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I know a book is good when I start reading it really slowly so it takes as long as possible, and when I have finished it, I don’t grab another one within minutes. This is a good, very good, excellent book indeed! Read it!
I couldn't put this down, it was a brilliant read from start to finish. I had already read Stephanie's previous novel, which was excellent, but this novel was even better. The links that take you to the paintings that are in that part of the story you are reading inspired ! I found it made the reading experience more complete. Just absolutely superb
This book is a novel containing the most breath-taking colour photographs by Raphael, whilst simultaneously providing the reader with historical facts. It’s equally light hearted and serious and, without doubt, leaves the reader wanting to know more about 15th and 16th century Italian artists. One of the best novels I’ve read in a long time.
This is the story of Raphael, the painter, who is called to Rome by Pope Julius II to paint the walls of his personal chambers with Frescos. The time coincides with Michelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel. Raphael seems to be envious of him and is annoyed that a sculptor is being allowed to paint the ceiling when he should be working in marble and leave the art of fresco to artists like himself. One of the wonderful things about this book is that I continually checked the internet to view both Raphael and Michelangelo's works. I learned so much about the age in Rome around the early 1500's. I loved the storyline, the easy prose and descriptive scenes so much that I have put another of the author's books on my wish list, which I hope I savour as much as this one.
This is a delightful book from start to finish. The Kindle version allows readers to cross reference the paintings/historical information and realize how well the author has blended facts into the fiction. I learned a lot and especially enjoyed how the characters were depicted, and their dialogue.
I loved the fresh and unusual style of storytelling in this entertaining and educational story about one of the greatest painters of the Renaissance. I had the feeling I was there, having a chat with the artist himself. Very good read; could not put it down.
This is a book I loved sinking into every night--author Stephanie Storey transports you to sixteenth-century Rome and immerses you among the greatest painters in history. The painter Raphael narrates his own story in an intimate, irresistible voice, and the prose itself is so lovely and vividly evocative it made me stop and reread some lines a few times--wolves with eyes "yellow as yolk"..."Her lips parted. (They're full and pink and tempting as peach meat"... "You want patrons to believe that masterpieces flow from your fingers easy as wine down a fat friend's gullet"... "Rumors flew fast as feet." Raphael speaks as he paints, in beautiful, tangibly sensory images, and it brings the setting to and character to three-dimensional, vibrant life.
An art historian, Storey has provided links to every painting and sculpture and mosaic described, which added a lot to the reading experience--I loved going to see the actual paintings and sculptures after “seeing” them created in the book.
A gorgeous novel I lost myself in for a week. That's a rare pleasure in a book.
About reviews (in Raphael’s case, of his finished painting of the Sistine Chapel ceilings), he says, “If you want an opinion about my work, ask others, not me…per favore.” Well, in my opinion, Raphael is a 5-star read. “When you put a painting out into the world, you have no control over how it’s received, do you? asks Raphael. Like writing, I say. How will it be received? I love this book! I love the first-person narrative in the voice of Raphael Santi. It’s clearly his story after all. I agree with a reviewer who calls the writing “gorgeous,” the settings “rich,” and the plot “riveting.” After the first pages that seem more informational, Raphael’s voice takes over, and I looked forward to listening to him. Raphael is obsessed with besting his brilliant rival Michelangelo. Storey’s portrait of this artist as an OCD sufferer is so contemporary in this novel. Novel, I repeat for some reviewers who want a biography. It’s historical fiction, emphasis on fiction but based on extensive research. I also liked how he occasionally used social media-speak: “Beh, I didn’t have to worry about such things…,” meaning “whatever.” And I enjoyed Raphael’s asides to readers. He didn’t use “Dear Reader,” that was sometimes used in novels in another century, but I felt as a reader I was dear, meaning I was allowed into what he was thinking or about to do. I remember once when I thought he shouldn’t go on explaining, he realized readers might think that and so broke in with a brief aside about why he was going on—and I got it and felt privileged, meaning included. Storey’s knowledge of art history is 5 star—and oh, for her to transform from that way of looking to fiction, my, the stars are a-glazing.