Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Creation Of Eve by Lynn Cullen

Synopsis From Back Cover:

The Creation of Eve is a novel based on the true but little-known story of Sofonisba Anguissola, the first renowned female artist of the Renaissance.  After a scandal in Michelangelo's workshop, Sofi flees Italy and joins the Spanish court of King Felipe II to be a lady-in-waiting to his young bride.  There she becomes embroiled in a love triangle involving the Queen, the King, and the King's illegitimate half brother, Don Juan.  The Creation of Eve combines art, romance, and history from the Golden Age in Spain in a story that asks the question: Can you ever truly know another person's heart?

I'm still trying to figure out how much of this book I enjoyed and how much of it just wasn't for me.  On the one hand we are presented with a fantastic character in Sofi.  A woman, with the support of her family, pursues her passion of art.  Her father pushes her and supports her to the point of getting the attention of Michaelangelo himself.  She is constantly trying to prove herself in a world dominated by men.  Through her own actions she is forced into a situation where she is bound to serve the King of Spain as an attendant to his new bride.

Now if the book would have stayed with her story at this point I would have enjoyed the book more, as it was it seemed she was the tool used to tell the story of King Felipe, Queen Elisabeth, and Don Juan.  That everything Sofi did or said, even about her own life, was to illustrate a point abou the lifes of those she was obliged to serve. 

What I was wanting, was more of Sofi's story.  More about her childhood and the reactions of her community to what she was doing and how far her father was willing to go to help her.  I wanted more details about the art aspect of her life, about her process and actual works.  I wanted to know more about her life after she left the service of the royal family, I know it's talked about in the afterword, but imagine how much better it would have been to have her entire life fleshed out in prose.  Essentialy, I wanted more of Sofi and less of everyone else.

With that being said I enjoyed the author's writing style and her way she was able to bring every scene to life in my mind.  It's obvious she did some serious researching and while quite a bit of the personal stuff may have been made up, whe was able to put in enough "reality" that the rest of it was still believable.  I found myself being dissapointed in the book anyway. Now this could simply be the fact that I'm not familiar with that much historical fiction, as this is really the first non mystery historical I've really read.  It could be that maybe this genre really isn't for me.  I don't know but I'm willing to read more to see if it could be. 

For more on the author please visit her website, lynncullen.com.

I was give the opportunity to read, review this book by Trish of  TLC Book Tours.

You Can Read More Reviews Here:

Wednesday, March 3rd: Scandalous Women

Thursday, March 4th: Café of Dreams

Monday, March 8th: Books and Movies

Tuesday, March 9th: Booking Mama

Thursday, March 11th: Peeking Between the Pages

Monday, March 15th: Fyrefly’s Book Blog

Tuesday, March 16th: The Tome Traveller

Wednesday, March 17th: Educating Petunia

Thursday, March 18th: English Major’s Junk Food

Monday, March 22nd: A Few More Pages

Tuesday, March 23rd: Devourer of Books

Wednesday, March 24th: Wordsmithonia

Thursday, March 25th: A Bookshelf Monstrosity

Monday, March 29th: Katie’s Nesting Spot

Tuesday, March 30th: Dolce Bellezza

Wednesday, March 31st: Raging Bibliomania

Friday, April 2nd: Thoughts From an Evil Overlord


A Bookshelf Monstrosity said...

More of Sofi, and less of everyone else. That's a good way of putting it!

Krista said...

Not so sure this book would be for me but thank you for the honest review.

Jen - Devourer of Books said...

I know you know this, since we talked about it on Twitter the other night, but I totally agree with you. Don't give up on historical fiction, this was a well-written book but certainly not my favorite example of historical fiction. Hit me up for recommendations sometime if you'd like.

trish said...

I think it's fair that you wanted more of Sofi! I think that would be an interesting question to ask the author, why she went one way when she could have gone another.

Thanks for being on this tour!

Lynn Cullen said...

To me, the book was about desire and fulfillment, and how desire (not just sexual, but longing for success, contentment, and finding one's true self)shapes the course of one's life. My aim was to follow Sofi, as well as the Queen and the King and the other key players, as they pursued their desires--and how their longings hurt or helped them. I'm fascinated by how we humans are so full of longing. Sometimes it seems like we are just seething masses of yearning! But I take it as a good sign that you wanted to see more Sofi. It makes an author happy to see that a reader was invested enough in a character that they wanted more.

Thanks very much for giving my book so much thought.

Anonymous said...

Insightful review, Ryan. And how nice of Ms. Cullen to drop by and comment.

I'm still very much interested in the book anyway.

Heidenkind said...

Hmm, I'll have to read it and see how that plays out.

Ceri said...

Ooh, this sounds like an interesting one but I can see what you mean about wanting to learn more about the character. Sometimes the author seems to forget that we're interested in the protagonist, not necessarily the 'grander' characters. I might still put it on my wishlist though. For some reason, when I read the title I thought it was a Christian fiction read. I'm pleasantly surprised it's not. :D

Ceri said...

I tagged you in a meme on my blog, btw. :)

Michelle Stockard Miller said...

I've had my eye on this one. I so love historical novels! I will be picking it up eventually.

Great review!

Jackie said...

I'm becoming a bigger fan these days of historical fiction. Then again, I love googling to separate fact from fiction....I'm a geek that way :-)

Thanks for the review. I'm currently reading a book that features King "Phillip" (diff. spelling, but I'm sure it's the same person), Don Juan and Queen Elisabeth, too, though they are lesser characters. It would be interesting to compare the two books.

Heidenkind said...

I have to agree with you 100%, and you make me glad I stopped reading it. :P