I am thrilled to be part of the blog tour to celebrate the release of David by Mary Hoffman.
First of all, here are some details about David:
Bestselling and award-winning author Mary Hoffman has always been passionate about Italy. In this brand new novel she combines her love for the country, its culture, art and history to tell the story behind one of the world’s best-known sculptures. Little is known about the true identity of the model for Michelangelo’s statue of David, so Mary has used her persuasive narrative skills to breathe life into his story.
Aged just eighteen, Gabriele sets off from his home in Settignano to make his fortune in Florence. He plans to go straight to the home of renowned sculptor Michelangelo, who is also his ‘milk brother’, but instead finds himself in the house of a wealthy widow. Before he knows it Gabriele’s plans of living a simple life as a stonecutter have disintegrated and instead he has become an artist’s model, embroiled in Florentine politics and spying for the frateschi. Gabriele is playing a dangerous game and will be lucky to escape Florence with his life.
This epic story is full of romance, spies, politics and murder. With cameo appearances from the likes of Leonardo da Vinci, as well as the major role of Michelangelo, this is the perfect book for art fans and historical fiction fans alike.
Mary Hoffman is an acclaimed children’s author and critic. She is the author of the internationally bestselling picture book Amazing Grace. Her Stravaganza sequence for Bloomsbury has a huge fan base and Stravaganza: City of Secrets was nominated for the Carnegie Medal. She has also received award recognition for her stand-alone historical titles: Troubadour was nominated for the 2010 Carnegie Medal and shortlisted for the Costa Book Award and The Falconer’s Knot was shortlisted for the Guardian Fiction Award and winner of the French Prix Polar Jeunesse 2009. Mary lives with her husband in Oxfordshire.
Sounds brilliant, non?
I'm now delighted to present a guest post from Mary herself:
1) The Bargello (especially the Michelangelo Room)
This is where the little Apollo-David is, which is my favourite Michelangelo sculpture, and the full-size drunken Bacchus and a bust of Brutus that looks like Tommy Lee Jones and the Pitti Tondo, described in David –a treasure-house!
You will also find Donatello’s and Verocchio’s takes on David, in the Bargello though the Verocchio is often not able to be seen. And there are lovely Giambolognas , including Mercury, the symbol of the Italian Post Office (and I must say they are VERY good at getting my postcards to the UK quickly). And the original plinth for Cellini’s Perseus statue in the Piazza della Signoria.
2) The Officina- Profumo-Farmaceutica (Profumeria) in Santa Maria Novella
I made use of this in Stravaganza: City of Flowers. Another magical place, with the most heavenly smell in the world! Gabriele buys Grazia some jasmine perfume “from the friars at Santa Maria Novella” and I got some of the same at Christmas from my husband.
This is a strange cube of a building that started as a grain store and THEN became a church. It is on the main drag from Piazza della Signoria to Piazza del Duomo but is often overlooked. Don’t overlook it – go inside. You won’t be disappointed. I stayed in an apartment near here with youngest daughter in 2007 and it became our “local” – a landmark and a favourite place.
4) The San Lorenzo market
What can I say? If you like to shop, this is the place for you. On my first month in Florence I stayed at the top of number five, Piazza San Lorenzo, and the market arriving every morning at 5.30am was my alarm clock.
It has leather goods in the most stunning range of colours and , though I am a vegetarian, I haven’t quite been able to wean myself off gorgeous purses and wallets. I have also become a glove dealer for my friend the writer Kath Langrish, as well as purveyor of purses to the family.
Just before you reach it on Borgo San Lorenzo you come to a men’s shoe-shop wear my husband buys two pairs of shoes, every other year. Only this year I was commissioned as he wasn’t with me. And in summer opposite the shoe-shop you can buy slices of fresh coconut drenched in iced water.
5) The Dome of the Santa Maria dei Fiori cathedral
On that first month in Florence when I was a student, I became obsessed with the dome of the cathedral, which you can see from all over the city. I climbed up inside it more than once and sat at the top outside on the ‘lantern’ with my feet dangling over the edge. My vertigo won’t let me do it any more.
But if you are young and/or not afraid of heights you must do it.
I'd like to thank Mary Hoffman very much for stopping by!
Here are some extra details!
David is out now!
Go forth and buy!