Primavera by Mary Jane Beaufrand
Lorenza, or Flora, as everyone calls her, has a very privileged life. Her parents generally neglect her, except when they’re planning her future, which Flora wants no part of. But she doesn’t have to worry about food or shelter or money, and she spends her days with her grandmother, a healer, and Emilio, a young guardsman. But Flora is also the youngest child of the Pazzi family. The Pazzis had been a powerful and influential family in Florence until the rise of the Medici, and Flora’s parents want their old status back. Her mother is determined to marry off Flora’s sister Domenica to Giuliano de Medici, while her father conspires with Girolamo Riorio to assassinate both Guiliano and his brother, Lorenzo. Either way, they figure, the Pazzis will come out ahead and will reclaim their old status.
Inspired by historical events, Mary Jane Beaufrand’s Primavera has just about everything I could ask for in a book, except for a historical note or further information about what actually happened. There’s intrigue, heartbreak, romance, a strong setting, and fantastic writing. Unlike other historical novels that are dense or difficult to read, there is an ease and effortlessness to Beaufrand’s writing that makes Primavera accessible even to readers who normally dislike historical fiction while bringing the setting to life vividly enough to satisfy fans of historical fiction. As others have mentioned, there are some rather violent and bloody scenes in the second half of the book, but it certainly fits with the story, not to mention history.