Book Review : Da Vinci’s Tiger by Laura Malone Elliott

November 3, 2015 Book review 8 ★★½

I was ridiculously excited to be approved for this book!  The setting of Renaissance Florence and the thoughts of all the artisty and creativity of the time just hyped me up.  Maybe too much so because sadly I didn’t fall in love with this book.

Book Review : Da Vinci’s Tiger by Laura Malone ElliottDa Vinci's Tiger by L.M. Elliott
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on November 10th 2015
Genres: Historical Fiction, YA
Pages: 304
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Buy on Amazon

Young, beautiful, and witty, Ginevra de’ Benci longs to take part in the artistic ferment of Renaissance Florence. But as the daughter of a wealthy family in a society dictated by men, she is trapped in an arranged marriage, expected to limit her creativity to domestic duties. Her poetry reveals her deepest feelings, and she aches to share her work, to meet painters and sculptors mentored by the famed Lorenzo de Medici, and to find love.

When the charismatic Venetian ambassador, Bernardo Bembo, arrives in Florence, he introduces Ginevra to a dazzling circle of patrons, artists, and philosophers—a world of thought and conversation she has yearned for. She is instantly attracted to the handsome newcomer, who admires her mind as well as her beauty. Yet Ginevra remains conflicted about his attentions. Choosing her as his Platonic muse, Bembo commissions a portrait by a young Leonardo da Vinci.

Posing for the brilliant painter inspires an intimate connection between them—one Ginevra can only begin to understand. In a rich and enthralling world of exquisite art, elaborate feasts, and exhilarating jousts, she faces many temptations to discover her voice, artistic companionship, and a love that defies categorization. In the end, she and Leonardo are caught up in a dangerous and deadly battle between powerful families.

ARC REVIEW CREATIVE Historical Young Adult

 First Line of Da Vinci’s Tiger by Laura Malone Elliott

“ I beg your pardon, I am a mountain tiger.“

My Thoughts on of Da Vinci’s Tiger by Laura Malone Elliott

So before I get in to the nitty gritty of what didn’t work for me, I have to say there were some things that I couldn’t fail but be impressed by:

  • The research was meticulous.  That came across loud and clear.
  • The setting was vividly portrayed.  How can you go wrong with Florence?  You can’t!
  • The insight into a young Leonardo da Vinci was interesting.  We all know so much about him as a famous artist, sculpture and inventor and it was cool to see what he might have been like as a young man with inspiration just flowing out of him.
  • If you like art (which I do even though I know nothing about it!), there is a lot of technical description here which I found to be pretty educational.

So what went wrong for me with Da Vinci’s Tiger?

  • The one dimensional characters, I wanted to love Ginevra.  On paper she sounds great, she is smart, loves to think things out for herself, isn’t willing to boxed in just because she is a woman.  But she stayed flat, she didn’t rise out of the book with a roar.  She was just bland.
  • I was bored.  There I’ve said it.  It’s true, I never felt emotionally involved in the book and if I didn’t love the setting so much I would have dnf’d (did not finish) in a heartbeat.

Overall I think this read more like a non-fiction book than a fiction one.  It didn’t entertain and absorb me the way I’ve come to expect when I’m reading a fictional book.  I also thought it might be like The Girl With The Pearl Earring (which I adored) but it’s not.  And I think the difference is the characters;  one books makes them come alive and one book doesn’t.


Rating Report
Did I feel it?
Overall: two-stars


Who should read Da Vinci’s Tiger by Laura Malone Elliott?

I think that if you love Art then you might want to give this one a shot.  Do be aware that I’m recommending it more for the setting that the characters and the plot.


Thanks to Edelweiss and Katherine Tegen Books for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.




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8 Responses to “Book Review : Da Vinci’s Tiger by Laura Malone Elliott”

    • trish

      I love historial fiction, this one did fall flat for me though. I must see what else is coming out that I might have more luck with!

    • trish

      The research was obviously there but when the characters flop a bit, I always find it hard to get into a book. I’ve been reading some GR reviews today and it looks like I wasn’t the only one with this issue which is a shame as it could have been epic.

    • trish

      I’m very character focused and if the characters are appealing then I can often overlook other things. But then the reverse is true too, if I find the characters dull, the book can flop. Oh well, you can’t win them all 🙂

    • trish

      I probably hyped myself up a bit too much for it. In my head it was going to be the Girl with the Pearl Earring but set in Italy. That was too high of an expectation to put on it. Oh well at least I loved the setting and the art element was interesting,

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