Fioretta – Sophia – Angela

Use this forum to discuss the June 2018 Book of the Month"The Girl Who Knew da Vinci" by Belle Ami
User avatar
AbbyGNelson
Posts: 301
Joined: 18 Jan 2018, 17:50
Currently Reading: Heir to the Empire
Bookshelf Size: 830
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-abbygnelson.html
Latest Review: Asa's Gift by Isaac Green

Re: Fioretta – Sophia – Angela

Post by AbbyGNelson » 11 Jun 2018, 11:11

Supergirl1 wrote:
07 Jun 2018, 06:20
These days, non-conformists can connect to the global community and get a measure of support. This is something Fioretta and Sophia did not have. It takes even more courage to go against the norm when you know you are not very likely to find support.
This makes a lot of sense to me, and I agree with you. It would've been very hard. Thanks for the comment!

User avatar
Ever_Reading
Posts: 202
Joined: 22 Apr 2018, 10:01
2018 Reading Goal: 50
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 38
Favorite Book: A Thousand Splendid Suns
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 69
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-ever-reading.html
Latest Review: Superhighway by Alex Fayman
Location: In a book ;)

Post by Ever_Reading » 11 Jun 2018, 17:00

The term "strong woman" is very problematic, in my opinion, because it implies that there is an alternative. I believe strong and woman should be used as synonyms because it takes strength, by default, to live as a woman in a world that has been molded to benefit men. And this is something all three women had to deal with, in their respective time frames.

That said, I'd describe Fioretta and Sophia as brave and ahead of their time. I am not sure how to feel about Angela though, because I am not convinced that her actions were out of the ordinary. :snooty:
Here’s to books, the cheapest vacation you can buy.
— Charlaine Harris :techie-studyingbrown:

User avatar
Jillpillbooknerd
Posts: 122
Joined: 27 Feb 2018, 09:40
2018 Reading Goal: 200
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 4
Currently Reading: Seventh Son of a Seventh Son
Bookshelf Size: 1791
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-jillpillbooknerd.html
Latest Review: Final Notice by Van Fleisher
Reading Device: B00IKPYKWG
Location: Key West, Florida

Post by Jillpillbooknerd » 11 Jun 2018, 18:52

I feel like each woman was strong in her own way. We didn't get much of Fioretta or Sophia's stories so it's hard for me to definitively say if I found them strong women or not. I think in the brief time we had with them, they had aspects of their lives when they were strong. It's hard to categorize someone as strong or not with not much info to go on. Although I think I actually preferred Fioretta's story to Angela's. Her flashbacks were my favorite.

kjarch1228
Posts: 14
Joined: 12 Apr 2018, 22:39
2018 Reading Goal: 12
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 33
Currently Reading: Roadmap to the end of days
Bookshelf Size: 11
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-kjarch1228.html
Latest Review: The Last City of America by Matthew Tysz
Location: Jackson, TN

Post by kjarch1228 » 11 Jun 2018, 23:48

I think they were all strong women. Fioretta was definitely ahead of her time. Sophia loved without prejudice. And Angela risked her career standing up for herself.

User avatar
cristinaro
Posts: 795
Joined: 07 Jan 2018, 03:51
Favorite Book: The Magic Mountain
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 121
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-cristinaro.html
Latest Review: Toni the Superhero by R.D. Base
Reading Device: B00JG8GOWU

Post by cristinaro » 12 Jun 2018, 03:29

bookowlie wrote:
04 Jun 2018, 10:36
It's hard to say whether I would call Sophia or Fioretta strong women since their characters weren't too fleshed out in the story. Still, you bring up good points why each woman might be considered a strong woman at the time. Although Angela stood up to her boss, I think she was a bit helpless during the story and was protected by Alex. Her constant blackouts made her seem less in control.
In a way, I also had the nagging feeling Angela did not manage to rise to the level of her predecessors. Even at the end, she needs help to fix things and change her destiny. I guess Belle Ami could work a little bit more on her character in the next books of the series.
"The madness of writing is the antidote to true madness." (Hanif Kureishi)

User avatar
cristinaro
Posts: 795
Joined: 07 Jan 2018, 03:51
Favorite Book: The Magic Mountain
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 121
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-cristinaro.html
Latest Review: Toni the Superhero by R.D. Base
Reading Device: B00JG8GOWU

Post by cristinaro » 12 Jun 2018, 03:35

Miriam Molina wrote:
04 Jun 2018, 20:29
I suppose you can call all three strong in the sense that they dared to be non-conformists and take huge risks. Fioretta risked disgrace as she was not officially recognized as Giuliano's wife. Sophia risked her brothers' disapproval by bringing Gerhard home. Angela allowed herself to be whisked to a foreign land by a virtual stranger.
Do you think the men in these women's lives deserved what they were willing to do for them? I guess I am referring to Fioretta and Sophia because Angela strikes me as much more passive.
"The madness of writing is the antidote to true madness." (Hanif Kureishi)

User avatar
cristinaro
Posts: 795
Joined: 07 Jan 2018, 03:51
Favorite Book: The Magic Mountain
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 121
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-cristinaro.html
Latest Review: Toni the Superhero by R.D. Base
Reading Device: B00JG8GOWU

Post by cristinaro » 12 Jun 2018, 03:40

bookowlie wrote:
05 Jun 2018, 19:41
I'm not sure I would call Angela strong or a non-conformist. She seemed more like a damsel in distress due to Scordato's sexual harassment at work. Alex happened to come along at the right time to offer her a job and protect her at the same time.
If it hadn't been for Alex and his help, she would probably not have had the courage to stand up to Scordato. Let's not forget she had to put up with his harassment for some time. She would have been really strong if she had said no the first time it happened, but I can understand her reticence about this.
"The madness of writing is the antidote to true madness." (Hanif Kureishi)

User avatar
cristinaro
Posts: 795
Joined: 07 Jan 2018, 03:51
Favorite Book: The Magic Mountain
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 121
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-cristinaro.html
Latest Review: Toni the Superhero by R.D. Base
Reading Device: B00JG8GOWU

Post by cristinaro » 12 Jun 2018, 03:42

Sushan wrote:
07 Jun 2018, 05:51
Going against the norm is always a action of bravery. Whoever strong enough to cross the threshold is definitely strong, either a male or a female. So, yes indeed, they are strong women
What can I say? When love is the driving force, anything is possible.
"The madness of writing is the antidote to true madness." (Hanif Kureishi)

User avatar
cristinaro
Posts: 795
Joined: 07 Jan 2018, 03:51
Favorite Book: The Magic Mountain
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 121
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-cristinaro.html
Latest Review: Toni the Superhero by R.D. Base
Reading Device: B00JG8GOWU

Post by cristinaro » 12 Jun 2018, 03:47

Supergirl1 wrote:
07 Jun 2018, 06:20
These days, non-conformists can connect to the global community and get a measure of support. This is something Fioretta and Sophia did not have. It takes even more courage to go against the norm when you know you are not very likely to find support.
You're right to a certain extent although I personally believe connecting with the global community is more or less an illusion. You still have to face your decisions by yourself and to deal with going against the norm at the level of your own community.
"The madness of writing is the antidote to true madness." (Hanif Kureishi)

User avatar
cristinaro
Posts: 795
Joined: 07 Jan 2018, 03:51
Favorite Book: The Magic Mountain
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 121
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-cristinaro.html
Latest Review: Toni the Superhero by R.D. Base
Reading Device: B00JG8GOWU

Post by cristinaro » 12 Jun 2018, 04:16

Kendra M Parker wrote:
07 Jun 2018, 07:38
cristinaro wrote:
03 Jun 2018, 04:10
Fioretta Gorini works as a model for Leonardo at a time when girls posing for artists were considered either fools or wanton women.

Sophia Caro plans to elope with a German officer precisely during the Nazi occupation of Florence.

Angela Renatus stands up to her sexually harassing boss while risking her one-life career opportunity at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles.

Would you call them strong women? What is their relationship with the men in their lives?
I might not go with “strong” but I would certainly say that these women were all counter-cultural. None of them were driven by social conventions. That doesn’t necessarily make them strong, simply unconcerned with social convention. I think what would make a woman stronger in literature would be to see her defy authorities in some way to make a significant change. None of these women really made a change to society or a significant difference in the lives they led.

That said, I would not call any of these women weak, either. I’d just like to see them make a bigger impact on those around them.

Fioretta was unconcerned enough that she went to Mass on Easter, but she did not fight to hang onto her life when her delivery went wrong.

Sophia went along with the plan to steal the painting even though she felt it was wrong.

Angela defied her boss, but only privately. She quit and refused to press charges for harassment or when her home was broken into. She didn’t want to make waves.

I’ve enjoyed reading about these women, but I willl say that I don’t feel they are great representations of strong women in literature. Someone more like Mina from Dracula, who defied social conventions by being a secretary, nearly becoming a vampire, and going on an extreme adventure to save herself would be a different matter. Or Jane Eyre who refused marriage when offered to her (twice!) before she went back and rescued her love. Or Hester Prynn (The Scarlet Letter) who refused to divulge the name of her daughter's father and chose to live with the condemnation and suffer the consequences to protect her lover. These are strong women in literature.
I completely understand your point of view. I guess everything is a matter of perception. It depends on what we understand by being strong. For example, I could understand Fioretta's decision not to fight for her life when her delivery went wrong. I could understand because I had been in love and I know what losing somebody you love more than your life, country, religion, norms, etc. means. By moral standards, what I am writing right now is not acceptable. I mean, I can understand loving somebody more than your newly-born baby and giving that baby up because you practically know you could never be totally there for him as a part of you died with the one you loved so much. Couldn't this be interpreted as an act of great defiance against any moral standards or social norms? After all, she did call the child's grandmother to take care of him. Of course, it could also simply be her depression or her lack of strength. :)

I liked your answer very much so I kept thinking about it. I am wondering if these three women could not have become representatives of strong women in literature as you say. I guess they could have become if their stories had been written differently. I loved Jane Eyre or Hester Prynn, but let's take Hester Prynn, for instance. She is indeed strong if you think of her ready to accept the public opprobrium and wear the imfamous letter on her clothes. On the other hand, wouldn't you call her a coward too and an unfit mother because she does not think that she has a child to protect? If people had known the truth, they would have blamed Arthur and not her. When I come to think of it, she does the same thing as Fioretta. She puts the man she loves above everything else, even her child. I don't know why, but I suddenly remembered Wuthering Heights. When Heathcliff comes back to Wuthering Heights, Catherine is married and pregnant with another man's child. It doesn't matter a bit. Their love declarations are among the most beautiful I have read. :) I don't know about these three women, but love is a strong force indeed.
"The madness of writing is the antidote to true madness." (Hanif Kureishi)

User avatar
Roggyrus
Posts: 247
Joined: 06 Jan 2018, 01:17
2018 Reading Goal: 50
2017 Reading Goal: 0
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 12
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 112
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-roggyrus.html
Latest Review: Heartaches 2 by H.M. Irwing
Location: Chapter 1, page 10

Post by Roggyrus » 12 Jun 2018, 14:43

These women are just reacting to the current circumstances in their lives. Angela may be a strong woman, dedicated to achieving her dreams despite being exposed to some sexual harassment. Fioretta was even the mistress of the brother of that fellow in the painting, that's her life. Sophia acts on love, can't be resisted.

User avatar
kfwilson6
Previous Member of the Month
Posts: 1477
Joined: 14 Feb 2018, 15:30
2018 Reading Goal: 100
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 77
Currently Reading: Eye of the World
Bookshelf Size: 266
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-kfwilson6.html
Latest Review: Autumn Frost by M.D. Schlatter
Reading Device: B00JG8GOWU
Location: Louisiana

Post by kfwilson6 » 12 Jun 2018, 19:31

Kendra M Parker wrote:
07 Jun 2018, 07:38
cristinaro wrote:
03 Jun 2018, 04:10
Fioretta Gorini works as a model for Leonardo at a time when girls posing for artists were considered either fools or wanton women.

Sophia Caro plans to elope with a German officer precisely during the Nazi occupation of Florence.

Angela Renatus stands up to her sexually harassing boss while risking her one-life career opportunity at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles.

Would you call them strong women? What is their relationship with the men in their lives?
I might not go with “strong” but I would certainly say that these women were all counter-cultural. None of them were driven by social conventions. That doesn’t necessarily make them strong, simply unconcerned with social convention. I think what would make a woman stronger in literature would be to see her defy authorities in some way to make a significant change. None of these women really made a change to society or a significant difference in the lives they led.

That said, I would not call any of these women weak, either. I’d just like to see them make a bigger impact on those around them.

Fioretta was unconcerned enough that she went to Mass on Easter, but she did not fight to hang onto her life when her delivery went wrong.

Sophia went along with the plan to steal the painting even though she felt it was wrong.

Angela defied her boss, but only privately. She quit and refused to press charges for harassment or when her home was broken into. She didn’t want to make waves.

I’ve enjoyed reading about these women, but I willl say that I don’t feel they are great representations of strong women in literature. Someone more like Mina from Dracula, who defied social conventions by being a secretary, nearly becoming a vampire, and going on an extreme adventure to save herself would be a different matter. Or Jane Eyre who refused marriage when offered to her (twice!) before she went back and rescued her love. Or Hester Prynn (The Scarlet Letter) who refused to divulge the name of her daughter's father and chose to live with the condemnation and suffer the consequences to protect her lover. These are strong women in literature.
What a wonderful analysis. I never thought of Angela as particularly strong. I thought she was too reliant on Alex for everything. She fussed about him spending money on her but who paid for the food, flights, hotels?

I also don't think Sophia was particularly strong either. She was very bitter after losing Gerhard. I felt so sad for her daughter.

Fioretta seemed to be the strongest, but it's hard to tell without more detail. I think she was the most willing to be her own person and seek out whatever would make her happy despite any consequences. She didn't seem strong enough to want to continue her life, even for her child, after Giuliano was killed. If you don't have strength enough to live for your children, you probably don't have much strength for anything else.

All three women were very dependent on their men. Their love seemed to be a weakness rather than a strength.

User avatar
Rhianne
Posts: 22
Joined: 05 Jun 2018, 21:00
Currently Reading: Small Change
Bookshelf Size: 12
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-rhianne.html
Latest Review: Pancake Money by Finn Bell
Reading Device: B00JG8GOWU

Post by Rhianne » 13 Jun 2018, 03:04

Manali_DC wrote:
10 Jun 2018, 05:23
I think I would consider Fioretta and Sophie strong characters. To fall in love and be with the people they did, required a certain amount of courage. To risk scandal as the lover of Giuliano de Medici and to elope with a German officer during the war needs courage and strength. However, I am not so sure that I would call Angela a strong woman- hers is an interesting character- but nothing in the story required her to be particularly strong or brave!
I completely agree with you. I get that she's unsure of what's happening to her but felt that she could've been more confident and strong in herself as a person.

User avatar
Supergirl1
Posts: 213
Joined: 05 Apr 2018, 00:34
2018 Reading Goal: 30
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 150
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 60
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-supergirl1.html
Latest Review: Little Bird by Seth Chambers
Reading Device: B00M4L4NHY

Post by Supergirl1 » 13 Jun 2018, 05:36

cristinaro wrote:
12 Jun 2018, 03:47
Supergirl1 wrote:
07 Jun 2018, 06:20
These days, non-conformists can connect to the global community and get a measure of support. This is something Fioretta and Sophia did not have. It takes even more courage to go against the norm when you know you are not very likely to find support.
You're right to a certain extent although I personally believe connecting with the global community is more or less an illusion. You still have to face your decisions by yourself and to deal with going against the norm at the level of your own community.
True, you have to live with the consequences of your decision, but I don’t think global support is overrated. Just take a look at the LGBTQ individuals in Africa that have found the courage to come out despite the hostility in their localities. I don’t think most of them would have done this without the knowledge that some people in the western world would support them if required.

User avatar
DancingLady
Posts: 263
Joined: 11 Feb 2018, 10:31
2018 Reading Goal: 50
2017 Reading Goal: 0
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 84
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 95
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-dancinglady.html
Latest Review: The Reel Sisters by Michelle Cummings
Location: Oregon

Post by DancingLady » 13 Jun 2018, 07:17

Maybe, but I really never thought about it. I saw Fioretta as pretty vulnerable actually. She puts friendship above other people’s opinions of her, true, but she has to be protected as well. To me she just seemed pretty normal, a woman who does what she has to do for the people she loves.

Sophia does show strength in her decision to flee Florence. Anyone who picks up and gets out rather that finding the nearest hole to hide in has a certain amount of strength. I haven’t gotten far enough into the book yet to decide about Angela though. So far I would also consider her pretty normal but my opinion might change by the end.

Post Reply

Return to “Discuss "The Girl Who Knew da Vinci" by Belle Ami”