The Birth of Venus - Sarah Dunant Halfway through the book: I do NOT think this is a wonderful book. I am terribly disappointed. Description of Renaissence Florence is fine. I have no quibbles with that, but the plot is so foreseeable, so predictable. The characters seem as modern day caricatures. For me this is pure fluff. Am I learning anything new, to compensate for all my my other disappointments? No!

On completion: If you want to read a book about art during the Italian Renaissence read The Agony and the Ecstasy: A Biographical Novel of Michelangelo. You will learn something there, and the time spent reading will be enjoyable.

If you are looking for a light fiction novel where lead characters just happen to meet all the right people at the right points in time, where all the strings of lfe are neatly tied up, where character portrayal is shallow, go ahead - read "The Birth of Venus". Then read "The Agony and the Ecstasy" and make a comparison. You will see what I mean. Here is my review of Stone's book, which I gave 4 stars:
http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/80147274

On the other hand I did very much enjoy Dunant's In the Company of the Courtesan.

I will give "The Birth of Venus" 2 stars b/c I did bother to complete it. Do keep in mind that is is a very light read.