Sunday, July 24, 2005

Daughter of Venice, by Donna Jo Napoli

Donata finds the confines of her position in Renaissance Italy confining. As the second daughter of a noble family, she won't be allowed to marry. But worse, she has never been allowed an education or even to leave (without an escort) the walls of her family's home in Venice. So, she sneaks out of the house, dressed as a boy, and learns what it is to be a boy (and a girl) in her time.

Perhaps, I have a soft spot for the locale and the period, or perhaps the plotline of a cross-dressing Italian in the Renaissance is practically Shakespearian (and thus more accessible), but I found this to be Napoli's best novel that I've read to date. Usually, her works start with great ideas but die in the delivery, long before the conclusion. This story kept my attention and drew me along all the way to the end. An end that might be a bit too convenient and pat, but which is fulfilling and charming nonetheless. A fun read with lovely historical detail.

No comments: