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The Creation of Eve

3.69  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,537 Ratings  ·  208 Reviews
"Enormously satisfying...I'm grateful to Cullen for the pleasures of such a splendid read." -Sara Gruen, New York Times bestselling author of Water for Elephants.

In 1559, a young woman painter flees a scandal involving one of Michelangelo's students, and is taken to the Spanish court, where she becomes the young queen's confidante and lady-in-waiting. Through her keenly
Paperback, 480 pages
Published February 1st 2011 by Berkley (first published January 1st 2010)
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May 20, 2010 Jamie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Entertaining to read. I loved reading about the Spanish court. I thought the convergance of issues -- the protestant reformation, the inquisition, the morality of the court, the complexity of the relationship were all very interesting to read.

My main problem was this -- I know that in historical fiction liberties are taken -- but I took exception with the one main liberty that the author uses as the central point to the whole plot-- and it is in the first 20 pages of the book -- that Sofi -- th
Feb 17, 2010 Epeeblade rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, read_in_2010
This book had plenty of elements that I should have liked - a Renaissance setting, a female painter in a time when it was a rarity, the intrigues of a royal court. Instead, I found myself more and more frustrated with this book.

I never really warmed up to the character of Sofonisba. In the beginning when she muses on the lot of women made her just a touch too self-aware and too 20th century for me. And then for a supposedly clever woman she just doesn't act very intelligently.

Overall the plot ar
Sofonisba Anguissola was one of the first great female painters of the Renaissance, and a truly fascinating woman, so I was immediately interested when I came upon this book, which tells of Sofonisba's time in the court of King Philip II of Spain. However, although it's evident that Lynn Cullen has researched the people and the period extensively, her story failed to capture me. I found it difficult to develop a lot of attachment to the characters, most of whom were very one-note, and quickly ti ...more
Jun 02, 2009 Mere rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone!
I LOVE this book. It will be published in March 2010 and I wish it was sooner so everyone could read it now! What a rich world Lynn Cullen creates, and she draws you in from page one. A beautifully written historical novel about Sofonisba Anguissola, a female painter in the Spanish court of Phillip II, it is truly a delight to read! I wouldn't consider myself a fan of historical ficion (I haven't read that much in the genre), but I think this story transcends the genre. I couldn't put it down. L ...more
Gail Cooke
Mar 23, 2010 Gail Cooke rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There is little reading more intriguing than well done historical fiction. Lynn Cullen raises this genre to new heights with her intriguing, richly visualized THE CREATION OF EVE. Based on the life of the first woman painter to achieve any degree of recognition during the Renaissance, Sofonisba Anguissola, the author transports us to the 16th century courts of Spain and France, each alive with rankling jealousies, harbored dreams, and clever machinations.

As a child of 7 Sofonisba was inspired by
Kelly Hager
May 08, 2010 Kelly Hager rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This reminded me a lot of The Other Boleyn Girl, except I actually ended up liking this better. (High praise indeed, because I LOVED TOBG.)

Sofi is sent to the Spanish King's court to be a lady-in-waiting for his new wife after a little indiscretion. Sofi (actually a real person) was a painter of some renown; she trained under Michelangelo (which ended up being maybe not so great, since this was the time he was considered a heretic and also discovered to be gay).

There's a love story and a lot of
May 28, 2013 LeAnne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating story with some of my favorite things to read about--history, art, and court life--all rolled up into one. I want to read more by Lynn Cullen!
Aug 14, 2013 Abby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book. I loved learning about Sofonisba Anguissola. I looked up a lot of details about the Spanish court while reading and it seems that the author did stay pretty true to history while writing, which is something I love in a historical fiction novel.

These are the reasons that I didn't give this book five stars:

***spoiler alert***

1. Sofi spends almost every waking moment with the Queen, yet there is never any real friendship between the two of them. I find it impossible to bel
Jana Gueck
Jul 14, 2013 Jana Gueck rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
This is the one time in my life where I picked a book because of it's cover and it was exactly what I wanted it to be. Ok, it wasn't the cover itself, but scrawled across it was "Enormously Satisfying" - Sara Gruen, author of Water for Elephants. Sold. I loved Water for Elephants.

Sofonisba "Sofi" Anguissola is a student of Michelangelo when she falls in love with Tibero, her fellow student. After they are caught alone together, Sofi runs home, hoping that he will send for her. Instead, the King
Jennifer Rayment
Good Stuff

* Historically accurate and very rich in detail
* Intriguing characters
* Very well researched and the author obviously has a passion for these historical characters and their time period
* Interesting notes at the beginning of each chapter
* wonderful understanding and description of a woman's place in this era of history
* Lots of court intrigue
* The Author's note at the end of the book

Not So Good Stuff

* Storyline dragged and was a little dry at times
* Not very passionate and fie
Dec 22, 2009 Darcy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Darcy by: Friend
Really enjoyed this book.

Isn't there something about historical fiction that really allows for fascinating character development and draws you into the story? The story is real, but the author has the freedom to explore controversial events and persona. The Creation of Eve (CE) was just that sort of captivating book. We have traveled various parts of Europe on family vacations with the typical American fascination with the whole concept of kings, queens and other historical persons. CE fed that
Suzanne Kittrell
I was kind of excited about this book for it deals with one of the first female Renaissance artists and her story. She apprencticed in real life under Michelanglo (sic) but went to the Spanish Royal Court in the 1580s to be a painting instructor to the then teenage Queen. This novel turned out to be too much about the Spanish Court and all the intrigues that happen therein. There was not enough about the woman artist though it must be acknowledged there is so little known about her and her work ...more
Jan 27, 2010 Melissa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
Another 3 1/2 stars rating.

This book follows the barely known real life story of Sofonisba Anguissola one of the first well known female artists of the renaissance. It was filled with rich history and intrigue, but in all honesty wasn't really my type of read. In all honesty the whole time i was reading it i was thinking that a relative of mine is going to adore this book. She has shelves and shelves of books that are very similar to it.

So anyone who loves the classics, art, and history this bo
Ryan G
I'm still trying to figure out how much of this book I enjoyed and how much of it just wasn't for me. On the one hand we are presented with a fantastic character in Sofi. A woman, with the support of her family, pursues her passion of art. Her father pushes her and supports her to the point of getting the attention of Michaelangelo himself. She is constantly trying to prove herself in a world dominated by men. Through her own actions she is forced into a situation where she is bound to serve the ...more
Mar 18, 2013 Mary marked it as to-read
Well-written historical fiction is always a pleasure, but when it reveals to us an unfamiliar chapter in history it rises to a higher level. In this wonderfully rich and page-turning novel, the author introduces us to Sofonisba Anguissola, a 16th-century Italian woman who was one of the most highly regarded portrait painters of her time. Lynn cullen pays particular attention to the years Anguissola spent as instructor and lady-in-waiting to the Spanish queen Elisabeth de Valois. Excellent fun.
Apr 10, 2015 Jordan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Find this review on Forever Lost in Literature!

This was one of those unexpected books that I stumbled upon and ended up being extremely pleasantly surprised! The Creation of Eve basically follows the adult life of Sofonisba Anguissola, the first renowned female painter from the Renaissance. She works as a student of Michelangelo before being shipped to act as a painting teacher for Queen Elisabeth, the young and recently married wife of King Felipe II of Spain. This then follows Sofonisba's expe
Jun 05, 2016 Mia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting story. I was not completely pulled into story, but I was fascinated by the painting information that we were given. I usually read Tudor historical fiction, so I though might be a nice change. Mostly, I was kind of bored because Elizabeth made stupid decisions and the three caballeros were irritating. Sofi just wants to paint! I wanted to shout leave her alone!!! Maybe my unfamiliarity with the Spanish court influenced me, but I was okay with the book not in love. Also, I know t ...more
Oct 26, 2015 Olga rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Oh, sad. So disappointed.
I expected to love this author and this book: art,. Renaissance, feminism, Michelangelo, Italy, Spain... Based on a true story. Just my cup of tea. But... the author has chosen a soap opera rather than a deep historical fiction novel. But even the soap was not dynamic. The characters (all real folks)had inspired the likes of Schiller and Verdi (Don Carlos) but were pale ghosts in this novel.
The leading lady had an amazing long life in 16th century, one of the very few w
Oct 04, 2010 Aj rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really loved this book. I found it very difficult to put down. It is about the life of talented female painter during the Renaissance period. The novel is beautiful woven with many themes such as court intrigue, the Inquisition, Michelangelo, discoveries from the new world and much more.
Stephanie Lee
Jun 16, 2013 Stephanie Lee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love the development of the characters so far! This books allows you to get into the heads and hearts of the main characters and you feel how they feel. I recommend this, it is a quick read and great for lovers of historical fiction.
May 25, 2014 Rebecca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I actually picked this book up for a $1 at the Dollar Tree and was amazed and how well written it was. I had never heard of the female artist who tells the story but it turns out she is one of the most popular of the Renaissance. She actually studied with Michelangelo as before she went to the Spanish court to be a lady in waiting and art instructor to the queen. This is an time of history that I don' know much about so I can't speak to it's authenticity. I can say that I think my daughter who ...more
Craig Masten
The Creation of Eve is about as good a combination of excellently researched history and biography of its times enriched by a novelist's fine skills in weaving believable fictional imaginings which stray as little as possible from known facts. Excellent book filled with engaging details of life in Renaissance Italy. Although the book's main character and narrator is perhaps the first major known female artist, Sofinisba Anguissola, I learned much more about about the intrigue and mores of a roya ...more
Jul 04, 2013 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting story of a historical figure often lost in the accounts of the era. Very readable and engaging.
Jan 21, 2016 Eleanor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sofonisba, anguissola
I really enjoyed this book. The references to painting techniques were so interesting to me. The total male domination of women back then and how some women worked around it or learned to live with it never ceases to amaze me and encourage me in this day and age. I looked up Sofonisba's paintings and really appreciate her art and skill at portraiture. I didn't quite understand the end, but it really didn't matter.
I loved the quote from William of Ockham: "All things being equal, the simplest so
Mar 03, 2016 Courts rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 4-stars
An interesting, nuanced read, Lynn Cullen's daring novel "The Creation of Eve" takes on an exciting period of talented but lesser known painter Sofonisba Anguissola's life. A female apprentice to Michelangelo when there were very, very few female painters, a personal reason causes Sofonisba to take a position as a lady in waiting and personal painting teacher to the barely teenaged new Queen of Spain, Elisabeth of Valois.

With the background of the Spanish Inquisition, the reader is transported t
Sep 03, 2015 Jennie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have a strong affinity for historical fiction, and this book drew me in. Time permitting, I could have finished it in one sitting. It was fascinating to me to learn about this female painter, Sofonisba Anguissola, who apprenticed under Michelangelo and went on to become a lady in waiting for Queen Elisabeth of Spain. Author Lynn Cullen acknowledges that many historical gaps have been filled in by her own novelist imagination, but she does a wonderful job of bringing this story to life. I enjoy ...more
The world building and story in this book is lush and suspenseful. One literally seems to experience the hot sun of Spain, the dark opulence of the Spanish royal court, and the fear prevalent in everything due to the Inquisition. The author’s research into the time period shows abundantly as she gives the readers an intimate look at this fascinating time. The political intrigue of the royal court and the dangers our characters had to navigate through also me spellbound.

The author does a fantasti

I had such high expectations for this book, and that might be why I’m so disappointed in it. I felt like nothing happened to the main character. She had so much potential to make history as a wonderful female painter, but instead had to go to Spain. While there, the focus of the story switched completely to Elisabeth and the other Spanish royals around her, making Sofi a secondary character. The only thing going for her was her potential romance with Tiberio coming back into play, b
Thank you Goodreads--a First Reads Win!

I was totally absorbed by this well-researched historic novel, not only for the intriguing story, but because I cared about Sofonisba, the protagonist and the first female painter to rise to prominence in the Italian Renaissance—she came alive on the page. Cullen totally immerses the reader into the strange and exotic world of 16th century Spanish court life. Not only does she tell a compelling story, but she separates fact from fiction in her notes at the
Aug 24, 2010 Carey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Will I ever understand the workings of the human heart? Will I ever know why we so often love those whom we cannot possess, and why we do not cherish those whose love we do possess? We are as thistledown twitching and turning in the current, captives to feelings we cannot control. How are we to understand those persons who mean the most to us when we cannot truly understand our own blind and hapless selves?"

Lynn Cullen's novel, The Creation of Eve, tells the story of Sofonisba Anguissola, the
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“Every heart, it have its own ache.” 8 likes
“In painting, three things must be considered - the position of the viewer, the position of the object viewed, and the position of the light that illuminates the object.” 1 likes
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