I have no idea why, but I was bored to tears with this. This is normally the kind of book I like - I really enjoyed In the Company of the Courtesan - but it just never caught me. Frankly, if I had to read the term "sodomy" one more time, I was just going to give up.
The story follows Alessandra, the youngest child of a wealthy fabric dealer in Medici-Florence as she stubbornly demands the freedom to paint and pursue arts and literature. This makes for a very 'unmarryable' woman back in those days, and her parents, with some help, quickly find a man 3 times her age to marry.
Not based on love, the marriage would be viewed as a travesty under today's lens, however Alessandra gained the freedom to pursue her interests without restraint.
All of this takes place on the backdrop of the end of the Medici-era with a revolution by Puritan/fundamental religious leaders, persecution of heretics, the wealthy and most importantly, sodomites. Torture, STDs, and the plague afflict the Florentines.
Blah. I was much more interested in the background than in the main characters. Would have loved the story of Erila, Alessandra's black slave, infinitely more than Alessandra's pseudo-love rectangle with her husband, brother and the painter living in her father's house.
The scenery and background were the redeeming qualities in this one for me, while the characters remaiend lackluster.