David – Mary Hoffman
Release Date: 4th July 2011
Other Titles by this Author: City of Masks, City of Stars, City of Flowers, City of Secrets, City of Ships, The Falconer’s Knot, Troubadour
Florence, March 1501
The first thing I knew about life in the city was a knife at my throat and three ruffians at my back...
When Gabriele arrives in Florence and finds himself penniless and alone, he has only one ace up his sleeve...the name of a renowned sculptor and the hope of work. But never in his wildest dreams did he imagine that he would become the model for one of the world’s most famous statues, Michelangelo’s David. Or that he would be sucked into the deadly and dangerous world of Florentine politics, where battle, bloodshed and murder are commonplace.
Read on for a captivating tale of art and anarchy, passion and power from the bestselling author of the Stravaganza sequence.
Historical fiction is very hit-and-miss with me, but David was most definitely a hit. I loved it!
I’ve always been a lover of art and artists so the chance to find out about the (fictionalised) person behind Michelangelo’s David, which is one of the things I have to see before I die, was a chance I couldn’t pass up. The identity of Michelangelo’s model is one of arts mysteries that will likely never be solved and that only makes Gabriele’s story all the more appealing. But this was not the only one of art’s burning questions that were answered by Mary Hoffman; she also revealed who sat for Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa! This is a painting that also falls into the ‘have to see before I die’ category and so a semi-regular appearance of the man himself in David made me a very happy reader indeed.
Gabriele himself is a naive, quiet and unassuming young man when he arrives in Florence and is shocked by the attention his God-like appearance receives from both the men and women of the city. But this soon becomes his undoing as he gets himself heavily involved in the very complicated issue of Florentine politics. I have to admit that I knew nothing about the politics of Florence in the early 1500s and so I was often quite lost and it took me a long while to get to grasps with both sides of the troubles. But once I had this sorted in my mind, it became another enthralling facet of the story.
There is one aspect of this book that I didn’t like, however, how much it made me want to go to Italy! I mean, I’ve always wanted to go, but now that Florence is so perfectly evoked in my mind, I want to go more than ever! And even the sounds of the Italian that my mind created was beautiful, and gah I want to go!
Putting my inane ramblings about my love for Italy aside, I think that David has a huge crossover appeal. It doesn’t feel distinctly like a young adult novel, which as I’ve recently realised, puts a lot of adult readers off, and I know that just by mentioning the basic plot of David my mum instantly wanted to borrow it when I’d finished.
I loved David and it’s made me want to try some more of Mary Hoffman’s books even though I’ve been hesitant in the past.
Thanks to Bloomsbury for sending me a review copy.
For my British Books Challenge 2011 and 2011 YA Historical Fiction Challenge