Book Review: The Florentine Emerald

Title: The Florentine Emeraldcover23548-medium
Author: Agustín Bernaldo Palatchi
ISBN: 9781453264126
Source: Advance copy from publisher via NetGalley
Release Date: December 18, 2012
Rating: 3 out of 5

Synopsis: Cardona Castle, 1478. A condemned man reveals the secret of his concealed Jewish ancestry to his son, and tells him of a priceless ring that has been in the family’s possession for centuries. After his father’s execution, Mauricio is forced to flee Barcelona and travel to Florence in the hope of selling the ring. In the city of the arts he meets some extraordinary characters—including Lorenzo de Medici, Marsilio Ficino, Pico della Mirandola, and Leonardo de Vinci—but nobody will make affect him as strongly as Lorena Ginori, a young woman who has been condemned to marry a man who disgusts her. Clouded in danger, conspiracies, plagues, and invasions, when the city comes under the wing of a visionary monk, everything seems poised to go up in smoke. And just as Florence must look to the past to find the key to the future, Mauricio and Lorena must journey through the hidden roots of their family trees to discover the truth about themselves in this enthralling journey through time.

My Review:

I wanted to read this book for its setting – the Renaissance era Florence, its landscape, beauty, and the life of the common man. We go along with Mauricio and Lorena on their journey through life as they face tragedies and triumphs – their life in Florence and their interaction with the Medicis.

Maybe it is the translation or the writing itself but I couldn’t feel any emotion in the story. The protagonists couldn’t make themselves endearing to me and I couldn’t rejoice or feel sad with their experiences. It is a slow brewing plot and though it could have been a great book, I felt it was rather flat for my taste.  The content and context are rather exciting but not really my cup of tea. Even though I knew it is fiction, I couldn’t really come to accept the interaction of the protagonist with legendary characters like Da Vinci and Columbus.

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