The book is Robin Maxwell's seventh novel, SIGNORA DA VINCI, just published by New American Library. The back cover promises an enticing read:
I was fifteen years old in 1452 when I bore a bastard child in the tiny village of Vinci. His name was Leonardo, and he was destined to change the world forever.
I suffered much cruelty as an unmarried mother, and had no recourse when they took my boy away from me. I had no rights, no prospects, no future. Everyone believed I was ruined. But no one knew the secrets of my own childhood, nor could they ever have imagined the dangerous and heretical scheme I would devise to protect and watch over my remarkable son as he grew into manhood. Some might call me a liar, since all I describe would be impossible for a woman of my station. But that is where my design unfolds, and I am finally ready to reveal it.
They call me Caterina. And this is my story.
C.W. Gortner and Michelle Moran, both of whom have been interviewed on this blog, provided blurbs for the book. C.W. calls it "an exquisite gem of a novel," while Michelle claims it is "without a doubt the best historical fiction [she has] read all year."
Once I've had a chance to read the book myself, I will post a review and an interview with Ms. Maxwell. You can visit Robin Maxwell's website for more details about SIGNORA DA VINCI and the author's other novels, many of which deal with Tudor subjects.
In the meantime, I have two copies of SIGNORA DA VINCI to give away. To enter your name in the drawing, please leave a comment to this message by 11 pm EST this Friday night telling me what your favorite Da Vinci work is. Click here to see some of his more famous paintings. I will draw two names and post the results by noon on Saturday, January 17. If I draw your name, I will ask you to contact me by email with your snail mail address. Good luck!