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Practically Paradise
Inside Practically Paradise


Primavera by Mary Jane Beaufrand will be released this March by Little, Brown and Co. I can’t wait to hold the hardcover edition in my hands. Set in the Italian Renaissance, this novel incorporates much of history and the intrigue surrounding the Medici’s and the Pazzi’s. Art lovers will find Botticelli and many references to the fineries of Italian art and architecture. You really should start doing searches of the reviews on this SLJ website so you can read the beautiful reviewers’ language by educators like Jill Heritage Maza who revieved Primavera in the February 1st SLJ. I particularly enjoyed this sentence by Maza who wrote:

Political, historical, and art historical details provide a canvas on which this tale of murder, intrigue, and young romance is played out, but are painted with a broad stroke.

So really what’s going to happen with this title? Girls are going to gush happily at the ending. Along the way, you’ll be frustrated at the society that enabled such corruption to flourish. Do you get frustrated, as I do, with this phrase "INSPIRED BY ACTUAL EVENTS"? Now I have to go explore the Italian Renaissance, the Pazzi family, all the background characters mentioned in Primavera and the true historical timelines of happenings simply because I want to know what was inspired and what was created. All because I read a good book that made me wonder "How much is true?"

While this was written for the 12 and up crowd, the cover is fantastical enough that younger students will take a second look but there is plenty of detailed violence. Be sure you know what quartering is.  I think this book is very accessible for younger students, but may cause frustration at the "unfairness of life" faced by the main character in the beginning. I hope that more fans of historical fiction will take the time to read this and not dismiss the cover as a fantasy. I know that my library assistant "strongly prefers not" reading fantasies so I have to clearly point out the history embedded in this tale of romance, espionage, and coming-of-age. 

Check out the teen reviews throughout the blogosphere to read their reactions like this one at Teen ‘Zine.


  1. Hi, Diane — What a coincidence! I just finished reading my preview copy of PRIMAVERA today. I agree with your review and with the caveat about the level of violence. It certainly shows the reality of how military strength equalled Florentine power during this period. Can’t wait to pass this ARC on to my Renaissance-loving friend!