Merry Wanderer of the Night + tlc book tour

The Creation of Eve

I was incredibly lucky to have Lynn Cullen's new novel, The Creation of Eve for my first TLC Book Tour experience. The novel is about Sofonisba Anguissola, a female painter in Spain during the Renaissance. A student of Michelangelo, she becomes one of the first famed female painters of the time. When I originally picked up the book I thought it was going to be more about Michelangelo since that is what stuck in my mind after the description. I was thrilled when I began the book to find it was not really about him a tall, but rather about Sofonisba's experience not only a painter but a woman during this time period.

Cullen does an amazing job of placing the reader in the time period and really feeling what Sofonisba is feeling. In many other historical novels I find myself asking stupid questions, like Why is she afraid of showing affection to that man? Cullen doesn't even allow you to do that. She weaves historical information so well into that story that you know exactly why Sofonisba or the Queen of Spain or any other person in the novel feels the way they do. Before reading this novel I knew nothing about Spain or Sofonisba, and I really didn't know much about the Renaissance beyond what I've learned in my art history class. This book was an amazingly fun way to immerse myself in a historical time period I'm fairly unfamiliar with.

And I got so immersed. The novel has a few things pushing you to read to the end, but I'm not sure if I even needed them. The experience of reading The Creation of Eve was similar to my experience of reading Jane Eyre (the ultimate compliment). I was interested in the storyline, but I was more intensely interested in Sofonisba's voice. I felt like I was getting to know her and seeing the world around her through her eyes. She was incredibly interesting because she was an active participant in her time period, but in other ways she was acting out against it. Simply becoming a painter is extreme, but the beginning of the novel shows how she acts out sexually against her peers. What I loved about the way Cullen portrayed the sexuality of Sofonisba was that she was honest about it. She didn't romanticize it and she showed the fears women experienced at the time dealing with sex.

This novel earned an A.

This novel counts for the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge.

I am an Amazon Affiliate. If you make a purchase using one of my links I will earn a small percentage which will then go back into this blog. I received this novel through TLC Book Tours in exchange for my review.

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The Creation of Eve + tlc book tour