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HaBO: There’s a Lot of Famous Painters

Anna writes in with a book she’s looking for that she originally read in translation.

A memory of a book pokes my brain, and I think I want to know what book it
was. I read it along time ago – in Russia, when romances began to publish in
Russia, in the beginning of 90s. I am pretty sure that it is a translation
from English, and that someone here read it as well. No title or Author, or

What did it have? Botticelli. Alas, not as a main character. (Is there a
romance with Sandro Botticelli in it? I’d read it).

There was a girl in hotel business, who absolutely had to marry some hot
rich Italian guy. She doesn’t like him, but finds him very hot, and he
thinks she looks like Botticelli’s paintings (not very original compliment,

She sees Primavera painting and gets obsessed with it, and spends a
lot of pages making herself a flowery dress just like Flora’s. He sees the
girl in a dress and tears the dress in tiny pieces, then has sex with the
girl. Or vice versa.

I remember being liking the dress more than the characters, and I wonder
whether anyone knows this book.

Wait, he tore the dress or the girl into tiny pieces? I hope it’s the former. Anyone remember this book?


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  1. 1
    cate says:

    There is an 80’s Old Skool romance with Alessandro(” call me Sandro “) Botticelli in it !  It’s called The Sins of the Lion by Annette Motley….. & it’s so bad it’s brilliant, as all those old Futura romances were. 
      It’s not the HaBO, but it’s worth a look …. It’s about Tulla, whose been sold to Leone -the Lion of the Valenti – all Renaissance plotting & murder, & a spot of incest too as I recall….Need I say more ?

  2. 2
    Lindlee says:

    That vise versa made me laugh so hard I woke up my dog. I really hope he didn’t rip up the girl and then have sex with the dress.

  3. 3
    Lisa says:

    Not the HaBO either, but there’s Marina Fiorato’s book The Botticelli Secret for those wanting a Dan-Brown-esque mystery. A young prostitute poses for Botticelli as the figure of Flora in La Primavera and becomes the target of a murderer. Intrigue, conspiracy, Italian tarts – woohoo!

  4. 4
    Holly says:

    I remember reading a book in the mid-90s by Alexandra Ripley (of “Scarlett” fame) called “The Time Returns.”  It’s a historical romance about Lorenzo de’ Medici and Ginevra de’ Pazzi, and I seem to recall Sandro Botticelli being an ancillary character.  It looks like the book came out here in the late 80s.  The details are a bit fuzzy, but I think I liked the book (I was in high school and couldn’t have cared less about historical accuracy.)

  5. 5
    Diva says:

    @Lisa, I *loved* The Botticelli Secret! It was so sassy ;) Also liked Fiorato’s first book, The Glassblower of Murano.

    And, no, that really isn’t helpful at all, I just thought I’d comment despite having nothing useful to offer.

  6. 6
    Diva says:

    Ooh did I mention that the Hot Guy in Botticelli Secret is a monk???? Shades of Thorn BIrds ooh la la

  7. 7
    Ana says:

    I remember another harlequin romance with with a Botticelli tie.  In it, the heroine is again said to resemble a figure out of Botticelli.  The hero is (either a Spanish or Italian) count and his family has a painting by Botticelli about the wife of the first count who didn’t love her husband so she jumped off a tower (?)  Coincidentally, our heroine looks just like this troubled lady and thus has to dress as her in the village celebration/parade in a translucent white nightgown. (Which is what the first countess jumped in).  She faints with the over-attention, the hero is all dominating and angry at his mom and other women and then eventually there is a HEA.  There is also some sort of a family connection between the heroine and the family (like she grew up with them or something).  This is a contemporary but obviously isn’t a reference to Primavera so its probably not the book that is required.  However, everyone else was offering their Botticelli reads as well.  :-)  And I can’t remember the title or author of this either.

  8. 8
    DKC says:

    Ana, that sounds remarkably like Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo. At least the parts about people looking like other people and people in paintings, and people throwing themselves (or being thrown) out of towers.

    Sorry, I haven’t a clue what the book is.

  9. 9
    boogenhagen says:

    @ Ana—The book your thinking of is Charlotte Lamb’s Hawk in a Blue Sky-  the heroine is continually referred to as the living image of the Botticelli painting and has to take part in a village festival dressed in her nightgown.

  10. 10
    Lady Carrion says:

    Am I the only one who finds it super creepy that the heroine makes a Flora dress? If I remember my art history class, Zephyr rapes Chloris who then turns into Flora with a rape baby and a flowy dress all in the same painting. I mean, I love Botticelli but that story doesn’t make me want to cosplay.

  11. 11
    LMG says:

    This has nothing to do with Botticelli, but since Diva brought it up… can someone please explain to me the allure of The Thorn Birds?  I admittedly was probably too young to read it when I did (I was maybe 11 or 12), and I’m not one for religious angst in books, but still.  What’s so great about people who love each other but for silly reasons only get to be together two weeks out of the year?  And then the hot dancer kid gets paralyzed.  I don’t get it.

  12. 12
    Anna says:

    Thank you, Sarah,  for running my request and everyone for trying to find the answer!

    As much as I remember, the dress got destroyed, and the girl got HEA. But I liked the dress more then the hero and the heroine and was sorry to see all that work gone in the embroidering tiny flowers destroyed in seconds and not even appreciated properly.  yep, weird priorities. ;)

    The reading suggestions all look like cheesy fun, so I’ll try to look into them.

  13. 13
    Anna says:

    @ Lady Carrion I think I wouldn’t want to cosplay any of Greek mythological ladies. If you are very pretty, Zeus tries to seduce or rape, and Hera does the bloody revenge later on, if you just pretty, someone else tries to rape… Even Venus got troubles in her extra-marital affairs. I think only Artemis was safe, because she always shot first, but then she didn’t get any romance either…

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