The lovely people at Pegasus Books sent me the book that I'll be reviewing in today's post. :-)
Philip Kazan's The Painter of Souls is the fictionalized story of a real artist from the 15th century by the name of Fra' (as in Friar) Filippo Lippi. What is known about the friar is that he wasn't a particularly good friar but he was an excellent painter. Despite taking orders, he remained a street urchin at heart and therefore his priorities weren't always aligned with the church. A work of historical fiction should make the reader want to go out and learn more about the topic/person/time period. This book does that and so much more. Kazan took what little was known of the man and spun out a tale of someone who straddled the line between man of God and man of sensuality. The Painter of Souls is set in Florence, Italy and the majority of the narrative takes place inside the Carmelite convent or the streets among the destitute and lawless. I always enjoy books that transport me to places that I might not have much knowledge about (if any at all). After finishing this, I looked up some of the artwork of Lippi because it was that which inspired Kazan to dedicate a series (yes, this is a series) to the man. If you're an art lover or would like to learn more about what it was like to live in Italy during the 15th century then this book can fulfill all of your wishes. Also, if you're curious to know about what it was like to poop in 15th century Italy I highly recommend this book.