Tina's Reviews > Leonardo's Swans

Leonardo's Swans by Karen Essex
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Jun 24, 08

Read in June, 2008

I'm on the fence about this book. Let's start with what I did like about it.
I loved the detailed descriptions of Leonardo da Vinci, his demeanor, his painting process, and his artwork. There were many quotations supposedly taken directly from his writings throughout the book and I loved that. He was my favorite character in the book.
I liked the way the relationship between the two sisters was portrayed, as intricate and complex- making it feel very real. They are frequently jealous and manipulative towards each other but eventually their mutual respect and love for each other enables them to reconcile and work together towards common goals. As the oldest of four sisters, I see this pattern occur frequently in my life. The two sisters in the book are flawed and make bad, selfish choices, but have good qualities too that keep the reader rooting for both of them throughout the story.
I also liked that the author took actual people in history and created characters from them, showing their possible thoughts and feelings during the historical experiences.

The main thing that I didn't like, and that practically ruined the book for me- was the tense that the author chose to write in. She used the present tense, but then frequently switched back to past tense to talk about events that had occured as recently as minutes ago or as long ago as a few months or years. My linear brain got very confused and I found myself getting distracted from the story. Because I couldn't keep track of the time frame very easily, this book started feeling like a chore to read. I truely couldn't wait for it to be over. And I felt like the ending was very abrupt and unsettling.

I'm still not sure how I feel about this book. Did I like it? Did I dislike it? Yes and yes.
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