Reader reviews and comments on The Birth of Venus, plus links to write your own review.

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The Birth of Venus

by Sarah Dunant

The Birth of Venus
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  • First Published:
    Feb 2004, 416 pages
    Paperback:
    Dec 2004, 416 pages

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There are currently 11 reader reviews for The Birth of Venus
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Daniella (09/18/16)

Engrossed by this spectacular novel
This book had me gripped from the beginning.
Gwen Taylor (08/22/10)

Worst book ever
I felt this book is a waste of time not to mention paper. I was bored throughout and I felt that there was more personal details than anything else. I would never even wish my worst enemy to read this novel.
Alyvia (01/26/06)

Entertaining Read
The only book in Florence that I could find in English, I wasn't expecting much when I picked up this slim book. I read the book, LOVED IT, and then went around the next day in Florence, pointing out to my sister all the various different historical landmarks that were in the book. Although the discriptions drag a bit at times, the characters accurately display the love/hate relationship that many of us have with our sisters. Not something that I would give to my teenager, but very entertaining for a somewhat more mature audience.
Rickee (07/05/05)

Captivating read
As a teacher of literature, I spend most of my reading time stuck in the middle of one of the "classics," so this was a refreshing and thoroughly fun read. I read this slim volume in an afternoon and really regretted coming to the end of Alessandra's story. Although the characters are not always that dynamic and well-rounded, the story itself propels you to continue on to see how the characters' relationships finally unfold. I found Alessandra a worthy protagonist for a book about the beauty and need for art and was amused by the foil provided in her very typically medieval sister! For anyone who is looking to spend a few hours in the past with a really good story---this book fits the bill!
kssteffe (01/26/05)

I truly enjoyed this book....not something I would have chosen but my book group did and I am very happy with the choice. I would recommend to all.
Kidinabook (01/22/05)

Alright, I was absolutly captivated by this book. You felt as if by the end of the book you personally knew the main character, Alessandra. You feel like you just lived her life. Also, with the colorful backdrop of Florence during the Rennisance when art was coming alive with the passion put into it, you learn so much about the culture during that time and the view of the certain issues. The only reason that I give this book a 4 is because Dunant inserted some incredibly rough content into this book. Overall, though, I loved this book and I am keeping it in hopes that I may find the time to read it again because it was just that good.
Andrea (01/22/05)

Don’t be fooled by its bestseller status—The Birth of Venus is a waste of your time. The characters are flat and unrealistic. The historical accuracy of the novel appears quite sketchy as well. Arguably the greatest theme of the book—the aesthetic pleasure of art—is entirely unfulfilled. As Dunant attempts to describe famous renaissance works and 15th century Florence with bland and predictable language, the reader is challenged when trying to visualize the city and its art. A disappointment.
Anonymous (07/16/04)

The Birth of Venus did not disappoint me for a page-turning summer read. It gave flesh and feeling to a time and place that I'd pretty much ignored ubtil viewing the PBS special on the reign and fall of the Medici's. Sure, it's not Significant, Great Literature, but I thought she did artfully create suspense, maintain a few twists, have familiarly believable characters, painting a multi-sensory Florence, and, most importantly perhaps, leaving me wanting to investigate more...through quality historical fiction maybe, but especially also biography, art, sculpture, other non-fiction sources as well. She also left me wishing I had the indomitable spirit of Erila, but I'll have to be content with just a good share of Allessandra's curiosity ! Do you not imagine who might be suitable to play "the painter" if it were a movie?

My sole nagging concern is whether to give it to my intelligent, literary & artistic, adventurous, compassionate daughter to read, who I am sure would love it. Admittedly mature for 16 (way beyond where I was at that age, and sometimes more matter-of-fact comfortable about things than I am today), the graphic sexual scenes (self-satisfaction ones) and the discussions of sodomy, though historically and still a realty/ fact-of-life, were just a wee-bit much even for me, who's certainly read such material, but its the unexpected presence here in this otherwise historical-romance-adventure, that keeps me in a quandry as to the Young Adult appropriateness. I only fear that Dunant may have limited her audience's recommendation of an otherwise very fine book.

However, if we readers of The Birth of Venus do not feel moved to dig out our coffee-table Italian Art books, or search for an illustrated copy of Dante's immortal Divine Comedy, then it is we who lack something essential, not Sarah Dunant.
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