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The Competition

(Da Vinci's Disciples #2)

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  90 ratings  ·  25 reviews
A Historical Novel Society Editor's Choice

In a studiolo behind a church, six women gather to perform an act that is, at once, restorative, powerful, and illegal: they paint.
Under the tutelage of Leonardo da Vinci, these six show talent and drive equal to that of any man, but in Renaissance Florence, they must hide their skills, or risk the scorn of the church, the city,
Paperback, 268 pages
Published April 25th 2017 by Diversion Publishing
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Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
Jun 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2017
I have had some time thinking about the book before I wrote this review and I think although it's a good book, would I have preferred to have read the previous book first. Now, I don't mean that it was hard to get into the story in this book, it's more like the mentioning of events from the first book made me curious about that book, to get the past stories behind all the characters. And, reading the first book would have made it easier to understand the characters, instead of learning during th ...more
BAM The Bibliomaniac
A big thank you to Diversion Books, Donna Ruson Morin, and Netgalley for the free copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.
Book two in the da Vinci's Disciples series, Ruson Morin continues to find inspiration in the historical events of Renaissance Florence to tell the story of her female artists. This book, however, does not revolve around one particular event like the first did, and therefore seems to float rootless, more fiction than history. Instead we learn a little about fresc
Meg - A Bookish Affair
May 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
"The Competition" is the second book in Donna Russo Morin's Da Vinci's Disciples series. In this book, the women of the first book are back and have been continuing to work and hone their skills under master painter Leonardo Da Vinci. Florence is a buzz with a competition to paint a fresco in the famous Santo Spirito. The women know that this could be their chance to be accepted by other artists and to finally break into the art world, which is a man's world. This is a great follow on to the fir ...more
Apr 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A great sequel to a great first book. I'm completely in this time period and with these finely drawn characters. I'll be rereading this one and the one that comes before, PORTRAIT OF A CONSPIRACY, again and again, until the third comes out. A must-read-trilogy for sure.
Maritina Mela
Jul 24, 2019 rated it it was ok

The story of this book takes place 5 years after the events of Portrait of a Conspiracy.
Here, we see the women we met in the 1st book trying to prove themselves to the close minded people of Florence, who believe that women have no right at creating art.
To do that, they take upon themselves the difficult task of painting a fresco in the church of Santo Spirit. In order to accomplish that, they have to charm their way through Lorenzo De Medici who gives them his consent but makes a lot of pe
Michelle Miller (True Book Addict)
This book comes at a time, even more so than the first book Portrait of a Conspiracy, when the triumph of the female spirit needs to be heard. Women have made so much progress in the world (in my country, the U.S.), but recently, we have begun to feel subjugated once more. The very real progress women have made seems to be reverting back, or stagnating. It is stories such as this that can work to inspire women that the fight for equality is well worth it.

I always enjoy Russo Morin's books. She r
Alyssa Palombo
Mar 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Another fine installment in a great series from Donna Russo Morin. I love the way she weaves in actual historical figures with her fictional cast of characters and their doings. The historical backdrop was great, including just enough of the politics of the era, and I loved the detail about various types of painting techniques as well. The book ended on a great note, letting us know what to expect in the next book of the series (and if Savanarola is involved, I can bet it won't be pretty!). Exci ...more
Mar 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A perfect follow-up to the first book, Portrait of a Conspiracy. Not as much political upheaval as in the first, but this time we really get to know the women, get to delve deeper into their fascinating lives, including da Vinci's. I couldn't put it down.
Mar 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Set in the 15th century Florence, during the rule of Lorenzo de Medici, the greatest patron of Renaissance art. Book II starts after the assassination of his brother Giuliano.

The story brings a lesser known subject of women who call themselves Da Vinci’s Disciples. They are women artists under the tutelage of Leonardo da Vinci. They are forced to develop their skills in hiding as women were not allowed to be artists at the time. But they feel that the time has come for women to paint openly and
Angel Hatfield
Dec 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
In this time women could draw at home but not be an artist that was for a man to do. These women had to develop their talent in hiding as women were not allowed to be artists. Women were supposed to have children and run their homes. These women were learning to be better artists with Leonardo Da Vinci as their mentor. The women were hoping this time would be there chance to be recognized by other artists. Viviana is an artist who belongs to a group called The Disciples Of Da Vinci. Viviana, Is ...more
Naomi Wilson
Jun 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"Of course we are afraid. But fear is but a spark to light great fires."

I'm a huge fan of historical fiction and The Competition DID NOT disappoint. This is a beautifully written book about a group of talented female artists in Renaissance Florence, tutored by Da Vinci. During a time when its unheard of and dangerous for women to practice their art professionally they decide to submit a bid for the right to paint a fresco in a church. What follows is there struggle to accomplish what no other wo
Cheryl Malandrinos
Sep 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
While The Competition is a stand-alone novel, I would highly suggest reading the first book in the series so you have a solid background of who these women are and how Da Vinci's Disciples was formed. With this second book in the series, Morin has certainly hit her stride. Now that the foundation has been laid, her talented pen can dig deeper into the lives of Viviana, Isabetta, Fiammetta, Mattea and the other members. The reader watches their roles within the group become more defined and the r ...more
Jul 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Donna Russia Morin is simply a “maestro” of historical fiction, in particular regarding to Italy, art, and “the Masters.” I loved this tale, another revolving around DaVinci, Lorenzo de Medici, the growing family of DaVinci’s Disciples. To see the rise of what we now call “feminism” in this novel is so heartening. Morin has such a knack for her words, her historical accuracy, suspense, romance, and the beautiful art of Florence.

Definitely recommend this novel, this series, and more of Morin’s c
David Redwood
Jul 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
After "Portrait of a conspiracy"really looked forward to this book and I was not disappointed.
Sorry when I got to the end. Donna Morin really took me into 15 century Florence.
Jul 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Competition is the second book in the Da Vinci's Disciples Series by Donna Russo Morin. I have read the first book and highly recommend doing that first, even though this one could work as a stand alone it's nice to understand references to previous events. I got to know who these women, their past and present situations which I feel enhanced my reading of this book.

One of the things I loved about The Competition is how it was steeped in time. With vivid descriptions of Florence, the cultur
Mar 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Unique plot from the first but equally as well written, compelling, intriguing, and satisfying. Highly recommended.
May 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed the first book in Ms. Russo’s Da Vinci Disciples series so I was very much looking forward to this follow up volume. I wasn’t disappointed. It follows the group of women artists formed in the first book as they strengthen their bonds and actually go forth and bid on an art project in Florence. This might not sound so controversial to today’s world but in the time period of the Renaissance it was downright revolutionary. Women were supposed to stay home, produce babies and ru ...more
Nov 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Unlike the first book in the series, PORTRAIT OF A CONSPIRACY (which I adored), this installment brings you up close and personal into the lives of the women who are Da Vinci's Disciples. Definitely relatable to today...woman daring to do what they are 'told' they cannot. I really felt like I became a friend of these women, and da Vinci too, in this really well-written book.
Kate Eminhizer
Dec 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
A very compelling tale of determination, courage and passion. The historical details are magnificent. The characters in this second book really come into their own much more than in the first installment of the series.
nikkia neil
Apr 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, art
Thanks Diversion Books and netgalley for this ARC

This is one of my favorite series set in the Renaissance! Strong unapologetic women artists who don't back down from a challenge, and expand of knowledge and minds with each novel. Will make you want to do more, shout from the rooftops, and research the period for more inspiration.
Oct 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Second episode in the Da Vinci’s Disciples series.
Although I liked the idea of the women competing for the commission to paint a frescoes cycle and the reaction of the male artists I found the idea that hundreds of people would protest for over half a year a bit over the top.

Furthermore this episode lacked a real plot so the storyline went far and wide.

Hope the next and last episode will have a better plot.
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Donna Russo Morin is the award winning of author of historical fiction. A graduate of the University of Rhode Island, she lives near the ocean, her greatest muse. Her two sons, Devon and Dylan--an opera singer and chef--are still her greatest works in progress.

Donna enjoys meeting with book groups in person and via Skype chat. Visit her website at;
friend her on Facebook at

Other books in the series

Da Vinci's Disciples (3 books)
  • Portrait of a Conspiracy (Da Vinci's Disciples #1)
  • The Flames Of Florence (Da Vinci's Disciples #3)

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