My Review of The Creation of Eve by Lynn Cullen:
The novel tells the story of Sofonisba Anguissola, a female artist in the time of the Renaissance. The book begins as she is studying under the tutelage of Michelangelo and falling in love with Tiberio. That love affair does not go well, and she finds herself in the court of the Spanish Court as painting instructor to the new Queen, swallowed by the complexities of royal life.
The author does know her history and writes of a thriving 16th century world, detailed and fully realised. Where the book stumbles is in the deeper portrayal of emotion. For a novel laced with themes of love and passion, I found the style curiously detached, even superficial, at times. I often found it difficult to connect to certain characters and wondered at the validity of their actions. I also found modern sensibilities were creeping in around the edges.
As an amateur painter, I’m somewhat familiar with the creation of art, so I enjoyed the historic art references in the book, but I found Sofonisba’s involvement with her painting lacking in expressive connection; it was all technique and little enthusiasm.
The Creation of Eve could have benefitted from a deeper tone and a richer vibrancy; it is elegant history sprinkled with some muted, underlying sentiments. Still, the book is agreeable to read and the character of Sofonisba is interesting enough to keep you reading. It is a reasonably appealing, frothy novel.
The Creation of Eve is available through bookstores and online retailers.
Note: The copy of this book I read for review was obtained free of charge though the Library Thing Member Giveaway; it was an uncorrected proof.