Wednesday, August 30, 2017

A Great Love of Small Proportions by Colin Falconer



Can a woman discover the beauty in an ugly man, even if he can’t see it himself?

Seville, 1489.

The end of the Reconquista.

Diego Sanchis is Seville's most famous painter; his tryptychs and murals fill every church in the city. He is also ugly, angry, possibly Jewish and a dwarf. Nobody but his father loves him and Diego likes it just that way.

Until one day he is asked to take on a new student.

Mercedes Goncalvez is the most beautiful young woman in the city, and her father is rich and powerful. What could such a woman possibly see in him?

But there are many ways to see beauty. And beyond the dungeons of the Inquisition; beyond betrayal and torture; and even as the guns pound the heavenly gardens of the Alhambra, and the Moors prepare to leave Spain forever, Diego finds true beauty among the ashes of his last hopes.

A story of love, art and genius just before the fall of the Alhambra in 149, perfect for fans of Philippa Gregory and Geraldine Brooks.

REVIEW

In this novel, author Colin Falconer sweeps readers into 15th century Seville after the Reconquista. At the heart of the story is Diego Sanchis, Seville's most sought after, most talented artist. His work is prolific and graces the walls of every church in the country. But what is most fascinating about this character is his faults - for he is ugly, bitter, and an outspoken dwarf. He has been bullied, shunned, abused, and made fun of all his life. His life experiences shaped him into a man with a vitriolic tongue and low self-esteem. It is only through his work that he gains respect and fame. Oh, and did I mention that he might be Jewish? A danger in itself and another strike against him. 

One day, he is tasked with teaching art to a beautiful young woman, Mencia Goncalvez, the daughter of a rich and powerful man. At first, he resents being her mentor and only wishes to put an end to his obligation. But soon, their relationship changes into something much more meaningful, more powerful.  

Colin Falconer delves deep into the psyche of both characters as they strive to live in a most dangerous era. History and romance combines in this highly entertaining novel. I fell in love with Diego and his biting sarcasm and propensity to be bluntly honest. He is real, loveable, and easy to sympathize with. Likewise is Mencia who struggles to break through the norms of the era to become an artist by her own right.

Another winning novel by Colin Falconer that is filled with wit and suspense! Beautifully rendered and highly recommended!