffman di
Michelle (Fluttering Butterflies)
This review was originally posted on Fluttering Butterflies

David by Mary Hoffman is the first book of hers that I've read, but it certainly won't be the last.

This book really just felt very different from anything I've read lately. It isn't just that it's historical, which is a genre that I don't often read, but the combination of political intrigue, scandal, art and descriptions of an Italy I'd be desperate to see made this book hugely exciting and fascinating. I couldn't wait to find out what
Wallowing Hippo
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Elizabeth La Lettrice
Great fictional account of the making of the statue of David with it's fictional model as the main character. This book does a great job of depicting the political turmoil of 15th/16th century Florence as well as the artistic energy and relevance that pervaded the city at the time. The artists that are weaved into this story as regular working men will later become the legends that would help lay the foundation for establishing Florence as a city of masterpieces that is visited by millions today ...more
This is one of those books that starts slowly but packs a major punch at the end. I was literally racing through the last chapters. A wonderful book at about the man who could have been David.
I had hoped for a really good historical fiction, something to pull teens into Michaelangelo's world, but it really isn't. Seems like the focus is on how the boy who is the model for David has such physical attraction that he can't help but be pulled into various dangerous liaisons. Yes, we do get a sense of the political machinations happening, but there's a lot more focus on how beautiful he is and how attracted various people are to him. Anyway, I got about half-way through and decided I was ...more
I know it's only March but I have to say this is one of the best books I've read this year. As someone studying the art history, I was intrigued on the interpretation the writer would have of the mysterious model for the infamous Michelangelo sculpture and Hoffman captured it, in my opinion, perfectly! It's not overrun with romance and doesn't romantise it too much, giving the main character flaws that most would relate to, as well as incorpreting the history of Florence at that time into the st ...more
A.R. Collins
This book is well written (bar the odd lapse in sentence structure) and, so far as I can tell, very well researched and historically accurate. For me, however, it lacks spark and I whilst reading I found myself only mildly interested - by the information about the Renaissance artworks being discussed and created, more than anything else. I found the storytelling bland and the characters uninteresting. I also thought it a shame that Gabriele had to grow older than the novel's target audience, as ...more
Why I picked it up: It was the group read for an online book group I’m in, and my friend Christie, who is a bit of a historical fiction junkie, read it and liked it.

Gabriele is 18 years old when he leaves his home in the country to follow his milk-brother, Angelo, into the city of Florence. We know Angelo by a different name today: Michelangelo. Gabriel becomes the model for his brother statue and therefore one of the most recognized faces in Florence. But with the political strife in the city,
Have you ever wondered what the story is behind Michelangelo’s classic sculpture, David? In this book, Mary Hoffman imagines the story behind the famous sculpture, combining the politics of Florence at the time with a fascinating back-story and glimpse into the possible personal life of the sculptor himself, not to mention the subject of David.

David is first and foremost a historical novel. For some, this may seem like a turn-off, but in truth the many layers of fascinating politics and persona
Jesse Owen
I’m going to start this review by saying that apart from time travel books which feature a little bit of history this is the first historical novel I’ve read and I’m really glad I did.

As you can probably tell from the description this is the fictional story behind Michelangelo’s famous statue, David (I’m sure you know the one). It follows Gabriele as he arrives in Florence, how he gets involved in their politics and we find out how truly dangerous Florence was. I wouldn’t of liked to live there
Maria Kramer
In medieval/renaissance Florence it's all about art. Also politics. And sex. Our hero, naive country bumpkin Gabriele, moves to big-city Florence and gets embroiled in all three when his "milk brother" Micheangelo asks him to model for a sculpture he's making. The sculpture now known as David.

One thing that skeeved me out about this book was the Sexual Harrassment Gender Gap. His first day in Florence, poor Gabriele gets robbed, and a rich widow decides to help him out until he can track down hi
Historical fiction is very hit-and-miss with me, but David was most definitely a hit. I loved it!

I’ve always been a lover of art and artists so the chance to find out about the (fictionalised) person behind Michelangelo’s 'David', which is one of the things I have to see before I die, was a chance I couldn’t pass up. The identity of Michelangelo’s model is one of arts mysteries that will likely never be solved and that only makes Gabriele’s story all the more appealing. But this was not the only
Gabriele moved to Florence in hopes of earnings funds to support a future with his beloved back home. Instead his good looks and innocence take him on a political journey he never expected. Learning the ropes of life in a big city, Gabriele and his ‘milk’ brother, budding artist Michelangelo work together to create a unexpected symbol of the republic, a marble statue of David. Passion, art and politics, Gabriele grows up to discover just what is important in one’s life.

Normally I love historical
This is a fantastic novel that I urge you all to read. It's fun, exciting and tragic in many ways. It's also a bit historical, and it may get a little confusing at times but I really want you to look past that and find your way to the heart of the story.

David is truly about the unconditional love of two brothers - one being Michaelangelo, the famous artist/sculptor that we all know about. The story focuses on Michael and his brother, Gabrielle, who he uses as the model for his famous statue of D
First Sentence: "My brother died last month."

This book is the story of the imagined model for Michelangelo's David. Gabriele is a stonecutter from a small Italian village who is the milk brother of Michelangelo (the artist, not the turtle). Gabriele joins "Angelo" (as he calls him) in the big city of Florence and is immediately drawn into the web of intrigue that surrounds Florentine politics in the early 1500s. Gabriele's looks attract attention from artists as well as Florentine ladies.

I hadn't read many historical novels before, but I have played a lot of Assassin's Creed II, which prompted me to pick up this book. The time period is the same, so I thought it would make it easier to read and enjoy, at least for me. It didn't.

I cared little for large amount of characters with very little personality. There is a lot of Italian used, and although the book is set in Italy it just made everything more confusing rather than adding to the atmosphere. I was lead to believe that it wa
Shelly Cole
“When Gabriele arrives in Florence and finds himself penniless and alone, he has only one trick up his sleeve..the name of a renowned sculptor and the hope of work. But never in his wildest dreams did he imagine that he would become the model for one of the world’s most famous statues, Michelangelo’s David. Or that he would be sucked into the deadly world of Florentine politics, where battle, bloodshed and murder are commonplace.”
I really thought from the blurb on the back of this book that I wo
Book Angel Emma
Guest Review by Shelly

“When Gabriele arrives in Florence and finds himself penniless and alone, he has only one trick up his sleeve..the name of a renowned sculptor and the hope of work. But never in his wildest dreams did he imagine that he would become the model for one of the world’s most famous statues, Michelangelo’s David. Or that he would be sucked into the deadly world of Florentine politics, where battle, bloodshed and murder are commonplace.”

I really thought from the blurb on the back
David is a novel suitable for those unafraid of mentions of sex, politics, and artistic inclinations!

Renaissance Italy, Florence to be precise - this is the world that the reader steps into within the pages of David, sitting on the shoulder of beautiful-yet-naive Gabriele as he makes his way from his childhood village home to his milk-brother's city hearth. Throw into this coming of age/boy meets world tale the fact that Gabriele's milk-brother is none other than the famed sculptor of the statu
As a young adult, when fridge magnets were in I bought a David set for my friends. You could dress him up in different outfits including an Elvis one. My parents visited Florence at some point and were also blown away and finally about five years ago, I finally got to go to Florence myself. After announcing to the Frog that I could live solely on Italian food FOREVER, I arrived and discovered I couldn’t eat the damn stuff for love or money. Still, the little monster growing inside of me didn’t a ...more
Gabrielle Prendergast
I’ve always had a thing for Michaelangelo’s David and once toyed with the idea of writing something about him myself. So when I saw this on the shelf at the library I picked it up knowing nothing about it. Well I was delighted. This is another book that would do well by being included on lists of “New Adult”. Gabriel, the protagonist and narrator is eighteen years old and trying to make his way in the world away from his family for the first time. The fact that he is the (fictional) milk-brother ...more
Everything that has to do with art or the history of it, I want to read.

Gabriel was a great character. He was naïve, did not always do what was right, thought 90% of women, but was very caring and seriously in to deep. I liked Michelangelo, but I would loved if there was more telling of him. The funny part, where I actually shook my head, was when Leonardo Da Vinci entered the story. His character was described as he was the gay guy from Modern Family, hilarious & kind of weird to think of L
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The Young Adult H...: David by Mary Hoffman - October Group Read 11 40 Nov 17, 2012 05:40AM  
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Mary Hoffman is a bestselling British author and reviewer, born in 1945. She is a true enthusiast of Italy and spends a lot of her time there, which shows in her Stravaganza novels: a series currently in publication. In total, she has written over 80 books, including the aforementioned Stravaganza series and the bestselling picture book, Amazing Grace. Mary is also the editor of a review magazine ...more
More about Mary Hoffman...
City of Masks (Stravaganza, #1) Amazing Grace City of Stars (Stravaganza, #2) City of Flowers (Stravaganza, #3) City of Secrets (Stravaganza, #4)

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“How can you tell when a piece is finished?'I asked.

'You can't,' he said flatly. 'All you can tell is when you can't do any more to it. And then you need to stop because if you don't, you will spoil it.”
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