The Sign of the Weeping Virgin

Written by Alana White
Review by Lucy Bertoldi

If you love Italian history mixed with mystery, then The Sign of the Weeping Virgin is perfect! Author Alana White uses real historical figures in this splendid novel, setting the right mood for a story that feels incredibly real.  In 15th-century Florence at a time when the city was in danger from Turkish invasion, political enemies, and the Church, Guid’Antonio Vespucci and his nephew Amerigo become entangled in discovering the mystery behind a weeping painting of the Virgin and the disappearance of a pious woman.

Sponsoring the investigation is Lorenzo de Medici, despised by both the Church and his political enemies.  Clues are everywhere; the mystery dances through the pages as Guid’Antonio discovers, thanks to the great Leonardo da Vinci, how it is that the Virgin sheds tears… but who is making her do so? Is the event related to the young woman who was kidnapped by the Turks and then sold into slavery?

This is a fascinating story enveloped in breathtaking descriptions of Florence during the Renaissance – paradise for art history aficionados. This book was a real treat for me: art, history and mystery are all meshed into this beautifully written novel.  Although I have to admit that I found the beginning to be rather slow, once the mystery picked up the pace, events unraveled, and I just could not put it down.  Loved it!